St Paul's School, London

St Paul's School
St Paul's School, London logo.png
Address
Lonsdale Road

, ,
SW13 9JT

Coordinates51°29′15″N 0°14′18″W / 51°29′15″N 0°14′18″W / 51.4874; -0.2383
Information
TypeIndependent private school
MottoLatin: Fide Et Literis
(By Faith and By Learning)
Religious affiliation(s)Christian
Established1509
FounderJohn Colet
Tables
Chairman of the GovernorsJohnny Robertson BSc
High MasterProfessor Mark Bailey
SurmasterRichard Girvan
Staffc. 110
GenderBoys
Age13 to 19
Enrolmentc.950
HousesA – H (known as clubs)
Former pupilsOld Paulines
Boat ClubSt Paul's School Boat ClubSt Paul's School London rowing blade.png
Website

St Paul's School is a selective independent school for boys aged 13–18, founded in 1509 by John Colet and located on a 43-acre (180,000m2) site by the River Thames, in Barnes, London.

It is one of the original nine British "Clarendon" public schools as investigated by the 1861 Clarendon Commission. However, The School successfully argued that it should be omitted from the Public Schools Act 1868.[1]

Since 1881, St Paul's has had its own preparatory school, St Paul's Juniors (formerly Colet Court), which since 1968 has been located on the same site.

St Paul's has been ranked (2001) as the leading boys' school in the country academically, on the merit of its position in the national GCSE and A level examination performance tables combined with one of the highest Oxford and Cambridge acceptance rates of any secondary school or college.[2]

The school is currently being rebuilt and expanded as part of a £150 million project. Beginning in 2011, the work was scheduled to be carried out in phases over a period of thirty years.[citation needed]

History

Biography of John Colet

St Paul's School originally takes its name from St Paul's Cathedral in London. A cathedral school had existed since around 1103. By the 16th century however, it had declined, and in 1509, a new school was founded by John Colet, Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, on a plot of land to the north of the Cathedral.

Statue of John Colet

The eldest son of Sir Henry Colet, a member of the Mercers' Company and twice Lord Mayor of the City of London, he inherited a substantial fortune and used a great part of it for the endowment of his school, having no family of his own; his 21 siblings all died in childhood and he was a celibate priest. He described himself in the statutes of the school as "desyring nothing more thanne Educacion and bringing upp chyldren in good Maners and litterature."[3]

City of London blue plaque

Originally, the school provided education for 153 children of "all nacions and countries indifferently", primarily in literature and etiquette. The number 153 has long been associated with the miraculous draught of fishes recorded in St John's Gospel, and for several generations Foundation Scholars have been given the option of wearing an emblem of a silver fish. St Paul's was the largest school in England at its foundation, and its High Master had a salary of 13 shillings and sixpence weekly, which was double that of the contemporary Head Master of Eton College. The scholars were not required to make any payment, although they were required to be literate and had to pay for their own wax candles, which at that time were an expensive commodity.[citation needed]

St Paul's School, London; the facade. Engraving by B. Cole

Colet was an outspoken critic of the powerful and worldly Church of his day, a friend of Erasmus and Sir Thomas More. Erasmus wrote textbooks for the school and St Paul's was the first English school to teach Greek, reflecting the humanist interests of the founder. Colet distrusted the Church as a managing body for his school, declaring that he "found the least corruption" in married laymen.[4] For this reason, Colet assigned the management of the School and its revenues to the Mercers' Company, the premier livery company in the City of London, with which his father had been associated. In 1876 the company were legally established as trustees of the Colet estate and the management of the school was assigned to a Board of Governors consisting of the Master, Wardens and nine members of the company, together with three representatives each of the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and London. The Mercers' Company still forms the major part of the School's governing body, and it continues to administer Colet's trust.[citation needed]

One of St Paul's early headmasters was Richard Mulcaster, famous for writing two influential treatises on education (Positions, in 1581,[5] and Elementarie in 1582). His description in Positions of "footeball" as a refereed team sport is the earliest reference to organised modern football. For this description and his enthusiasm for the sport he is considered the father of modern football.[6]

Between 1861 and 1864, the Clarendon Commission (a Royal Commission) investigated the public school system in England and its report formed the basis of the Public Schools Act 1868. St Paul's was one of only nine schools considered by the Clarendon Commission, and one of only two schools which was not predominantly attended by boarders (the other day school was Merchant Taylors').

According to Charles Dickens, Jr., writing in 1879[7]

St Paul’s School (founded 1512 by John Colet, DD, Dean of St Paul’s), St Paul’s-churchyard — There are 153 scholars on the foundation, who are entitled to entire exemption from school fees. Vacancies are filled up at the commencement of each term according to the results of a competitive examination. Candidates must be between 12 and 14 years of age. Capitation scholars pay £20 a year. The governors of this school are appointed by the Mercers' Company and the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and London. The school exhibitions [i.e. scholarships] are determined as to number and value by the governors from time to time, and the school prizes are of considerable importance. The following are the university exhibitions. To the University of Cambridge there are the following exhibitions: Five exhibitions at Trinity, founded by Mr Perry in 1696, of the value of £10 a year; two exhibitions at St John’s, founded by Dr Gower in 1711, of the value of £10 a year, for the sons of clergymen. An exhibition, founded by Mr Stock in 1780 at Corpus Christi, of the yearly value of £30, given to a scholar recommended by the high master. Four exhibitions, in the same college, value £10 a year each, founded by Mr George Sykes in 1766, consolidated now in one exhibition, value £36 a year.

By comparison, in 2016 the Daily Telegraph reported that families earning up to £120,000 were being offered bursaries after the headmaster declared that the school had become "unaffordable."[8]

Between 1886 and 1895, St Paul's boys won 173 entrance awards at Oxford and Cambridge, which was 26 more than any other school.[citation needed] Over many years its record of Open Awards at Oxford and Cambridge in all subjects has been equal, or superior, to that of any other school of comparable size.[citation needed]

School coat of arms

Like many ancient educational foundations, St Paul's School traditionally used the arms of its founder, John Colet. His arms were Sable on a chevron Argent between three Hinds trippant Argent three Annulets Sable, and they were originally used by his great-grandfather, Richard Colet. As Dean of St Paul's, he was entitled to impale them with the arms of the Deanery, and the school has often used them in this form also. In 2002, the school obtained its own grant of arms from the College of Arms consisting of the arms of Dean Colet surrounded by a gold bordure, upon which the crossed swords of the Dean of St Paul's are repeated.[citation needed]

Apposition

Apposition is a traditional ceremony at St Paul's and was originally a way of allowing the Mercers Company to assess teaching staff and the High Master, with the option of dismissing or reappointing them. The assessment takes the form of a third-party 'apposer', often a leading academic, judging the quality of teaching through scrutinising lectures given by boys in their final year. Today it is primarily a prize giving event, where prizes are awarded to senior boys who have excelled in particular subjects. The Apposition Dinner is held in the Mercer's Hall in London every year around May.

Consequences of apposition have led to the dismissal of previous High Masters including Thomas Freeman, for lack of learning (although more probably for holding the incorrect religious views) in 1559. In 1748, High Master Charles was removed as he had allegedly threatened to "pull the Surmaster by the nose and kick him about the school."

Since it was re-introduced in 1969,[9] the ceremony today takes place in May and is purely ceremonial, incorporating prize giving for boys in the final two years of the school.