Horn Park Lane
Colfe’s is one of London’s oldest schools, with origins in the sixteenth century, and it was re-founded by Abraham Colfe, Vicar of Lewisham, in 1652. In his will, Colfe charged The Leathersellers’ Company, one of the City of London livery companies, with ‘the care of his school’. The Company still governs Colfe’s School today which now caters for over 1,100 children aged 3-18.
The Governors decided in 1977 that the School should return to independent status after 25 years as a voluntary aided grammar school. Whilst proud of its 360-year history, Colfe’s is a modern school whose central purpose is to prepare pupils for the challenges of the 21st century. Distinctive features include vertical (mixed-age) tutor groups, within the context of a very strong house system, and a learning culture in which intellectual versatility and resilience are fostered. For example, Colfe’s was named Educational Innovator of the Year in the 2014 Independent Schools Awards for its unique Tougher Minds programme, which draws on modern neuroscience and high-level sports-training techniques to help pupils focus their intellectual energies. It is also shortlisted for the same award in 2016 for its Colfe’s Family initiative.
From September 2016 the Nursery and Pre-Prep and Preparatory Schools merged to form a single Colfe’s Junior School catering for children aged 3-11. The junior school is located on the same site as the Senior School and fully integrated with it. Part of the junior school has recently benefitted from a significant expansion and refurbishment. Within the senior school a major new Sixth Form centre, teaching complex and café was opened in autumn 2015.
Colfe’s is very much a local school, serving principally Greenwich and Lewisham. It is not a stuffy school, and it has a high degree of social diversity which is further supported by the bursary programme. The Leathersellers’ Company has provided £1 million over five years for Sixth Form scholarships that are open to pupils in local state schools. Colfe’s supports several such schools in other ways, for example with teaching and teacher training in Science, Classics and Modern Languages.
Colfe’s pupils achieve consistently well in all areas of the curriculum; the arts, sport and Outdoor Education (along with an outstandingly popular Combined Cadet Force) are particularly successful.
The School has selective entry and academic standards are high and rising markedly, with GCSE results in 2016 reaching 62% A*/A and A-level results consistently above 80% A*/B. More than 50% of pupils gain places in Russell Group universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. Pupils also win places at top universities for art, music and drama, reflecting the importance of the Arts at the creative heart of the school. Competitive sport has a high priority: Colfe’s teams have won national netball competitions in recent years and two recent leavers have played rugby for England at U16, U17 and U18 level.
Colfe’s links with former pupils remains strong through the Old Colfeian Society and the work of the Development Office.
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