St Christopher School, Letchworth
|St Christopher School|
|Type||Independent day and boarding|
|Motto||The utmost for the highest|
|Age||3 to 18|
|Colour(s)||Blue,Gold and White|
St Christopher School is a boarding and day co-educational independent school located in Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire. Established in 1915 shortly after Ebenezer Howard founded Letchworth Garden City, the school is a long-time proponent of progressive education and was to be 'where members of different faiths shall be encouraged to mix together and in this way to learn a respect and tolerance for beliefs other than their own'.
St Christopher is noted for a number of distinctive characteristics. These include a lack of any formal school uniform and the freedom and encouragement to address teachers by their first names. The school has entirely vegetarian diet for both boarders and day pupils (a condition of receiving initial sponsorship from the Theosophical Society).
The school established a system of self-governance with Major Officials (the St. Christopher term for a prefect) being nominated and elected by their student peers. School meetings allow students and staff alike to propose, vote and implement new and amended rules and policy - but with the headmaster reserving the right to veto any he deems unworkable or unacceptable. The system was temporarily in turmoil during the mid-2000s (see below) but a move back towards this ethos has recently been restored under the leadership of current Head Richard Palmer who has held the post since 2006.
The school offers a number of annual trips including Ladakh, Kosovo and Rajasthan, along with some DoE (Duke of Edinburgh Award) expeditions. These are generally (but not always) taken as part of a short programme of activities at the end of the Summer Term known as the Late Summer Programme.
The school was founded in 1915 by Dr. Armstrong Smith. In 1919, Beatrice Ensor and Isabel King assumed joint headship following Smith's retirement the previous year, but both women left to found Frensham Heights in Surrey in 1925. The School in its present form developed under the guidance of Lyn and Eleanor Harris (1925–1953) and their son Nicholas (1954–1980). Following Nicholas's death in a road accident on the Maltese island of Gozo, the governors hired Colin Reid, essentially to carry on his work.
Colin Reid was Head Master from 1981 to 2004. The headmaster for the next two years was Donald Wilkinson, made many changes to the running of the school during his short spell. He announced his resignation from the post on 28 September 2006, citing personal reasons. The Chairman of Governors thanked him for his contribution to the development of the school and in particular for the raising of exam results both at GCSE and A level. The current head as at 2014 is Richard Palmer.
The Old Scholars club runs an annual meeting in July open to all former St Christopher pupils and staff no matter what year they left the school. The Old Scholars club also puts on Matches Day for sports in the Spring.
- Dr Armstrong Smith (1915–1918)
- Beatrice Ensor & Isabel King (1919–1925)
- Lyn & Eleanor Harris (1925–1953)
- Nicholas King-Harris (1954–1980)
- Colin Reid (1981–2004)
- Donald Wilkinson (2004–2006)
- Richard Palmer (2006–present)
Notable former pupils
- Ed Asafu-Adjaye, footballer
- Gavin Campbell, actor, TV presenter and businessman
- Neil Coles, golfer
- Julia Darling, author
- Jenny Diski, author
- JJ Feild, actor
- Sonia Friedman, theatre producer
- A A Gill, journalist and restaurant critic
- Paul Hamlyn, publisher
- David Horovitch, actor
- George Lamb, broadcaster
- Rolf Landsberg, academic (Physical Chemistry) and University Rector
- Prince Rupert Loewenstein, manager of The Rolling Stones
- Olly Mann, comedian and podcaster
- Neil Murray, musician
- Shawn Slovo, writer
- Richard Walker, angler
- Michael Winner, film producer and director
- Kay, Jackie (16 April 2005). "Julia Darling". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
- Bernd-Rainer Barth; Dieter Hoffmann. "Landsberg, Rolf * 28.2.1920, † 27.12.2003 Chemiker, Rektor der Technischen Hochschule für Chemie Leuna-Merseburg" (in German). Bundesstiftung zur Aufarbeitung der SED-Diktatur: Biographische Datenbanken. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- Sweeting, Adam (22 May 2014). "Prince Rupert Loewenstein obituary". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 24 May 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
- The school's web site
- Old Scholars - The St Christopher Club
- Profile in the ISC website
- ISI Inspection Reports