The John Fisher School

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The John Fisher School
Established 1929[1]
Type Faith school voluntary-aided
Selective school 1991–1999
Independent school 1929–1977
Religion Roman Catholic
Headteacher Mr P E McCullagh
Deputy headteacher Mr Laventure, Mr Johnson
Founder Peter Amigo
Location Peaks Hill
England, UK
51°20′44″N 0°08′02″W / 51.34548°N 0.13386°W / 51.34548; -0.13386Coordinates: 51°20′44″N 0°08′02″W / 51.34548°N 0.13386°W / 51.34548; -0.13386
DfE URN 103009 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 1031[2]
Gender Males
Ages 11–18

Fisher      Bede     
More      Becket     

Challoner      Newman     

Yrs 1–5 Royal Blue and Gold

Yrs 6–7 Black and Gold
Publication The Kingfisher
The Fishtickler
The Student Voice

The John Fisher School is a Roman Catholic voluntary-aided boys' faith school based at Peaks Hill, Purley, Croydon, Surrey, England. The school educates boys 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 1999.

The school has grown since the end of its 1990s 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, The school occupies the former site of the 19th century Falconbury School.

Admissions at 11+[edit]

Boys are admitted to the school at the ages of 11 or 16. Entry at 11+ is non-selective (since September 1999). Between 2000 and 2012 the school continued to admit boys who fulfilled the religious observance criteria under a points system but there was no selection. 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 1999. During the school's 1990s 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. Prior to September 1999, candidates were selected for entry.[3]

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. All exhibitions and scholarships were disbanded in 1999.[4]

Admissions at 16+[edit]

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.

1999: End of selection and the start of the Points System[edit]

In September 1999 the school ended academic, aptitude and interview selection. Of 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.[citation needed]

5 GCSE A*-C[edit]

Exam results:[5]

  • 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[edit]

  • 2014-50.3%
  • 2013-48.00%
  • 2012-60.85%
  • 2011-54.5%
  • 2010-49.8%
  • 2009-52.8%

The John Fisher Association[edit]

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[edit]

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.[6]


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.[1] 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 diocesian 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[7] In September 1999, the school stopped all forms of selection and became a voluntary-aided comprehensive school 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.[1]


Prior to Terence King's appointment all headmasters were Roman Catholic priests.

  • 1981-1993 Mr Terence King
  • 1993-2005 Mr Robin Gregory
  • 2005-2006 Mr Pat Liddiard
  • 2006-2015 Mr Mark Scully (Retired from teaching in 2015)
  • 2015- Mr Philip McCullagh (Present Headmaster)

Rugby Union[edit]

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.[8] The school's U15s reached the final of The Daily Mail Cup in 2000/2001 season.[9] The school has rugby rivalries with Whitgift School, London Oratory School and Dulwich College.

Overall summary 1st XV[edit]

Details Played since 2000 Won by John Fisher School Won by Whitgift School Drawn
Overall 23 5 18 0

Overall summary U15A[edit]

Details Played since 2004 Won by John Fisher School Won by Whitgift School Drawn
Overall 11 3 8 0


  • 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.[10]

Notable former pupils[edit]

Arts and media[edit]

Local Government[edit]

  • Councillor Terence King, former Headmaster; former Deputy Mayor of Surrey Heath Council and former Mayor of Surrey Heath.[citation needed]
  • Councillor Wayne Trakas-Lawlor (formerly Lawlor), current Mayor of Croydon 2016-2017, Councillor for South Norwood Ward since May 2010; former Deputy Mayor of Croydon 2015-16; former Deputy Cabinet Member for Economic Development 2014-2015.[citation needed]
  • Councillor Martin Whelton, Former Mayor of Merton 2008-2009; Councillor for Pollards Hill since 2002 and currently Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Environment and Housing. Governor of The John Fisher school 1999-2003[citation needed]


  • Tony Purnell, businessman (when the school was independent)





See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The John Fisher School - History of the school, accessed 26 April 2009.
  2. ^ Ofsted Inspection Report, December 2008, accessed 26 April 2009.
  3. ^ Catholic Herald article referencing The John Fisher School
  4. ^
  5. ^ "404 Error! - The John Fisher School". Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  6. ^ "Home - The John Fisher Old Boys Association". Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  7. ^ Lightfoot, Liz (9 September 2006). "Admissions code bans faith school selection by interview". The Daily Telegraph. London. 
  8. ^ "National Severns". Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  9. ^ "Page Not Found". Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  10. ^ Truman, Peter (30 July 2008). "School admissions system rapped as far too complex". Croydon Guardian. p. 2. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Old Boys". The John Fisher School. Retrieved 11 May 2015. 
  12. ^ The Times, "Bill Nighy talks Pirates of the Caribbean", 12 May 2007. Accessed 26 April 2009.
  13. ^, College team ready for cup semi-final test, 12 March 2009. Accessed 26 April 2009.
  14. ^ 'I am a rather unsubtle sort of chap'
  15. ^ 2012 Roll of Honour, The Sun
  16. ^
  17. ^ " - CBSi". Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  18. ^ The John Fisher School Newsletter, Winter 2008, accessed 26 April 2009.
  19. ^ Tim Murtagh player profile at Cricinfo, accessed 26 April 2009.
  20. ^ Chris Murtagh player profile at Cricinfo, accessed 26 April 2009.
  21. ^ Croydon Guardian, Rooney wants British record, 3 November 2008. Accessed 26 April 2009.
  22. ^ Paul Sackey profile at England Rugby, accessed 26 April 2009.
  23. ^ a b "Sackey and Skivington support schoolboys"; 3 February 2009; accessed 26 April 2009.
  24. ^ Kyle Traynor player profile

External links[edit]