St Michael's Catholic Grammar School

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St. Michael's Catholic Grammar School
Motto Quis ut Deus
("Who is like God?")
Established 1908
Type Voluntary aided grammar school
Religion Roman Catholic
Headmaster Julian Ward
Chaplain Father John Ball
Chair of Governors Mr. B. Hartigan
Founders Sisters of the Poor Child Jesus
Location Nether Street
N12 7NJ
Coordinates: 51°36′52″N 0°10′50″W / 51.6144°N 0.1805°W / 51.6144; -0.1805
Local authority Barnet
DfE URN 101361 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students c.750
Gender Girls (Mixed sixth form)
Ages 11–18
Colours      Purple

St. Michael's Catholic Grammar School is a Voluntary aided, Roman Catholic Grammar School for girls, and boys in the sixth form, situated in Finchley, Barnet, London. Its current headmaster is Mr Julian Ward.


The school was founded as St. Michael's Convent in 1908 by the Sisters of the Poor Child Jesus and is now under their trusteeship. It was the first Roman Catholic school in Finchley since the Reformation. As were many Catholic schools in London at that time, it was a small fee-paying school serving the parish. Under the Education Act 1944, in 1958, St. Michael's became a voluntary aided grammar school to complement the all-boys Finchley Catholic Grammar School (now Finchley Catholic High School). When the Barnet LEA abolished the tripartite system, St. Michael's did not turn comprehensive and has remained a grammar school to this day.[1]

Ofsted inspection reports[edit]

St. Michael's is a high achieving school where relationships are excellent. The pupils are happy and well cared for morally, socially and spiritually. The school’s national reputation in the Catholic community is justifiably high. (Ofsted, 1995)
St. Michael's is an exceptional school; which is outstandingly effective because of its excellent leadership, management, teaching and learning (Ofsted, 2005)

St. Michael's curriculum[edit]

The pupils study Religious Education, English, Mathematics, Latin, French, German, Spanish, Italian, History, Geography, Science, Music, Art, Physical Education, Drama, Technology, ICT and Education for Living with Citizenship. The pupils carry on their selected 11 GCSE subjects to Key Stage Four.

Pupils have a choice of either Design/Food/Graphics Technology as well as Dance/Physical Education. Since the school has recently become a Language College, the choice of language options has increased to offer Mandarin Chinese and Japanese.

St. Michael's collaborates with nearby Finchley Catholic High School to offer an extensive range of subjects ranging from the usual taught at KS3 and KS4. This collaboration has meant both schools have the most subjects to offer its pupils in Sixth Form, in North London. Some of these subjects include Photography, Music Technology, Classical Civilisation, Politics, Economics, Business Studies, Physiology, Sociology, Accountancy and much more. As well as the pupil's chosen subjects, the school makes it mandatory to take General Studies as an additional A level. Unlike most schools in London, which offer their pupils the choice of taking up to 4/5 A Levels, St. Michael's offers its pupils the choice of up to 6.

St. Michael's traditions[edit]

School uniform[edit]

The school has a distinctive purple uniform, which is the colour of the St. Michael’s flower, the Michaelmas Daisy. It consists of a pleated purple skirt, a lilac shirt and purple jumper. In addition there is a purple blazer which must be worn when travelling to and from the school. In the winter there is also a long black coat which pupils have to wear instead of the blazer to and from school.

This royal purple symbolises the status of St. Michael as the archangel who quelled the rebellion of Lucifer.

The School motto "Quis ut deus" is a Latin translation of the sarcastic rhetorical question uttered by Archangel Michael as he slew Lucifer: "Who is like God?" (The name 'Michael' in fact derives from the Hebrew form of this question.)

School song[edit]

The school song Dux Michael, which is sung in Latin praising St. Michael the Archangel, protector and defender of the faith. It is always sung on St. Michael's Day and at various key stage certificate assemblies along with the school prayer. Here is the song:

O heros invincibilis, Dux Michael.
Adesto nostris praeliis, ora pro nobis.
Pugna pro nobis, pugna pro nobis,
Dux Michael.
Tu noster dux militiae, Dux Michael.
Defensor es Ecclesiae, ora pro nobis.
Pugna pro nobis, pugna pro nobis,
Dux Michael.
Per te o heros belliger, Dux Michael.
Prostratus jacet Lucifer, ora pro nobis.
Pugna pro nobis, pugna pro nobis,
Dux Michael.
Ab omni malo libera, Dux Michael.
Ad coeli duc nos praemia, ora pro nobis.
Pugna pro nobis, pugna pro nobis,
Dux Michael.

Committees and clubs[edit]

In Year 12, a husting takes place to elect the Head Girl/Boy and the two Deputies at St. Michael's. As well as this, several committees and clubs are set up according to the interests of the girls, which vary each year. The pupils are welcome to start their own club or committee along with the help of Year 12 pupils and the permission of the headteacher. Some of the committees and clubs this year include Athletics, Art, Book, Chess, Year 7 Choir, Glee Club, Chamber Choir, Drama, Cultural, Debate, Italian Film, French Film, Justice and Peace, Language, Library, Magazine, Mandarin Chinese, Netball,Badminton, Chamber Orchestra, Junior Orchestra, Jazz Band, Cheer leading, Poetry, Prom, Spanish Film and Year Book.[citation needed]

School events[edit]

St. Michael's Day is the most important day of the academic year at St. Michael's. Here the whole school, pupils and staff, join in celebration of mass in the school hall with a liturgy of music and drama. After mass, free ice cream is given out to its pupils and staff in celebration of St. Michael the Archangel.

Mass is not only celebrated on St. Michael’s Day but liturgies are prepared on the Holy Days of Obligation found in the Catholic Calendar; as well as on the last days of term, part of St. Michael's Catholic ethos along with prayers said daily, and Mass weekly by the school's chaplain, Father John Ball, who has been the chaplain since the 1970s.

The staff assembly takes place on the last school assembly before the term breaks for Christmas. It is here that the staff organise an assembly for its pupils, either a talent show or a mini pantomime. Many events are organised throughout the year organised by the staff or various committees. An example includes the Cultural and Charity Committee who organise the traditional "Ireland v. The Rest of the World" netball match played by the staff on St. Patrick's Day, with all monies raised going to charity.

St Michael's celebrated their centenary on September 28, 2008, the day before St Michael's Day. The Duke of Gloucester was invited to the school to mark the centenary with the opening of the new sports hall.

Notable former pupils[edit]


  1. ^ A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 6: Friern Barnet, Finchley, Hornsey with Highgate. Courtesy of British History Online. 1980. pp. 91–97. 
  2. ^ Leppard, David; Templeton, Sarah-Kate (6 January 2008). "The real face of cocaine culture?". The Times. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "About Lisa". Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  4. ^ Hagestadt, Emma (21 September 2001). "Lisa Jewell: Inside the cappuccino conspiracy". The Independent. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "As seen by Jill Paton Walsh". Cambridge: The Fitzwilliam Museum. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 

External links[edit]