Looking at our modern buildings, it’s hard to believe Colfe’s is one of the oldest schools in London. Originally established by John Glyn in 1574, the school was re-founded in 1652 by the Reverend Abraham Colfe, Vicar of Lewisham.
When Colfe died in 1657, he took the enlightened step of entrusting the School to the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers in the City of London. Colfe’s original vision was to educate the children of ‘the hundred of Blackheath’ and although today our pupils travel to the school from all parts of South East London, a strong sense of local community remains, with most of the pupils coming from the Boroughs of Lewisham, Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich.
The School on the Hill, as it was known locally, stood on Lewisham Hill until 1944 when it was badly bombed. The pupils were evacuated to schools in Tunbridge Wells and Somerset and then spent many years in temporary accommodation before the school re-opened in 1964 on the site it occupies today. At that time it was a grammar school for boys, but Colfe’s became independent in 1977, thus ensuring the continuance of its tradition of excellence. Girls have been admitted to the Sixth Form for 30 years, and the school has been fully co-educational since 1999.
The school continues to move forward. In the 1990s we built what is now the Junior School, which educates some 450 children from 3–10. Since then we have added an all-weather playing field and the Beardwood Centre, which provides state-of-the art facilities for Art, Music, Drama and Media Studies. In recent years we have greatly expanded the space for EYFS and Key Stage 1 and opened The Stewart Building, a dedicated centre for the Sixth Form.
The aims of Colfe’s School as determined within the strategic plan are:
- to promote excellence in all areas of school life and to develop each pupil’s abilities and character to the full, whilst ensuring that each child is happy and developing their unique potential;
- to provide innovative academic teaching which adds value and fosters learning and scholarship of the highest quality, together with a wide range of cultural, sporting and co-curricular activities;
- to nurture an awareness of spiritual and moral values amongst its pupils in accordance with the principles of the Founder, Abraham Colfe;
- to maintain a balanced and diverse community of children from varied backgrounds within the context of an academically selective school;
- to promote a purposeful, disciplined, supportive and respectful atmosphere in which all pupils are encouraged to achieve their full potential, staff find vocational fulfilment in their careers and all can use their talents for the greater good of the community and society as a whole;
- to be the co-educational independent school of choice in south-east London.
Colfe’s was reviewed by The Good Schools Guide in April 2021, you can read the review here.
For further information on Colfe’s policies, please see School Policies.