The John Fisher School
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|The John Fisher School|
|Type||Faith school voluntary-aided|
Selective school 1991–2008
Independent school 1929–1977
|Religious affiliation(s)||Roman Catholic|
|Department for Education URN||103009 Tables|
|Headteacher||P. E. McCullagh|
|Chaplain||Fr. James Clarke|
|Age||11 to 18|
|Houses||Fisher Bede |
More Becket Challoner Newman Teresa
|Colour(s)||Year 7-10 |
The Student Voice
|Feeder schools||Laleham Lea Primary School|
|Alumni||Old Fisherians (Old Boys)|
The John Fisher School is a Roman Catholic voluntary-aided boys' faith school based at Peaks Hill, Purley, Croydon, Surrey, England. Today the school operates as a local standard Roman Catholic Comprehensive School, educating boys mainly from around South and Central Croydon. However, the school has a history of selection, and in the past (as a selective entry grant-maintained school, and before that as a fee-paying boys’ grammar school) has drawn pupils from across London and South East England.
In spite of its Croydon postcode and location, the school is funded by the London Borough of Sutton. The school has operated selective admissions policies twice in its history, from when it was founded in 1929 until 1977, and more recently from 1991 to 2008. It was, alongside the London Oratory School, one of the last selective entry Catholic comprehensive schools to defy the Schools' Admissions Code by continuing to interview prospect pupils and their parents. There have been no parental interviews since 2008, with the final cohort of boys selected by interview leaving the school in the Summer of 2014.
The school has grown since the end of its selection policy from 700 pupils to over 1000, and is set to grow even more beginning in 2016 (30 additional places). In May 2012, it launched its new website, www.johnfisherschool.org. The school occupies the former site of the 19th-century prep school Falconbury School.
The John Fisher School was founded by Peter Emmanuel Amigo, Archbishop of Southwark, in 1929 at Duppas Hill in Croydon, and moved in 1931 to its current premises in Peaks Hill, Purley. It is the only currently-open school named after Saint John Fisher that was founded before his canonization in 1935. This is indicated by the absence of "Saint" from the school name. At the start of the 1970s the John Fisher School was a diocesan grammar school with an intake of fee-paying and non-fee-paying children. It had a small number of boarders until 1970 when a decision was made to end this facility. In 1977 it became an all-ability comprehensive school maintained by the London Borough of Sutton.
In 1991, following discussion and a vote by parents, John Fisher was incorporated as a Grant Maintained School and operated a selection policy. Selection into the school was via an interview process involving candidates and their parents (to assess whether the boy and his family's ambitions and ethos were in harmony of those of the school) or by examination (for a minority of academic places). Also, a small number of young men were selected on the basis of musical ability or for sporting promise.
Despite the school selecting all of its pupils it was nominally comprehensive because not all boys were selected purely on academic ability. GM Catholic schools[clarification needed] that examined candidates and interviewed potential pupils and their parents were often controversial. In September 2008, the school stopped all forms of selection and became a local voluntary-aided comprehensive school, serving Croydon and Sutton, once more. In 2003, John Fisher School became a specialist sports college and construction began on a £1.2 million sports hall opened by Sir Bobby Robson.
In recent years, due to tightening up in the schools' admissions code and the abolition of first preference first criteria, the school has developed and expanded to become more of a standard non-selective local Roman Catholic boys' comprehensive school, mainly serving the areas of South & Central Croydon, North Surrey, and Sutton.
2008: End of selection and the start of the Points System
In September 2008 the school ended its policy of selection. Originally, the decision to become selective and opt out of local authority control, the headmaster at the time stated:
"the strong view, held by myself and the staff, that becoming a grant-maintained institution presented an attractive option." (Terence King)
Today the school takes more boys from London boroughs such as Lambeth and Southwark as well as its traditional heartlands of Reigate and Banstead, Caterham, Croydon, Sutton, Bromley, Epsom, East Grinstead and Crawley. 44% of boys live 4-10+ miles from the school. All scholarships ceased in September 1999. Around 20% of boys are from ethnic minority groups.
Admissions at 11+
Boys are admitted to the school at the ages of 11 or 16. Entry at 11+ is non-selective (since September 2008). Since 2013 for the first time in its history, and like all other state schools, the school now admits boys who either fail or fail to score highly enough to gain a place at one of the few London grammar schools. Approximately 190 boys are admitted in Year 7.
John Fisher was a small selective school from 1991 until September 2008. During the school's selection policy (when there was no consideration for boys living closest to the school whatsoever) it was taking boys from 20–30 miles away, but, due to its highly selective nature and high academic attainment, it was seen by many parents as an alternative to independent schools. 
The assessment consisted of a candidate and parent interview, a religion test, a written statement by the boy stating why he would like to attend the school and a report from the boy's current school. A smaller number of boys were selected for academic, musical and sports aptitude, in conjunction with an interview. There have been no interviews since 2008.
Admissions at 16+
The only form of selection at the school today is at 16+, where all candidates are interviewed (including internal applicants). A minimum of 5 places are made available to boys joining from other schools.
5 GCSE A*-C
- 2014-83.11% (76% inc Eng & Mat)
- 2013-95% (87% inc Eng & Mat)
- 2012-93.2% (79% inc Eng & Mat)
- 2011-88% (73% inc Eng & Mat)
- 2010-84% (72% inc Eng & Mat)
- 2009-85% (73% inc Eng & Mat)
A Level A*-B
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The 7s team reached three consecutive national finals between 1997-1999 winning two and losing the 1999 final against Stonyhurst; they lost the 2008 final 19-0 to Sedbergh School. The school's U15s reached the final of The Daily Mail Cup in the 2000/2001 season, losing to Epsom College. The school has rugby rivalries with Whitgift School, London Oratory School and Dulwich College. It is the only comprehensive school with a rugby fixture against Eton College.
Overall summary 1st XV
|Details||Played since 2000||Won by John Fisher School||Won by Whitgift School||Drawn|
Overall summary U15A
|Details||Played since 2004||Won by John Fisher School||Won by Whitgift School||Drawn|
The John Fisher Association
The JFA, a registered charity, was founded in 1996. Located at 33 Park Hill Carshalton, it was founded for the "advancement of the education of the pupils of The John Fisher School" and undertakes activities which contribute financially and socially to the school. The charity provide scholarships and bursaries during the school's selection policy.
Old Boys Association and alumni groups
The John Fisher Old Boys Association (JFOBA) is a members club for past pupils and teachers of The John Fisher School in Purley, Surrey. Membership is available to all former pupils of school, and those members and former members of the school's staff invited to be Honorary Members.
Prior to Terence King's appointment all headmasters were Roman Catholic priests.
- 1981-1993 Mr. Terence King, M.A.
- 1993-2005 Mr. Robin Gregory, M.A.
- 2005-2006 Mr. Pat Liddiard, B.Ed.
- 2006-2015 Mr. Mark Scully, M.A.
- 2015- Mr. Philip McCullagh, M.A. (Present Headmaster)
Admissions policy controversies
Since the end of its selective admissions process the school has come under fire for "its controversial points admission system which favours children from families who are the most active in the church." The school was investigated by the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) after complaints from a parent. Objections to the OSA included "governors could manipulate what was considered a bona fide parish activity to 'exclude those they do not wish to admit from the school'" and "that governors were using surnames to reject single parents".
The OSA did not endorse the latter claim but made "the strongest recommendation" that the current system be scrapped. This is the second time the school's admission policy has been investigated by the OSA following complaints.
Notable former pupils
This section needs additional citations for verification. (November 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Arts and media
- Stefano Hatfield, newspaper editor
- Bill Nighy, actor
- Matthew Wright, journalist and television presenter. Featured in I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! in 2013
- Gilles Peterson, radio personality, DJ, and record label owner
- Diarmuid Byron O'Connor, sculptor
- Jack Scarisbrick, anti-abortion activist and Tudor historian
- Tony Purnell, businessman (when the school was independent)
- Maurice Couve de Murville, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham
- Simon Hunt, England Sevens and Ebbw Vale Rugby Union player (during the selection policy)
- Tim and Chris Murtagh, Professional cricket players (both attended during the selection policy)
- Martyn Rooney, Beijing Olympics Team GB 400m finalist (During the selection policy)
- Paul Sackey, England (21 caps), London Wasps and RC Toulonnais Rugby Union player (during the selection policy)
- George Skivington, England Saxons and London Wasps Rugby Union player
- Franz Stampfl, Athletics coach - and coach to Roger Bannister, Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher
- Kyle Traynor, Scotland (three caps) and Edinburgh Rugby Club; also Scotland U18, 19, 21 (captain) (during the selection policy)
- Zane Scotland, PGA Tour golfer (during the selection policy)
- Walter D'Hondt, Olympic Rowing Gold Medalist
- Alistair Chay McKenzie, Rugby Union player (during the selection policy)
- Matt Williams, England 7s International and 1st XV player for Bristol Rugby
- Laurie Evans, cricketer; plays for Warwickshire County Cricket Club (during the selection policy)
- Matthew Leek, rugby union player (during the selection policy)
- Simon King, cricketer; played for Surrey County Cricket Club between 2006 and 2011
- Dan Leek, Rugby Union player (during the selection policy)
- Kieran Treadwell, Rugby Union, formerly of Harlequins, currently plays for Ulster Rugby and Ireland.
- Alex Dombrandt, Rugby Union, Harlequins
- The John Fisher School - History of the school Archived 24 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 26 April 2009.
- "The John Fisher School". Ofsted. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
- "The John Fisher School - GOV.UK". get-information-schools.service.gov.uk. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
- Lightfoot, Liz (9 September 2006). "Admissions code bans faith school selection by interview". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- Catholic Herald article referencing The John Fisher School
- "404 Error! - The John Fisher School". Archived from the original on 15 April 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
- "National Schools Sevens Results". National Schools Sevens. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
- "Daily Mail Cup Results Archive". Schools' Rugby. Schools' Sports. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
- "Home - The John Fisher Old Boys Association". Retrieved 8 February 2016.
- Truman, Peter (30 July 2008). "School admissions system rapped as far too complex". Croydon Guardian. p. 2.
- "Old Boys". The John Fisher School. Archived from the original on 28 June 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
- The Times, "Bill Nighy talks Pirates of the Caribbean", 12 May 2007. Accessed 26 April 2009.
- thisiscornwall.co.uk, College team ready for cup semi-final test[permanent dead link], 12 March 2009. Accessed 26 April 2009.
- 'I am a rather unsubtle sort of chap'
- "FindArticles.com - CBSi". Retrieved 8 February 2016.
- Tim Murtagh player profile at Cricinfo, accessed 26 April 2009.
- Chris Murtagh player profile at Cricinfo, accessed 26 April 2009.
- Croydon Guardian, Rooney wants British record, 3 November 2008. Accessed 26 April 2009.
- Paul Sackey profile at England Rugby Archived 15 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 26 April 2009.
- "Sackey and Skivington support schoolboys"; 3 February 2009; accessed 26 April 2009.
- Kyle Traynor player profile