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Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Headmaster's newsletter 14.10.16
Monday, October 17, 2016

As we approach the end of a very busy half term I am delighted to report a wealth of achievements from both Junior and Senior pupils, as well as general updates and activity throughout the school.
This half term has seen the start of our open season for prospective parents and I would like to take the opportunity to thank the many pupils – Junior and Senior – who have acted as tour guides during these events; their commitment (during weekends and evenings) and sheer enthusiasm for Colfe’s has helped to make the sessions some of our most successful to date. 

Junior School
It has been a busy time for our younger pupils this half term including a seasonal Harvest Festival celebration full of songs, poetry and readings – all food generously donated was given to the Salvation Army.
Pupils, teachers and parents from nursery to Year 6 spent a week dedicated to sharing the school’s values of Effort, Honesty, Team, Love of Learning, Happiness, Respect and Resilience.  Working across the curriculum, pupils had the opportunity to partner with children from different key stages to create displays of their work.  Parents were also encouraged to join in by leaving a written message each day on how the values were being used at home. Thanks to PSE (Personal Social Education) subject leader Sarah Walsh for coordinating the event.

Junior School pupils held a celebration of poetry last week – Early Years and Key Stage 1 classes learned a poem at home and presented to their classmates and teachers, while Key Stage 2 took part in our annual poetry writing competition (now in its fourth year) with the theme ‘Messages’. Pupils also had a chance to take part in workshops run by children’s author and poet, Andrew Weale. The winners will be announced after half term.

The Senior School has hosted its first Platform Concert of the year, for Years 7 – 13, with performances from soloists and group ensembles including the Chamber Singers. Earlier this week the Jazz Concert featured a wonderful range of vocal and instrumental performances whilst the Junior School Tea Time Concert featured younger pupils who have recently begun playing a musical instrument as well as our more experienced players.

The popularity of choral singing across the school is growing. This April will see our first concert tour for choral singers to Tuscany (Years 7-13) and will include a chance to visit Florence, Pisa and Siena as well as the opportunity to perform three concerts.  And Colfe’s Combined Choir (which brings together students, staff and parents) is currently in rehearsals for its forthcoming performance of Karl Jenkin’s The Armed Man on November 21 at St Alfege in Greenwich. 
For more information on the Tuscany trip and for tickets to the St Alfege concert, please contact Emma Bond, Director of Music  
ArtArtists from across the school have been on a number of external trips this half term.  A-level Fine Art and Graphic Communication students spent a weekend in Margate exploring concepts of circular shapes in art, fashion and architecture and also visited Roche Court in Dorset to view a collection of contemporary sculptures. Year 10 pupils visited Tate Britain to practice the reading and analysis of art work and Year 4 visited Tate Modern for the Georgia O Keefe exhibition supporting their classroom work on leaves, flowers and landscapes.  

PsychologyA-level Psychologists have taken part in Colfe’s first ‘Brain Day’ with a series of university-style lectures designed to go beyond the A-level syllabus. Sixth Form students learnt about new technologies that could eventually be used to read and manipulate thoughts remotely, as well as researching schizophrenia from a neurological perspective. Thanks to Dr Guy Sutton from the University of Nottingham Medical School for delivering the lectures and to Dr Lea (Head of Psychology) for organising the day.

Colfe’s strength in competitive mathematics continues with an emphatic win (36 points to 27) against Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College in round one of the prestigious Hans Woyda competition this week.  This was an outstanding start to the season and the team – Emma Williams (Year 13), Simone Korsgaard-Jensen (Year 11), Panos Philalithis (Year 9) and Ryan Smith (Year 9) – are all to be congratulated. Thanks, as ever, to Dr Vijapura for his constant support in this area.

Senior pupils have begun taking part in the school careers programme with Year 11 receiving one-to-one sessions following their psychometric profiling at the end of last term. Students have embraced these experiences, helping them not only with future career planning but in the focus of working hard to achieve their academic goals. The first UCAS applications are ready to submit for those applying to Oxbridge, Music Conservatoires and Drama school – all of which have early deadlines. 

School Trips
Plenty of study trips have taken place across the school already with more to come over the coming weeks. Year 12 politics students had a trip to Parliament, Year 9 mathematicians to Bletchley Park and Reception pupils took part in their first music trip to London for a production from the popular Sir Scallwag series at the Wigmore Hall. 

The second of our Year 7 groups return today from their Outdoor Pursuits week in the Lake District. Good weather has prevailed for both weeks, which makes this year group the most fortunate on record. I was accordingly delighted to escape from the HMC Conference in Stratford last week to join the pupils for part of their hill walk on Thursday.  The range of activities was as wide as ever and thank you to Major Cherry for his organisation of the Outdoor Education programme. CCF Cadets leave tonight for five days to Wattisham in Suffolk and A-level Art and Drama pupils set off this weekend for the popular study trip to New York over the half-term break.

In rugby there were block fixtures against Brentwood – in which every boy in Year 7 had a chance to play – and Sutton Valance, and in Rugby League our U16s are through to the regional rounds of the Champions Schools Trophy. Well done to Chris Harris (Year 12) who has been selected to represents Kent U18s. Year 3 rugby players also had their first competitive game against Bickley Park School – a great introduction to tag rugby with almost the whole year group taking part. Old Colfeian Matt Gallagher made his senior starting debut for Saracens in a recent premiership fixture.

Junior School netballers started the season with success at the Colfe’s U9 netball tournament – the A team topped the table winning all their matches against teams from Farringtons, Breaside, Babington House and Merton Court. And teams from Years 7, 8 and 9 put in a strong performance in the Condover Hall Competition in Shropshire where the 8As won the plate tournament after victories in the majority of their matches.  

In swimming, we hosted the first Junior School gala of the year for pupils in Years 4, 5 and 6 against Oakfield, Farringtons, Breaside and Merton Court.  Colfe’s team secured first place positioning – well done to everyone who took part with special mention to Leo Walker, Alex Edwards, Noemie Klanga, Grace Turner and Gabriella Noyce (all Year 4) who swam above their age group for the Year 5 relay.

Other individual achievements this half term have included:

  • Nathan Chapman (Year 7) represented Colfe’s at a biathlon (1600m run and 100m swim) in Ascot, coming third in his age group;
  • Brothers Jacob and Leo Walker (Year 6 and Year 4 respectively) performed strongly in the recent Greenwich Borough Swimming Championships with Leo coming first in freestyle and second in backstroke, and Jacob placing second in backstroke;
  • Tyler Smith (Year 9) was presented with a Jack Petchey Achievement Award at the London South East Scout Awards in recognition of taking 16 badges and creating his own website;
  • Sophia Clark (Year 11 ) won a gold medal and two silver medals in the International Rhythmic Gymnastics competition ‘Dilyana Prima’ in Bulgaria;
  • Showjumper Georgia Noone (Year 12) took part in an end of season show at Chepstow with her horse Clifford – wining in one class and coming seventh in another against over 90 professional competitors;
  • Luca Thurlow (Year 7) has been selected to represent Great Britain at both the World and European BMX Championships 2017.

Parent Communications
At the beginning of this term we were delighted to welcome our new Director of Communications. Kate Bridgman has joined us from Dulwich College where she was Marketing Manager with previous senior marketing positions held at Channel 4 and the BBC. Kate’s role will be to manage all marketing communications across the Junior and Senior Schools, including communications to parents which will be an area of immediate focus for her – comments and feedback are welcome Please join me in welcoming Kate to Colfe’s. 

Building Works

Finally, I am delighted to say that the landscaping and building work at the Senior School entrance is almost complete and should be fully operational by our return to school after half term. Thank you for your patience during the works.
I wish all pupils a restful break and I look forward to seeing you when we return on 31 October.



Intrepid Colfeians climb Mount Kilimanjaro for charity
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Colfe’s graduates, Emily Ireland, Amy Grant and Octavia Willoughby spent their summer together raising over £4,000 for charity by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.The intrepid trio climbed 5,895m over eight days (six days going up and two going down again) to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust, Freedom from Fistula and the British Lung Foundation.

Firm friends Octavia, Amy and Emily are now studying at university: History at UCL (Octavia) and Medicine at Leeds and Cardiff (Amy and Emily respectively). Emily said, “It was an amazing experience which was made even better being able to do it with the friends I have spent so much time with over the years, especially through netball.  It was lovely to be able to share something like this with them.  A lot of planning and fundraising for our respective charities helped make us all the more determined to get to the summit.

“The first four days of climbing went pretty well but then we had the summit night – where we walked through the night (around six and a half hours) so that we arrived at the summit in time to watch the sunrise – a view that made it all worthwhile and only slightly overshadowed by the cold (it was -20 degrees and you couldn’t feel your toes!)  “Our knees ached very badly and the altitude at the top really scrambled your brain – I looked at my watch and just couldn’t think what the time was - but this was one of the best things I’ve done to date and we raised more money than our targets for our charities.“I’m now considering taking on Machu Picchu next… so watch this space.”

Headmaster's Newsletter 7.7.16
Thursday, July 7, 2016

The final fortnight of the term has been an opportunity to acknowledge, celebrate and reward a huge range of achievement throughout the school.  Prep School and Lower School Prize Giving Ceremonies last week took place against the backdrop of the Prep School Art Exhibition which transformed the sports hall. Our thanks to Mrs Higgs and her colleagues who have been preparing for the display for much of this academic year.

The Prep School ceremony was also an opportunity to say goodbye to Miss Denise Lempriere who is retiring after 33 years of truly dedicated service to the Prep School. Universally popular and respected by pupils and parents alike, Miss Lempriere has been the guiding force behind the prep school for most of the period of its existence. She leaves with our best wishes for a long and enjoyable retirement. 

We also say farewell to Mrs Sarah Redman at the end of this term whose conspicuously successful career as Head of the Pre-Prep and Nursery has seen the significant expansion of that section of the school. Her leadership has generated a succession of outstanding inspection reports for the PPN and we will miss her enormously when she moves on to the new challenge of a consultancy role this summer.

Colleagues departing the senior school at the end of this year include Mr Andrew Corstorphine and Miss Louise Lechmere. Both move on to senior roles in other independent schools next autumn and will be greatly missed. Mr Jonathan Chuter will also be departing, with a view to spending more time with his young family, having revived the fortunes of the RS and Philosophy department in the course of the last six years.

Year 7 pupils were amongst the first to visit the all new Leathersellers’ Hall in Bishopsgate last week. They had an opportunity to see first-hand the Will of Abraham Colfe, having been welcomed to the Hall by the Master and Wardens. Their day continued with a visit to the Guildhall and the Bank of England Museum where they saw, inter alia, a gold nugget which was worth £400,000- probably more than that post-Brexit.

On the subject of Brexit we were delighted to hear that senior civil servant and Old Colfeian Oliver Robbins had been appointed as Permanent Secretary to lead the new EU unit in the Cabinet Office.  This is a highly important role which will support the Cabinet as it considers options for our future relationship outside the EU with Europe and the rest of the world.  Oliver will move across from his current role as Second Permanent Secretary at the Home Office. His distinguished career to date was recognized in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list last year when he was made a Companion of the Bath for services to national security. 

And finally, still on the subject of Brexit, one of our Year 11 pupils was present, in the course of her current work experience, in the room in which Boris Johnson announced last week that he would not be contesting the leadership of the Conservative Party. We remain grateful to all parents and Old Colfeians who continue to offer exciting and rewarding work experience placements.

The wet weather mainly held off for the CCF’s (Combined Cadet Force) annual Parade Day last weekend.  We welcomed back former Colfeian Lieutenant Colonel Jo Butterfill MC, Commanding Officer of the First Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers as the day’s Reviewing Officer. Lieutenant Colonel Butterfill was both a cadet and an officer in the CCF during his time with us and was extremely impressed with our current cadets. Many thanks to Garry Hooton, Commanding Officer for the first time this year, for the meticulous preparation which preceded the event.

Our cadets will be setting off tomorrow for their DofE Bronze expeditions in the Lenham area in Kent. Later this month, Gold Practice and Gold qualifiers head for Snowdonia. All Colfe’s expeditions are carefully planned and supervised by experienced mountain leaders and each team carries a tracking device which enables us to pinpoint their exact location at any point in time.

Literary and cultural highlights of the final weeks of term have included the Senior School House Poetry competition and the House Music competition. I was also delighted to hear that Mr (Joel) Smith has received a total of 30 applications for the Henry Williamson essay competition. Henry Williamson, best known for his best-selling Tarka The Otter, is an Old Colfeian who, despite his espousal of fascism in the 1930s, remains one of the most distinguished novelists of the 20th century. His Chronicle of Ancient Sunshine sequence of novels is set in and around Lewisham in the early years of the last century.

The Year 6 musical Alice in Wonderland was an ambitious project and a wonderfully successful night – thanks to Victoria Welch, Head of Key Stage 2 elect, for her expert direction and to all the parent volunteers who produced the most magnificent set, costumes and makeup on the night. Thanks also to Ruth Hall for the fantastic Pre-prep and Nursery production last week. 

It has been another record year for the number of pupils (over 100) taking part in LAMDA exams (London Academy of  Music and Dramatic Art)  with, for the first time, three performance evenings (two senior, one prep) which enabled us to demonstrate the strength and depth of Drama across the school.  50 new joiners have already signed up for lessons in September. Others who wish to enrol should contact Richard Gregg by email:
The Year 5 debating competition involved more than 10 local schools with entries of the highest quality. Expertly managed by Mr Dunsmore, more than 40 pupils debated the merits of technology, amongst other things, with one of the two Colfe’s teams emerging victorious. Congratulations to Ines Robinson and Alfie Bracken.

High profile events of the last two weeks have included the Sixth Form Leavers’ Ball held at the Greenwich Yacht Club and a reception in school for the parents of Sixth Form Leavers. Both were enjoyable occasions which gave cause to reflect on what an impressive group of pupils we have had at the top of the school this year. I am particularly grateful to Mr Drury and Mr Foxall for guiding them through the last two years and delighted that they have been the first cohort to occupy the new Stewart Building which has so successfully transformed the physical heart of the school. Looking to the future, I am delighted to report the appointment of Sophia Rosen Fouladi and David Battersby as the new School Captains.

Despite the persistence of the Jet Stream, all three sports days were successfully completed in the closing weeks of term. New school records were set at Sutcliffe Park: Teya Adedeji, U12 girls’ discus, Aliyah Robinson, U14 200m, and Benjamin Tynan who set a new record in the 300m.  Also in athletics, Denny Ashison, William White, Ronald Aduaye-Odiete, Nia Southworth and Christian Hooper have all been selected to represent Greenwich in the London Schools’ Championships. Twenty-four of our talented Prep athletes took part in the senior event. Prior to Sports Day, more than 400 parents and guests had attended the Sports Presentation Evening on the 22nd June which was preceded by a barbecue in the main school quad. 

Over 60 girls and boys (Years 7-10) took part in the Greenwich Schools Athletics Championships against schools across the borough.  Well done to all those who took part especially the Year 10 boys who won the event with gold medals for James Back-Wilkins (100m), Gabriel Foley (800m) Tom Simpson (1500m), Luke Okosieme (High Jump), Ololade Fakoya (Shot Put), Matthew Walker (Javelin).  James, Luke, Ololade and Nathaniel St Louis-Mason won the 4x100m relay.

The total raised within the school for charity has now topped the £25K mark for this year, making it one of our most successful years ever. The Leathersellers’ Charities Committee have contributed significantly to the total through their match-funding arrangement.

There have been many outstanding individual achievements from across the school community this year and fittingly in the last few weeks these now include:

  • Horse Rider Jasmine Shaw (Year 6) won 1st prize in the Dressage Intro B competition at Chelsfield Equestrian Centre on her pony Joey.
  • Luca Thurlow in Year 6 who won the Year 7 Runner of the Year Award for his outstanding performances this year.  Luca qualified for the World BMX Championships for a third time running this year although he unfortunately broke his leg whilst training in Columbia.  We all wish him a speedy recovery.
  • Barnaby Marchant (Year 8) won a Bronze Medal in sailing at the London Youth Games - RS Feva Class - represented the London Borough of Bromley and Colfe’s.
  • Year 5 swimmers, Zachary Kirkman and Jacob Walker who were selected to swim in the London Mini Games held at Crystal Palace representing the boroughs of Lewisham and Greenwich respectively.
  • Anna Hadingham (Year 7) has been selected to represent London at the British Triathlon Inter-Regional Championships in Glasgow at the beginning of September. Sophia Kirkman (Year 7) was selected as the reserve. The fact that two of our pupils have been selected is particularly impressive because only three children are selected in each age group from across the whole of London.
  • Louise Wright (Year 12) who opened the 100 year memorial ceremony (representing the next generation) at the Somme battlefields. Louise took part in the service at the Lochnagar Crater where her great-great-grandfather died at the age of 25 on the 1st July 1916.
  • Dan Kelly and Arthur Drury (Year 9) who were invited to the Royal Institute of Mathematics for a day of lectures after strong performance in the national Maths Challenge. Dan and Arthur came second in the Institute lunchtime competition out of around 100 teams from schools across the country - both were awarded prizes of Maths books.
  • Evan Olding (Year 6) filmed in Camber Sands for the Discovery Science TV series called ‘What is Earth’.  Evan played a child in the USA who was swallowed by sand.



Headmaster's Newsletter 3.6.16
Friday, June 3, 2016

The public examination season is now well under way and pupils in Year 11 and above seem to be taking things in their stride. Upper 6th students have enjoyed their last official day in school today, indulging in a traditional regression to childhood which will involve, amongst other things, an ice cream van, a tug-of-war and a bouncy castle. These pupils have been a delight to teach throughout their time in the Sixth Form and they all have a lot to look forward to, in some cases after 15 years at Colfe’s. As previously reported, we have every confidence they will progress to highly competitive courses at the best universities. The outcome of the tug-of-war (pupils against staff) will be reported in a future newsletter. 

After half-term all year groups in the Senior School will be engaged in exams. This is an important milestone in the school year and I hope that all pupils in Year 10 and below will find time to do some serious revision over the half term break. The “little and often” principle is by far the most effective method, supported by a healthy diet and regular exercise. 

Highlights of the second half of term will include the Fine Art and Graphics Exhibition which takes place in the Art department from 3.45 until 7.00 on 9 June. Outstanding creative pieces produced by pupils in Year 11 and above will be on show, with sixth form students on hand to talk and answer questions about their work. All are invited. 

Last week’s junior school Open Morning was hugely popular with over 150 prospective parents attending.  Places for September are now at capacity and registrations for future years are reaching us in record numbers. My thanks, as ever, to Mrs Redman and Mrs Marsh for welcoming so many visitors to the school. Prep school tour guides were as impressive as ever. 

The Summer Platform Concert last week was an opportunity to say farewell to many of our U6th musicians who will be leaving Colfe’s at the end of this term. It was a highly successful occasion with a wonderful range of music, expertly directed by Mrs Bond and her colleagues. This was followed by an equally well-received tea-time concert in the prep school yesterday afternoon. Thanks to Mrs Watts who organized our younger pupils and guided them through a much appreciated programme of items. 

Year 7 and 8 mathematicians have accumulated nearly 60 certificates in the national Junior Maths Challenge organised by the UK Mathematical Trust.  Well done especially to Gold Certificate winner Lukas Jacobs in Year 7 whose score was sufficiently high to qualify for the prestigious (and accordingly difficult) Junior Kangaroo paper which takes place on 14th June. 

Other events throughout the school have included study trips for Year 6 who visited Christ Church in Erith and Year 5 who went to Epping Forest as part of their studies in RS and Geography. Year 1 took a trip to the Enchanted Forest at Groombridge Place near Tunbridge Wells continuing their scientific study of plants and trees.  Reception pupils had (among many highlights) a talk on the historical timeline of teddy bears during a visit to the V&A Museum of Childhood, an early introduction to the concept of history whilst Pre-Prep and Nursery pupils enjoyed an assembly on healthy eating organised by our Catering Manager, Graham Renfrew. Nursery pupils were entertained by ‘Safari Pete’ accompanied by various animals including meerkats and a baby crocodile with an appetite for mice. 

Nine pupils in Years 7 and 8 took part in the London CWIZZ book quiz against schools from across South London.  This is the third time Colfe’s has taken part in this event in which pupils test their knowledge and meet local authors. Congratulations to all pupils who won prizes including a visit to the school from the author and comedian Mo O’Hara. 

Colfe’s athletes performed very well in the London round of the English Schools Athletics Championships.  Year 10 pupils excelled, with Tom Simpson winning the 1500m, Gabriel Foley the 800m and Ololade Fakoya who won the shot put.

Boys’ and girls’ cricket teams have started the season with conspicuous success.  In girls cricket we have hosted two successful Cricket Festivals, both of which we won.  In Year 8 our U12 Gold team defeated Bromley High (by 22 runs) and Blackheath High (by 35 runs) and our U13As were victorious at the expense of Chislehurst School for Girls, Blackheath High and Bexley Academy.  Every Year 7 boy took part in a block fixture against St Dunstan’s and today they are all out in force again – this time against Alleyn’s. As ever, the 1st X1 players have had to combine cricket with public examinations but the team is performing well with an emphatic victory over St Dunstan’s on Wednesday. Meanwhile U13 A and B teams defeated City of London in the quarter final of the London Schools’ Cup and the U15 As defeated Kings Canterbury. Lower down the school, the U9s won two matches against Blackheath Prep and our Year 3 C team triumphed over Bickley Park. 

In swimming, Colfe’s hosted our last Year 5 and 6 Gala of the term against Merton Court and Coopers Lane.  Our Gold team finished in first place with outstanding performances from all those taking part, a fitting end to highly successful season of prep school swimming. 

Luca Thurlow (Year 6) is currently in Columbia for the Word BMX finals – we all wish him the best of luck. 

Other individual achievements include:

  • Rose Turpin (Year 12) who achieved the top mark of Distinction in her Advanced 1 Tap, Intermediate Modern and Grade 7 Ballet Dance Exams and Grade 8 LAMDA solo musical theatre exams where she achieved an outstanding 95/100 for singing and 94/100 for Acting.  These give her UCAS points and are the equivalent of 2 A* at A level.
  • Georga Halloumas (Year 10) who won gold at the London Judo Open. This means Georga is currently ranked 4th in the UK.  This is the first year that Georga has competed in the cadet category which includes girls born between 1999 and 2001.
  • Lucy Still (Year 12) who has been invited to be on the Youth Forum at the National Portrait Gallery. The Forum works to engage young people in Art.
  • Horse Show Jumper, Luke Wilkes (Year 13) who has qualified for the prestigious Hickstead Horse Show in July.
  • Gymnast Sophia Clark (Year 10) who successfully competed in the Zone Grades Tournament in Canterbury and qualified to National Level in the junior category.  Sophia will be competing at the National Final Grades in Birmingham and the International Rhythmic London Spring Cup 2016 in June
  • Teachers Naomi Herbert and Jill Li Sue are taking part in a parachute Jump in Headcorn to raise money for the Charity Edith Cavell during half-term. 

Best wishes to all and particularly to Mrs Sarah Marsh who is leaving Colfe’s today after three highly successful years as Head of the Prep School. The popularity of the school and the many achievements of her pupils, many of which are celebrated in these newsletters throughout the year, derive from her untiring commitment to the Prep School and we wish her well for the future.

Bryden Commons (OC 2009) to run 10km dressed as a superhero!
Thursday, April 28, 2016

I left Colfes in 2009, and sometimes see OC emails or faceposts about charity event OCs are doing. Wondered if you'd consider popping one up for me (fine if not!)I'm running the SuperHero 10k in Regents Park in May to raise money for BeyondAutism. I worked for them for 20 months and it's an amazing school, changing lives of autisitic children across London. 

Earlier this year they launched a fundraising campaign at Downing St to fund a new school building. This 10k will add to the rainy day fund which buys vital teaching resources and other things the pupils need.

To see the video they launched at No 10 Downing Street, click here.

My fundraising page is here


Bryden Commons

Headmaster's Newsletter 22.4.16
Monday, April 25, 2016

Leading Irish Historian, Professor Paul Bew, came to Colfe’s on Wednesday to address the John Glyn Society. His purpose was to place the 1916 Dublin Easter Rising in perspective in this, its centenary year, and to identify some of the more important aspects of its legacy. Having opened with the claim that the rebellion was not in fact necessary, arguing that Ireland in the early 20th century was on a continuum towards independence regardless, he went on to cover a remarkable historical landscape, presenting a vivid picture of modern Irish history to an audience for whom this was largely uncharted territory. Having recently retired from his chair in Irish Politics at Queen’s University Belfast, Lord Bew currently combines his academic work with chairmanship of the Committee for Standards in Public Life as a cross bench peer in the House of Lords.

The previous week the standard of evidence presented by Old Colfeian Oliver Robbins to the House of Commons Select Committee was found wanting by Chairman Keith Vaz who “excused” him after he had failed to answer a direct question nine times in succession: Oliver attended Colfe’s in the 1990s. Senior colleagues report that his explanations for missing homework were of an exceptional quality.

Colfe’s debating sustained its recent upward trajectory last Sunday with a highly successful inaugural Colfe’s competition which attracted 40 entries from schools across the South East – both independent and state.  The Colfe’s competition is one of only three such events nationwide, the other two being hosted by Dulwich and Eton. Lower Sixth debaters had previously travelled to an international debating competition in Bratislava over the Easter holidays. David Battersby, Maria Mobio and Natasha Dixon all performed extremely well and won four of six high-level debates which placed them tenth out of the 36 countries taking part. I am grateful to Mr Dunsmore who has so successfully driven the resurgence of senior school debating in recent years.

Other successful Easter trips included a geography field trip to Iceland and two ski trips. 60 staff and pupils in the senior school went to Les Menuires in the Three Valleys and a Prep party of 46 went to Serre Chevalier in south-eastern France, the largest prep skiing trip in recent memory. More recently, Year 5 pupils have visited the Science Museum. Highlights included a talk from an astronaut. Year 5 have also been busy preparing for their first residential outdoor pursuits trip next week the Kingswood Outdoor Education facility in Ashford.  Meanwhile senior school cadets are leaving today (Friday) for their CST training at Folkestone. This will prepare them to lead the next generation of cadets which will be recruited from year 8 later this term.

The prospect of public examinations is of course the key priority in the senior school in the Summer Term and pupils in the top three year groups are working with focus and purpose, employing the strategies and study techniques which we have developed in conjunction with the Tougher Minds consultancy which is now also engaged in a new pilot programme with Year 7 pupils. As ever, places at the top courses in the top universities will require top grades and I am delighted that our U6th pupils have set their sights at a suitably high level, with six Colfeians now holding conditional offers to read Medicine and three with offers from Oxford and Cambridge. The application process for the L6th year group will soon commence. Extended essays (EPQ) produced by the U6th have included studies on gender inequality in comedies, the Spanish economy and Brexit.  

The semi-finals of the Prep School poetry competition are now under way, managed and directed by Mrs Tullis.  Every pupil took part through learning and performing a poem of their choice and the four finalists will perform in front of the whole school next week.  This has been a fantastic initiative which has fostered important learning skills and confidence in public performance.  

Prep School pupils (Lynx House) are also raising money this term for the British Heart Foundation. They will be pleased to hear that the Leathersellers’ Company has committed to matching whatever funds they raise, as is the case with other school charitable activity, thus doubling our contributions to a range of deserving causes.  We are now embarking on a senior school initiative to raise money for Scope, a charity for the disabled which is led by David Brinson, Old Colfeian, who addressed the whole senior school in assembly last Monday. 

In sport, our PE and games coaching staff spent the staff training day prior to the start of this term with Olympic decathlon champion Dean Macey. External input of such calibre is of immense benefit to teachers and ultimately reflected in the performance of our pupils who have made a good start to the term. In particular, Colfe’s tennis players (boys and girls) in Years 7 and 8 had a good start to the Kent Schools tournament beating Bexley Grammar School in the first round. Year 9 and 10 girls narrowly missed out on a win, losing on a tie break, and our outstanding U18 netballers eventually ran out of steam against Cheadle Hulme in the quarter finals of the National Plate competition. For the U6th players in this team, this marks the conclusion of their netball careers at Colfe’s, in some cases spanning more than a decade. All these girls have been outstanding role models throughout their time with us and their legacy will doubtless be reflected in future trophies to be won by succeeding generations.

Colfeians of all ages (pupils and teachers alike) took part in the Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice Mini Marathon at the weekend. The field included Pre-Prep and Nursery pupils who deserve special mention. Luca Thurlow (Year 6) was placed 8th in the London Schools cross country competition and therefore qualified for the National Schools Championships. Meanwhile Prep School swimmers took part in the annual Individual Gala, with pupils in Years 3 to 6 competing against each other in 25m events in Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Butterfly.  A total of 100 pupils were involved in this competition which may be a record in itself. Noteworthy performances were recorded by Noemie Klanga, Leo Walker, Jack Murphy and Emily Deveney who were our Year 3 and 4 Individual Gala winners. Winners in the Year 5 and Year 6 competitions were Roshanak Li-Sue Foulds, Jacob Walker, Alexios Philalithis and Daisy Porter.

We also took three pupils to the London Schools Swimming Championships for the first time in four years. Ben Jarman, Panos Philalithis and Denny Ashison all qualified for the 50m Butterfly and Denny also qualified for 50m Breaststroke.  Both Panos and Denny improved on their personal best times and Ben finished within seconds of his. Meanwhile Mrs Pearson, Year 5 teacher and Head of Girls’ PE and Games in the Prep School, is now a British swimming triple gold medallist (backstroke) as a result of her outstanding performance in the British Masters in Sheffield. We wish her well for the European Championships in May.

Other individual achievements so far this term include:

  • Ela Ertan (Year 12) achieved a distinction in Grade 8, solo acting for LAMDA.
  • Music scholar Ruby Collins (Year 12) joined world renowned conductor Dominic Wheeler to play bassoon and contra-bassoon for a sell-out performance of the Opera Oberon by Weber at the Barbican.
  • Nicholas Orde (Year 11) successfully sat the European-wide Kangaroo Maths challenge only just missing out on getting into the top 25%.
  • Arthur Drury (Year 9) impressively achieved a Merit in the national Cayley Mathematics Olympiad. He achieved full marks on two of the questions from the six set.
  • Former Colfeian, Elliot Roofe (studying History at Exeter University) played for the Exeter Braves (the Exeter Chiefs reserve squad) against Wasps in Rugby Union last Monday – beating them by an impressive 47-0.  Exeter Chiefs are currently 3rd in the Aviva Premiership League.
  • Biology teacher, Dr Jonathan Lappin is running the Hackney Half Marathon on the 8th May and the Copenhagen Marathon on the 22nd – an impressive 39.3 miles in total. 



Headmaster's Newsletter 18.3.16
Monday, April 4, 2016

A term of hectic but productive activity reached a musical crescendo in the senior school last week with the Spring Concert and Oliver, the latter playing to full houses four days running. Oliver Guindi’s portrayal of Fagin was particularly memorable and the numerous cast included pupils from every age group in the senior school. More music followed this week with the Year 5 concert, an extravaganza of music and dance which reflected so well upon the prep school. Meanwhile Nursery and Reception classes donned beautifully decorated Easter Bonnets to perform in their Easter Assembly to an appreciative audience of parents and special guests. Our Prep and PPN choirs did very well in the recent Bromley Festival of Music and Speech, with the prep choir winning an honours certificate with 84 marks, just two marks below the competition winners. The pre-prep competition was equally closely fought, with the PPN choir (Year 2 and below) missing out on the winning position by just one point. Thanks to all my colleagues who played such a central part in all these performances and productions, including Ruth Hall and Sue Watts (pre-prep and prep,) and Richard Gregg and Emma Bond (senior school.)
On Wednesday evening I was delighted to meet many of the parents of pupils who are due to join the Nursery and Reception classes for the first time. Later that evening, I met up with the prefects at their annual dinner in the Royal Blackheath Golf Club, on which more below. The two events complemented each other well, with one focussed on those about to join us and the other on those who will be leaving at the end of this academic year, in many cases after 15 years at Colfe’s.
Royal Blackheath prides itself on being the oldest golf club in the world and I am delighted to report that Colfe’s will be more closely associated with the club in the near future. We anticipate adding golf lessons to the range of prep-school clubs next autumn. As we get closer to the summer, senior school pupils (boys and girls) may wish to consider the Club’s Introduction to Golf scheme. Please go to for further details.  
This may also be of interest to adults (there are two schemes) and the club would be delighted to hear from pupils or parents.

Year 9 pupils return today from Bushcraft in the woods of Hertfordshire and forthcoming Easter holiday events include a senior school ski trip in the French Alps for 60 pupils. Debaters will participate in an international competition in Bratislava which will entail four days of high-level debate on a range of international issues. Closer to home, the Colfe’s Debating Competition on the 17th April has now attracted entries from more than 40 teams. This is one of only three such school-based competitions nationwide (the others are held at Eton and Dulwich) and I am extremely grateful to Mr Dunsmore for his ongoing support for this most important activity.

Engineers in Years 7-9 launched twelve rocket cars this week (each pupil designing and building their own car) to see whose could reach 25 metres in the fastest time.  This competition was part of the national Bloodhound project which aims to use a 1000mph world land speed record attempt to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians. It was a pleasure to welcome one of the project’s ambassadors Tony Barber who came to speak to the pupils about the project.

Elsewhere in the school our PHSEE programme continued with a lecture for both our senior and junior school parents on various forms of addictive technology. This is also a central aspect of the Tougher Minds programme in the senior school and follows on from a high profile visit from the Irish boy band ‘Taken’ earlier in the term who, as well as singing some of their most recent hits, spoke eloquently and directly on the subject of cyber bullying.  Finally well done to all our budding journalists who again took part in the BBC Schools report this week.

One of many recent sporting highlights has been the success of our U11 netballers who put in a strong performance at the IAPS National Finals against 40 of the top Independent schools in the UK, winning three of their nine matches and finishing 6th in their group.  This is the third time in recent years that Colfe’s has reached the National Finals of this prestigious competition. The 1st XI football team finished the season on a high with victory over Sevenoaks. The 2nd X1 were also successful and the U14s ended with a thrilling 3-3 draw. The U15 rugby Sevens team lost narrowly to Chislehurst and Sidcup in the final of the Dartford Competition and no fewer than thirty-six of our players (U13, U16 and Seniors) took part in the National School Sevens tournament at Rosslyn Park, the largest school rugby tournament in the world. All teams did well with the highlight being the senior V11’s emphatic victory over Eltham College 31-19.
Best of luck also to Mr Bene Medhurst who leaves us at the end of this term to take up a senior role elsewhere after three action-packed and highly successful years at Colfe’s. Mr Medhurst has been a mainstay of school sport in both prep and senior schools. He leaves with our thanks and best wishes.

Individual achievements this term include:

  • Freya Williams (year 6) who took part in the London Regional Floor and Vault Gymnastics Championships – against 30 contestants in her Bronze group. Freya ‘Pinned’ (moved up a level) came first in the group and got a trophy for the highest floor score.
  • Louis Richardson (Year 5) won Grade 5 Guitar class at the Bromley Music Festival and won the Rutter Cup for the third year running for the highest mark (93) awarded in the class.  He also won the Grade 6/7 Bass class winning a trophy for the highest mark achieved in strings.
  • Showjumper, Georgia Noone (Year 11) who is taking part in the Summer Show Season – the first competition takes place at Norton Heath Equestrian Centre in Essex on Saturday.  As well as her own horse, Georgia has been asked to ride another owner’s horse (a great honour) - riding in two classes on each horse.
  • Old Colfeian David Brinson’s debut novel, Dead South, has reached the Top 10 Best Selling Horror Books just behind Stephen King and Max Brooks and is now sold in nine countries around the world including the USA and Australia.
  • Max Dunmore who graduated from Colfe’s Sixth Form in 2012 has launched this week an International line of Health Food Bars



Headmaster's News 9.3.16
Wednesday, March 9, 2016

As the season for university applications draws to a close we are once again delighted by the range and quality of offers extended to our U6th pupils. No fewer than five have secured offers to read Medicine and the proportion of pupils destined for Russell Group universities, Oxford and Cambridge included, looks set to be higher than ever. The fact that so many of our top applicants are simultaneously engaged in so many other aspects of school life not only enhances the strength of their applications but also confirms our commitment to educational breadth and underscores the importance of engagement in the wider life at the school.  Each of our medical applicants, for example, had plenty to say at the all-important interview which is as much about spotting personal resilience as it is about Chemistry or Biology.

On a related point, I was extremely grateful to those of you who supported the Careers and Higher Education Convention just before half-term and more grateful still to Mrs Cardnell for co-ordinating the event. It was without doubt one of the most successful that we have held with over 300 people in attendance including students from local partner schools who were invited for the first time this year.  L6th pupils are now beginning to plan work experience for the summer break. As ever, we would be delighted to hear from parents who can offer placements in the main professional areas. Please email Mrs Cardnell direct on

A total of 50 Colfe’s pupils have won certificates in this term’s UK Intermediate Maths Challenge with four qualifying for the next regional stage of the competition. Well done to all of those who took part and special mentions for the top Gold certificate winners – Nicholas Orde, Lydia Fearn, Lemuel Wray and Kiera Vinall (Year 11) and Arthur Drury, Daniel Kelly and Elliott Swain (Year 9).  Arthur qualified to enter the next round known as the Cayley Olympiad putting him in the top 500 mathematicians in the country for his age group and Nicholas, Daniel and Elliott qualified for the Europe wide Kangaroo stage taken by pupils from over 30 countries worldwide.   Arthur also joined three other talented mathematicians, Charlotte Kirk (Year 9), and Panos Philalithis and Joe Byard-Golds (both Year 8) to represent Colfe’s at the regional finals of the UKMT (United Kingdom Mathematical Trust) Team Maths Challenge, where they came in seventh place out of thirty top schools in London including St Paul's and City of London. 

Irish guitarist, Manus Noble and Australian cellist, Jehanne Bastoni performed for our John Glyn Scholars Society last week, having previously led master classes for Colfe’s pupils earlier in the afternoon. The programme included classical and contemporary pieces, with a particular focus on the versatility of the guitar as an instrument. Other recent musical highlights have included an interactive experience with a symphony orchestra during a Year 2 visit to the LSO at the Barbican and future events include the Senior School production of Oliver (tickets available from this week and the Spring Concert.

The myths of the ancient Greeks played a central part in the Year 3 celebration of National Book Week whilst older prep pupils spent the day in literary costume. Meanwhile more than 30 senior school pupils in Years 7 to 9 participated successfully with other schools in a collective attempt to set a new Guinness world record for simultaneous participation in a book quiz. 

Year 8 returned on Friday from a successful week in North Wales as part of our Outdoor Education programme. Resilience was in higher demand than usual when the weather turned to snow in the second half of the week. Year 9 will be hoping for more clement conditions when they head for the woods of Oxfordshire for Bushcraft in the final week of term. More conventional recent school visits have included the Science Museum (Year 3) and the Natural History Museum (Year 4).

Netball has been our area of most conspicuous success in recent weeks with the senior team defeating Eastbourne College and winning a place in the semi-finals of the national tournament. The same team won the Eltham College tournament for the third year in a row, defeating JAGS, Eltham and Alleyn’s en route to lifting the trophy. Their junior (Year 6) counterparts have now progressed to the final stage of the IAPS national competition which takes place in Brighton this weekend. My thanks, as ever, to Mrs Rayes, Mrs Pearson and Miss Holder for all that they continue to do to maintain our fantastic national netball profile. Meanwhile eight of our Prep swimmers in Years 5 and 6 performed commendably at the Kent Primary Schools competition in Medway Park last Sunday.  Congratulations to Alexios Philalithis, Joe Glover, Matthew Maifredi, Zach Kirkman, Roshanak Li-Sue Foulds, Daisy Porter, Tilly Manuel and Olivia McAuliffe.  Joe and Matthew were awarded medals for their performances in breaststroke and backstroke respectively.

Other individual achievements include:

  • David Battersby (Year 12) who spoke as a delegate to the Green Party Spring conference in Harrogate.
  • Music Scholar Ruby Collins (Year 12) who played both contra bassoon and bassoon with the LSSO at a sell-out concert (2,500 capacity) at the Royal Festival Hall in a musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Minpins.  The production was organised by Roald Dahl’s Widow and narrated by TV star Richard Ayoade (the IT Crowd).
  • Ethan Pippard (Year 4) who won a competition to meet with some of the England Rugby players after their victory over Ireland in the Six Nations at Twickenham.  Ethan took part in a Q&A session with the players, collected autographs and was chauffeur-driven home (with family and friends) in a brand new BMW X5.
  • Phillippa Keogh (Colfe’s Office Manager) is performing in Haydn’s Creation at Blackheath Halls on the 20th March. 



Head's Newsletter 17.12.15
Thursday, December 17, 2015

The hectic activity of recent weeks is now drawing to a close and pupils of all ages are to be congratulated on a most successful Autumn Term. We began the academic year on a successful note, with a record percentage of A* grades at A Level and the opening of the Stewart Building in the senior school. Since September, we have witnessed success across the age range, not least in rugby and netball in which no fewer than 18 Colfe’s pupils have played at County level or above.

UCAS offers continue to flood in and we wish our U6th pupils well with their applications for the most competitive courses. Despite the current disgruntlement within the medical profession about matters contractual, a total of eight pupils have applied for Medicine this year, which makes it the most popular choice of course. I was delighted to see a number of last year’s leavers in school recently, talking positively about the choices they had made and their (mainly positive) experiences of the first term at university.

I am grateful to Mrs Hall in the Pre-prep and Nursery who directed a marathon of Christmas productions over two days last week. It was great to see so many proud parents and grandparents in attendance and a full photographic record of each performance will be circulated by a secure link in the near future. This means, incidentally, that it is not necessary for parents to make their own recordings of the events, which we would prefer you not to do. Mrs Higgs directed the equally successful Prep School production of Three Little Pigs which played to a capacity crowd in the senior school hall.

The annual Carol Service in St Mary’s Lewisham featured choirs from all three sections of the school and incorporated the official inauguration of Father Steve Hall as the Colfe’s School Chaplain. This is particularly appropriate, given that Steve is Abraham Colfe’s successor, albeit somewhat distantly, as Vicar of St Mary’s. 

Further evidence of our strength in competitive mathematics came recently in the form of an emphatic victory over St Dunstan’s College in the Hans Woyda competition. This followed our previous success against Alleyn’s and sees us through to the knock-out phase of the competition. Meanwhile David Battersby and Tom Jenkins (both L6th) made it through to the next round of the English Speaking Union Mace competition in debating.

It has been a busy term for PAFA, culminating in the annual Christmas Fayre last Friday attended by pupils from the Prep, Pre-Prep and Nursery. Many thanks to PAFA Chair, Helen West, and her colleagues for all that they continue to do to support the school. The event raised £2,240, which will be split between Save the Children and Demelza House.  In the senior school, staff and pupils have raised an impressive £8,500 for charity so far this term which does not include the many House led charitable collections which included a contingent of pupils from Beardwood House travelling to St Martin-in-the-Fields to give essential items to The Connection, a charity which they have supported for the last four years.

Recent individual pupil achievements include the following:

  • Ruby Collins (Year 12) who has been selected as first bassoon in the 2016 LSSO (London Schools Symphony Orchestra). Ruby is one of the youngest ever to be chosen to play principal at the Barbican
  • Louis Richardson (Year 5) has been given a place in the National Children’s Orchestra and will therefore attend their residential course in the summer.
  • 14 year old Georga Halloumas (Year 10) competed in the U17 British Judo Championships in Sheffield - the only first year girl (born 2001) in her category to win a fight. Georga ended the highest ranked for her year.
  • Denny Ashison (Year 7) has recorded national times for swimming in the U12 and U13 freestyle events at the National Arena Swimming League Gala at Crook Log in Bexley.
  • Henry Harris (Year 12) achieved his 1st Degree black belt in Taekwon-do which he’s been learning for over 5 years at Colfe’s. Congratulations to Nikolas Charalambous (Year 10) Emanuele Spaczil (Year 10) Jago Spiers (Year 8) and Etienne McElfresh (Year 9)who also passed their gradings.

The end of term sees the departure of Mrs Olivia Hamidzadeh from the Maths department after seven and a half years, most recently as assistant head of department. Her mastery of A level Further Mathematics has made her a particular tower of strength within the department and we wish her well in her new role at Wilson’s Grammar School. Mrs Alison Cobbin, pastoral deputy head, also leaves at the end of this term to take over as the Executive Head of the Dwight School in North London. Her promotion is richly deserved but we will miss her greatly. During her six years at Colfe’s Mrs Cobbin has done a huge amount to develop our pastoral care, notably through the introduction of vertical tutoring in the senior school which has served to strengthen the house system and promote vertical integration of year groups in the senior school. Mrs Donna Graham, currently senior mistress at Forest School, will take over as deputy head in September. For the next two terms I will be working closely with Mrs Susan O’Leary, Mrs Jane German and Heads of House to guarantee the quality of our pastoral care in the senior school.

My best wishes for Christmas and New Year to all of our pupils and their families. I look forward to seeing pupils back in school on Thursday, 7th January.

Headmaster's newsletter 13.11.15
Monday, November 16, 2015

The weeks following half term have been hugely busy across the school with highly successful open days in all parts of the school and record numbers of registrations, including more than 100 external pupils entered for the Sixth Form Scholarship exam tomorrow morning. The most consistent feature of all these occasions has been the outstanding contribution that pupils of all ages have made, acting as tour guides and helping with departmental and classroom displays.
Over 200 Colfeians joined our CCF Squadron last Sunday for the Remembrance Day service at the Horn Park War Memorial.  All those in attendance, including our youngest Colfeians, did justice to the dignity of the occasion which was led by the CCF Honour Guard. Wreaths were laid by representatives of the different parts of the school, the CCF squadron itself and, on behalf of the Old Colfeians, by Gregory Jones QC, erstwhile Head Boy and current President of the Old Colfeians. We are grateful to the Reverend Tony Collier who came out of retirement to lead the service.
On a related theme our cadets also had the opportunity to visit and honour the graves of the many Old Colfeians who gave their lives in service during the first and second world wars during a CCF trip to the Battlefields in France over half-term.  This was a special opportunity for our cadets to learn more about both wars from an ex-army tour guide.  Half-term also included a visit to Madrid – specifically the Sierra de Gredos - for our linguists and the 12th expedition to the Kotu School in the Gambia, with the pupils and staff this year building the second storey to the classroom block and developing the cultural and educational focus of the exchange through more active engagement with the community. Half Term sporting activity included a highly successful U14 rugby tour to Belfast with fixtures against some of the stronger provincial grammar schools. The boys in the year above (U15s) exited from the Kent Cup a week later, losing narrowly to Tonbridge in the quarter finals.
Cross-country runners performed particularly well in the first round of the Greenwich and Lewisham Cross Country League. This was the first of three meetings which we hosted.   With over 100 runners taking part across the two boroughs from Years 7-9, our Year 7 and 8 girls did well – coming third overall in the team event. Anna Hadingham and Freya Burton-Franklin were placed 4th and 5th respectively out of 26 competitors.   Other noteworthy performances included that of Amy Parton (2nd in the Year 9 girls’ race) and Louis Klanga (11th in the Year 9 boys’).   The Year 7 and 8 boys put in a superb performance coming 2nd overall with Year 6 pupil Luca Thurlow playing an important part in the team effort, coming 4th in the race and running faster than all the other Year 7 competitors. We look forward to the block rugby fixture against Eltham College tomorrow morning, having already secured a 4-0 victory in the corresponding 1st X1 hockey match yesterday.
Prep school netballers have had a busy first week back at school with the Year 3s taking part in their first ever competitive match for the school beating Breaside 3-0.  U10A and U11A teams showed great skill and sportsmanship during their fixture against Pointers at home, winning 24-2  and 15-0 respectively whilst Year 6 kept up the pressure in a block league fixture against Blackheath Prep winning 6 – 1 with the B teams winning both their matches. This means the U11A team are currently sitting top of the table having won all four of their league fixtures. 
45 pupils between Year 5 and Year 9 participated in a triangular swimming gala against Eltham College and Dulwich College last week. All schools put up A and B teams for 25 metre events and medley/freestyle relays. Although the school team narrowly lost out to Dulwich overall our Year 7 team was victorious, a really good result against strong opposition.
Meanwhile the senior Hans Woyda Maths team defeated Alleyn’s last Friday by 45 points to 31. Sixth formers Cheran Suriyaprakasam (Captain) and Emma Williams were ably supported by Nicholas Orde (Year 11) and Arthur Drury (Year 9). Their success takes them through to the next round of this prestigious competition. In English, we were delighted to welcome back children’s author Sam Hepburn who spoke to pupils in Years 7 and 8 and ran creative workshops throughout the day. Other educational highlights have included the Year 1 trip to the Tower of London and the Year 4 workshop on Indian Dance.
Last week’s senior school platform concert was possibly the best such occasion that we have seen in recent years, with the most wonderful variety of instrumental and vocal performances. Particular thanks to Mr Davies, our newest recruit to the Music department, who organized much of the programme. We now look forward to the Winter Concert on the 26th November.
Other forthcoming events include the PAFA Fireworks on the 20th November, for which tickets can be obtained from the school. PAFA Chair Helen West has asked me to thank all parents who have already volunteered to help with this event and would be delighted to receive other offers of support. Please contact her via the PAFA email:
I was delighted to hear of the successes achieved recently by the following members of the Colfe’s community:
•          Lettie Rainsford (Year 9) who was presented with a Jack Petchey Foundation Achievement award at a ceremony in the Purcell Room, South Bank Centre for her contribution to her guides group (based in Brockley).
•          Georga Halloumas (Year 10) who competed in the Southend International Judo event in a higher weight category for the first time.  14 year old Georga has begun training for the U17 cadet category for the National Championships in December.
•          Luke Ide (Year 11) competed in the Euro Max Series - Rotax International Open Karting event in Adria, Italy against 100 competitors from 25 countries. Highlights for Luke included qualifying 4th out of 41 drivers – finishing 2nd in his group.
•          Sophia Clark (Year 10) has been nominated by London Gymnastics to receive a Bronze Award for her rhythmic Gymnastics at the prestigious “Night of the Stars” ceremony in London on 28th November.  Sophia has been invited to compete in “La Lights” USA in January 2016.
•          Footballers Bea and Eloise Hembrough (Year 10 and 11 respectively) helped their team Charlton FC win a tournament in Swindon against five other clubs including Swindon Town and Plymouth Argyle.
•          Horse rider, Georgia Noone (Year 11) was chosen by her club for her high level of achievement to attend a lesson with World No 1 Show Jumper - Scott Brash MBE at his yard in Sussex.
•          Henrietta Englefield (Library Assistant) raised around £2,500 for the charity WaterAid by completing two 100km (63 mile) walks - each without stopping to sleep!
•          Lottie Davies (Year 11) has attended her first training and workshop weekend in Lewes in preparation for the One World Stage cross-cultural arts event (to take place next year) for young people from the UK and Ghana.
•          Old Colfeian Daniella Briscoe-Peaple, in her third year reading Classics at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, is now holding the prestigious position of Senior Production Editor for Varsity.  In addition, Daniella is teaching Latin at Mayfield – a local primary school.

In conclusion, I would be grateful if parents of senior school pupils could remember that we do not supervise children in school after 6.00 pm (Monday to Thursday) and 4.30 pm on Friday, with the obvious exception of those who are in detention. The closure of the school library coincides with these times by which all children should have left the premises. I would be particularly grateful if parents who collect their children from school could take note of these timings.

Remembrance Day 2015

Head's newsletter 2.10.15
Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The official opening of the new Stewart Building two weeks ago was a wonderful success, with many distinguished visitors returning to the school including our official Visitor, Prince Michael of Kent. Prince Michael was much impressed with all that he saw, including our Formula E racing car. As a Grand Prix enthusiast, he was especially pleased to hear of our victory in the Schools’ Series last summer.

The prize giving ceremony which followed was, as ever, an opportunity to celebrate the many achievements of our pupils last year. The final prize of the evening, however, was awarded by Prince Michael not to a pupil but to our outgoing Chairman of Governors, Ian Russell. Ian has been a constant source of support to me and my colleagues throughout his nine years in the chair. His lasting legacy includes a closer relationship with the Leathersellers' Company than we have had for many decades. The Leathersellers' generosity is most obviously reflected in their recent donation of £1 million to our bursary fund. Other forms of support are not so easily quantified, but they are many and various. I am delighted that Ian will remain on the board as a governor, having handed the Chairman's baton to Matthew Pellereau, a Past Master of the Company.  

The Stewart Building was also a central focus of last Saturday's Open Day. The Sixth Form facilities in particular put us well ahead of our competitors in the independent sector. Record numbers came to the school in glorious sunshine and interest in entry to Colfe's at all levels is at a higher level than ever.

Year 7 pupils who joined the senior school just a month ago are already in the Lake District for Outdoor Pursuits, also enjoying the Indian summer. Even the arrival of the Headmaster, exceptionally, failed to bring the rain on this occasion and I was delighted to see how successfully all our new pupils have settled in. I am particularly grateful to Chris Cherry and his team for sending regular bulletins, complete with photos, to Year 7 parents. Prior to departing for the Lake District, Chris Cherry led the Year 4 trip to Grangewaters in Thurrock, reflecting the importance of Outdoor Education throughout the age range. 

U6th students are already well-advanced in their UCAS applications, with many able to quote valuable work experience completed during the summer. I am extremely grateful to all the Colfe's parents who offered such valuable opportunities and hope that you will continue to work with us in this important area next year and beyond. Medicine looks set to be our most popular choice of degree course this year and we were accordingly delighted to welcome Professor Susan Standring back to Colfe's on Tuesday evening to address the John Glyn scholars’ society. Since retiring from her chair in the medical faculty at King's College London, Professor Standring has chaired the editorial committee charged with updating Gray's Anatomy, the 41st edition of which was published less than a week ago. The subject of her lecture was the History of Anatomy, starting with Hippocrates and finishing with keyhole surgery via Aristotle, Galen and many subsequent anatomists.  

Pupils in the Pre-prep and Nursery have specialised in Geography recently, immersing themselves in a subject which has become one our most popular and successful in the senior school: 68% of A level entries in Geography this year were graded A* or A. Meanwhile Sixth Form students of Art and Graphics spent a weekend in Margate at the start of their A level courses to gain inspiration from a landscape most famously associated with Joseph Turner. 

Last week's House Drama competition in the senior school was a particularly good advertisement for the house system, with 6th Form pupils directing their younger counterparts. Upwards of 100 pupils were involved in one way or another. The victorious production, Bramley House's version of Cinderella, was clever and entertaining in equal measure. Shortly afterwards, however, the House Maths Challenge was won by Norton House.

The equally competitive Modern Languages department celebrated the European Day of Languages with a Senior/Prep School languages competition: congratulations to Aquila/Prendergast and special mention to Edward Honeyman, Alexios Philalithis and Sahil Chitre (all Year 6) who won individual prizes.   

The serious matter of "legal" highs was the subject of a presentation to senior school parents last week, jointly organised by PAFA and the Personal and Social Education department in the senior school. It was good to see the event so well attended, given the growing challenge presented by this new generation of recreational drugs which seems to be forever a step ahead of the relevant legislation.  

On the sports field our Year 7 rugby players did very well in their first game this season – a block fixture against Brentwood with convincing wins for the U12 A and B teams. Not to be out-done, the Prep School U10 team won their annual fixture with St Christopher's in a tightly fought game. The eventual score was 15-10 in our favour with excellent tries scored by Louis Manning and Luca Droghieri.

Netballers have also started the season well with U9’s (Year 4) playing well against Farringtons and securing a 9-2 victory. Every girl in Year 7 was out on the netball court last weekend playing their first competitive game for the school with our Gold squad beating Blackheath High A team 9-1 and our Navy Squad winning 3-1, whilst in hockey our U13 girls reached the semi-finals of the Sevenoaks Tournament. Prep School swimmers won their first gala of the season, victorious over five other schools, including Blackheath Prep and Merton Court.

Congratulations, in conclusion, to all the Colfeian athletes throughout the school who took part in the world’s largest children’s triathlon at Hever Castle last weekend.  There were some outstanding performances including Luca Thurlow (Year 6) who achieved second place - completing the event in 27.44 minutes. 

Other individual achievements over the last two weeks have included the following:

  • Music scholar Ruby Collins (Year 12) collected a national music award at the Royal Albert Hall as part of a quintet who beat 300 other UK entries to win the Music For Youth Chamber Music award - scooping a classical recording session.
  • Show Jumper Georgia Noone (Year11) has competed in the end of season national Derby Show at Chepstow against over 100 competitors, taking part in each class.
  • Luke Wilkes (Year 13) has qualified to compete at a horse riding national event at Hickstead later in the year.
  • Jacob Jarman (Year 4) designed a new survival knife (which his brother Ben, Year 7 helped him to draw).  Jacob sent it to Bear Grylls and received an acknowledgement and signed photos.
  • Old Colfeian brothers Max and Henry Dunmore have been enjoying great success as incipient entrepreneurs. Max is the face and half of the creative force behind a new protein bar, selling over 350 a week with a factory now set to commence mass-production, whilst older brother Henry is opening 9 smoothie/juice bars for Reebok Gyms!
Head's newsletter 08.07.15
Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Our victory in the inaugural School Series Formula E grand prix in Battersea Park ten days ago was a fitting climax to a year of magnificent success. Luke Ide’s victory (by a margin of 0.4 of a second), represented a collective achievement for all the boys and girls who had participated in the planning and construction process, skilfully guided by the Physics and Design technology departments. We are grateful to Mr Fishwick and Mr Zivanovic for their vision and to PAFA for their financial support. It was a good day for the independent sector in general with Highgate School occupying one of the other positions on the podium.  (Photographs of this and many other events are published here.) 

More conventional achievement was celebrated in the Prize Giving ceremonies which took place last week for the Prep school and the lower years in the Senior school (7-9). The Prep School Art Exhibition was on display for both occasions. This year the theme was historical and pupils have been working for many months to produce a wonderful accumulation of work. Thanks to Mrs Higgs for her outstanding leadership and expert guidance. Chairman of Governors, Ian Russell, presided at the Prep School ceremony with characteristic enthusiasm and support. Ian will be stepping down from the Chair after the Autumn Visitation next term and the Prize Giving was an opportunity for us to thank him for all he has done over nearly a decade as Chairman. One of many tangible benefits arising from Ian’s period of office is that our relationship with the Leathersellers’ Company is now stronger than it has ever been and it was therefore a particular pleasure to welcome Master Leatherseller Dr Anthony Watson with his wife Janie to the Lower School event the following evening. Dr Watson spoke effusively about the school’s achievements this year, singling out the success of the Tougher Minds programme which is doing so much to develop our learning culture. 

Cultural highlights of the final weeks of the term have included the Lower School musical Seussical (years 8 and 9). Our thanks and congratulations to Mr Gregg who was directing his first Colfe's production. The Prep School production of Macbeth was also a directing first, this time for Mr Heil: Year 6 pupils rose magnificently to the challenge of a highly (un)Shakespearean text and the result was truly entertaining. Thanks also to Mrs Hall and Miss Grover, along with other PPN colleagues, for their end of term production Two Left Feet. It was a particular honour to present Year 2 pupils with their certificates as they leave the Pre-prep and prepare to move up to the Prep in September.

Other wonderful events of recent weeks have included the LAMDA presentation evening in the senior school, the sports awards presentation evening at the Old Colfeians and the inaugural Year 9 Poetry Recitation Competition. The CCF Annual Parade was, as ever, the result of many hours of painstaking preparation on the part of Major Cherry and his colleagues. Lieutenant Colonel James Cleverly MP was the inspecting officer this year. His words of commendation were well received by all, including his older son Freddie who was one of a record number of Year 8 recruits this year.

This year's PAFA Ball moved to Eltham Palace, a fabulous venue which was much appreciated by the many guests. Thanks to PAFA Chair Helen West and her Deputy Tina Patel for their meticulous preparation in advance of the event. PAFA's support and generosity have been much to the fore this year and we are deeply grateful to Helen and her colleagues. The Colfeian community also turned out in force for the Old Colfeians' first family day where much fun was had by many of our future ‘Old Colfeians’.  Thank you to Development officer Russell Joyce for his organisation of the event, ably supported by the Old Colfeians' Society and their Chairman, Martin Cartwright.

Top Colfe's debaters got through to the last 12 out of 288 teams which entered this year's Debating Matters competition, sponsored by the Institute of Ideas. Congratulations to Marcus Brockman, Henry Chapman, Radhika Morally and David Battersby. Thanks also to Mr Dunsmore for that he has done this year to promote debating at Colfe's.

Congratulations also to mathematicians Arthur Drury and Dan Kelly (Year 8) who performed outstandingly well in the national Junior Maths Olympiad 2015.   Out of the top mathematicians in the country who qualified to sit the Olympiad, Arthur achieved a distinction – putting him the top 25% (those scoring 28 plus) and Dan attainted a Merit (8-27). Well done also to Pippa Britton (Year 11) who has been selected for invitation to the Summer School for Girls 2015 – held at Balliol College Oxford - following her outstanding performance in the IMC and IMOK Kangaroo papers. 

In athletics, I was delighted to present the Greenwich Schools Championship trophy to our Year 9 boys in assembly on Monday. Individuals who won their events included Tom Simpson (1500m), Luke Okosieme (High Jump and 2nd in the 200m), Nathaniel St Louis-Mason (2nd in the 100m with a new personal best of 11.4 seconds). Luke Okosieme and James Back-Wilkins (200m) will represent London in the English Schools Championships later this summer. We are particularly grateful to Mrs Tickner for her support of school athletics over the last two years.  

Our greatest success in boys' cricket this year has been with the Lower School teams, with the U12s reaching the semi-finals of the London Cup (yet to be played.) U12, U13 and U14s all defeated Eltham College in the course of the last week, with Matthew Walker scoring 114 not out, our first century of the season. Thanks, as ever, to Mr Clinton and to our most loyal and dedicated 1st X1 Captain, Christopher Hill.

The second John Glyn Society lecture this term was delivered by Old Colfeian, Dr Paul Olding, BAFTA nominated TV and Film Director, producer and writer. His talk provided a fascinating insight into the world of documentary making, amongst other things, drawing on his experience of producing programmes on Science, History and many other subjects. He devoted at least five minutes to the subject of managing Brian Cox and left us with the impression that more remained to be said. 

Recent individual achievements, amongst many, include the following:

  • Show Jumper, Georgia Noone (Year 10) who represented her riding club at the regional team qualifiers and won.  She is now through to the national junior intermediate finals in September.
  • Georga Halloumas represented Greenwich in the London Youth Games Judo tournament winning gold for the third year running and helping Greenwich girls finish second out of thirty boroughs. In the last month Georga also won bronze at the London Open - gold at the Northern Home Counties Championships and silver at the Kent International.
  • Gymnast Sophia Clark (Year 9) won 1st place (hoop routine), 2nd place (rope) and 4th place (clubs) at the London Spring Cup. She was nominated by the judging panel as Miss Kent 2015.  Sophia is in the top 3 in London for Juniors Grade 9 after the Nationals at the end of June.
  • Luca Thurlow (Year 5) won the Leeds Castle Aquathalon by 30 seconds with a final time of 7.38 minutes.
  • Kate and Arthur Drury (Years 10 and 8 respectively) performed in the Jazz and Folk bands at the Moldova Charity concert in Croydon.
  • Colfe’s Office Manager Phillippa Keogh is taking part in the Community Opera at the Blackheath Halls performing Mozart’s Idomeneo later this month.
  • Eddy Miles (Year 9) played with the Animate Orchestra in the Lewisham Gala at the Royal Festival Hall. Eddy devised ways of creating music electronically using all sorts of different media – for this, her performance involved a whiteboard covered in silver foil!
  • Music Scholar, Ruby Collins (Year 11) has reached the finals of the national Music for Youth Festival playing bassoon with a six-piece woodwind group at Birmingham’s Recital Hall.
  • Luke Ide (Year 10) took part in rounds 3 and 4 of the BNL Kart Series – this time held in Ostricourt, France.  Luke finished with the overall lead by six points.  The final two rounds take place in Belgium at the end of August.

As ever, the end of the Summer Term is marked by the departure of a number of teaching colleagues who will be moving from Colfe's at the end of the year. We are deeply grateful to the following and wish them well for the future: Mrs Brack (English), Ms le Hur (Classics), Ms Danielewicz (Physics), Miss Hargrave (Science), Miss Ackers (Biology), Mrs Tickner (Geography and athletics) and Mrs Karavidas (English). Katie Henderson, Max Collett and Charlotte Bryant will also be moving on, having contributed greatly to the success of our games programme  this year.

In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues, teaching and otherwise, for all that they have done to make this year such a success. When pupils return at the end of the summer the Stewart Building will be open and our first Leatherseller Scholars will be starting the Sixth Form.  We have much to look forward to.

Best wishes to all for the summer.

Richard F Russell



OC Claire Rafferty makes sporting history!
Thursday, June 25, 2015

Old Colfeian Claire Rafferty has helped make history as part of the first England women’s team to win a knock out game in the World Cup.

Claire who plays left-back helped the Lionesses  win the knock out stages, beating Norway 2-1 and reaching the last eight.  The tournament’s underdogs hope to make history again with a win in the quarter-finals against hosts Canada in Vancouver at the weekend. 

Speaking exclusively to Colfe’s after the match, Claire said, “It feels amazing to have made history. We gave everything as a team and felt like the journey was yet to be over. The team spirit is very strong and I think that is what is making the difference.

“As for Canada we are confident that we can beat them.  However it will be in front of a sell-out home crowd so we are expecting it to be very hostile but we are not fazed by this. We owe them one from the Olympics when they knocked us out in the quarters in front of our home crowd.” 

Check out the bbc highlights of the last match.


Head's newsletter 18.06.15
Thursday, June 18, 2015

We were delighted to welcome the Bishop of Woolwich, the Rt Revd Michael Ipgrave, to St Mary’s Lewisham on Sunday to preach the Colfe Sermon. This is one of the more important events in the school calendar and it was a particular delight to hear from Pre-prep and Prep choirs, as well as the Seniors. Other guests included the Chair of Lewisham Council, Cllr Obajimi Adefiranye, and the Service was introduced and concluded by the Vicar of Lewisham, Fr Steve Hall. We are delighted that Steve has agreed to become our Honorary School Chaplain following the retirement of Tony Collier at the end of this term. The Service was an opportunity to thank Tony for all that he has achieved over many years at the school. 

According to more recent tradition, the Service was followed by lunch, this year at Horn Park, the home of the Old Colfeians, and the annual cricket match between the School and the Leathersellers’ Company. Master Leatherseller, Dr Anthony Watson, watched in admiration as his team emerged victorious from an exciting 20-20 encounter, the first time that they have done so in the last 12 years. My own feelings were more mixed. Lunch provided an opportunity for Chairman of Governors, Ian Russell, to thank parents, pupils and staff for all that they have done this year to maintain the upward trajectory of the school.

The senior choir were also in action last Wednesday at the Leathersellers’ Election Day Service at St James’ Garlickhythe, fresh from singing Evensong in Hereford Cathedral over the Half Term break. Election Day is amongst the more important event in the Company’s Calendar and I was delighted to catch up with a number of old friends of the school, including my predecessor Dr Vivian Anthony and two Old Colfeians who are also members of the Company. 

Half Term week also saw record numbers of Year 8 cadets take part in the CCF selection recruit cadre. We look forward to their Passing-Out Parade on the final Saturday of this term. Despite MOD cutbacks we have been able to maintain the quality of our unique CCF squadron in recent years. We are grateful, as ever, to Major Cherry for his commitment to this important school activity.

The Summer Exhibition celebrated the excellent Fine Art and Graphics work of our GCSE, AS and A-Level students this term. The standard was extremely high, with each individual student producing work that was distinctive and creative beyond the requirements of the syllabus. Visitors included our youngest artists from the PPN who, I’m given to believe, were particularly fascinated (and not at all frightened) by the very life-like drawing of an enlarged eye (thanks to L6th artist George Fisher).  Other cultural highlights have included our Year 10 Drama students’ end of year performance –an intriguing evening watching their production of ‘Love and Information' by Caryl Churchill -a series of short plays in which more than 40 characters are played by a cast of fewer than 20. Their versatility will stand them in good stead for the GCSE productions next year. The Prep School production of Macbeth was (intentionally) hilarious. Mr Heil’s first venture into directing was an unqualified success and we are grateful to him and his cast for a most memorable evening.

The national Formula-E race in London is just over a week away and it was exciting to see our vehicle in action on the astroturf last week. Colfe’s is one of only ten schools in London to be invited to take part in this important race which runs alongside the 2014/15 FIA  Formula-E championships on the 27th of June. Our entry is sponsored by PAFA and tickets are now on sale.  

Year 12 pupils have now returned from AS exams to a fortnight of focus on university entry and preparation for their all-important final year. Parents joined pupils for the university applications evening on the 8th June when  John O’Leary, Editor of The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide and QS World University Rankings Executive Board, provided an excellent overview of the information which can be gleaned from the University League Tables published by various newspapers.

A subsequent morning focused entirely on university entry, with guest speakers from the universities of Kent and East Anglia, and an Oxbridge evening was held on Monday to support pupils who will be applying for the most competitive courses. One of the key speakers was Professor Angela Brueggemann, scientist and Colfe’s governor. The other main focus for L6th pupils in the closing weeks of term has been setting up summer work experience. I am grateful to all those who responded to my call for new placements last term. Our programme is richer and more varied than ever.

Sports days in Pre-prep and senior schools have taken place in the last two weeks. New school records were set in abundance in the senior event, although the staff relay team managed to drop the baton in the relay race. Prep school pupils in Year 5 and above also participated in the senior sports day where 12 new Prep school records were set.  In the Pre-prep event Noemi Klanga not only won gold in 80m sprint but recorded by far the fastest time out of everyone taking part. Also in athletics, boys in Years 7 and 9 performed with distinction in the Lee Valley Outdoor Cup. The year 9 team finished 11th out of 35 school teams with top three finishes for Nathaniel St-Louis Mason (200m), Ollie Whichello (800m) Tom Simpson (1500m); Luke Okosieme won the high jump, as has become customary.   The girls travelled to Bromley Minors event with Nia Southworth (Year 7) qualifying for the finals in both the hurdles and 100m and Ella Bauwens (Year 8) qualifying for the 200m final and coming 2nd in the Javelin.
After such a litany of success in girls’ cricket this year it was good to see the U13 boys’ team defeating Bancrofts last Saturday, winning by 10 wickets. Senior cricket has restarted in earnest as the exam season draws to a close and there will be a lot of fixtures between now and the end of term. We were delighted to attend the first IAPS (Independent Prep Schools) triathlon – a 200m swim, 4000m bike ride and 1200 run – with eight of our pupils qualifying for the finals. Prep Schools from across the country took part in the finals (260 pupils involved). Well done to Luca Thurlow who came 5th for the U10 boys and Megan Basham 6th for the Y11 girls.

Recent achievements of Old Colfeians have included the following:

  • Dr Paul Olding (Colfe’s 1984 to 1991) a BAFTA nominated TV and Film Director, producer and writer – has published his first book The Urban Vineyard – has been pubished in paperback - now available online -details at We are delighted to welcome Paul as our guest speaker at the final John Glyn Society event on this term on 9th July.
  • Claire Rafferty has been playing for the England women’s football team: Read the Telegraph Article Here...
  • Charlie Whittaker has been awarded one of the top 1sts in his year group in Natural Sciences at Cambridge. In the course of his final year research, he seems to have discovered a new gene.

Other Individual achievements this term include
Rosalyn Burton (Year 13) and Kate Drury (Year 10) have completed and had published, all eight articles (over eight months) in the Newshopper’s Young Reporters competition and will now receive a letter of recognition and their names in the official Award Ceremony Brochure.
Barnaby Marchant (Year 7) has achieved 8th place in the Graduate Nationals Sailing at Chipstead – particularly notable as he was crewing for a senior team.
Luca Thurlow (Year 5) won a gold medal in the BMX London Youth Games event in Peckham – winning all his MOTOs (rounds) to become the BMX Champion of London.
Alberta Green and Emerson Willis (Year 3) had auditions with the Royal Ballet Associate programme in London. Emerson has been accepted into the National Youth Ballet and separately into the Young Dancer’s Association in London (a vocational school) on their Junior Associate programme.
Benjamin and Felix Tynan (Years 8 and 2 respectively) have attended an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace to see their mother (Clare Barnfather) receive an MBE for her work on major events like NATO, Commonwealth Games and promoting the UK abroad to help create jobs and growth.
Elizabeth Reczek and her friends in Year 6 organised and ran a successful cake sale raising over £110 for the charity Shelter.
Daphne Pratt (Year 10) is set to play in two International tennis tournaments abroad - the ITF (International Tennis Federation) matches in Paraguay at the end of July Daphne is now the 188th ranked woman in Great Britain – a list which includes professional players

I am delighted, in conclusion, to report that next year’s School Captains will be Caroline Hedley and Will Rowlands.  It is of particular interest that ALL of this year’s shortlisted candidates (Will, Caroline, Amy Grant, Jade Lindo, Olivia Carruthers-Jones and Oli Stavrinidis ) joined us from the prep school six years ago.

Best wishes
Richard Russell  

Old Colfeian, Doctor Adrian Li publishes first novel
Thursday, May 21, 2015

A former Colfe’s pupil who went on to become a hospital doctor has just had his first fiction novel published.

Dr Adrian Li, who joined Colfe’s Prep in 1995 and left at the end of Sixth Form in 2006, has published The Warriors of Genesis - a young adult fantasy fiction novel which also seeks to highlight the serious problems associated with alcohol.

The 27 year old from Mottingham, studied medicine at University College London and now works at the Princess Royal University Hospital.  Dr Li came into the school to meet and speak to current Colfeians about the novel, writing and his work in medicine.  He said, “When people find out that I’ve written a novel whilst working as a doctor they always ask, how do you find the time? But my 11 years at Colfe’s really taught me that if you work hard, stay motivated and committed, you can and will eventually achieve your goals.

“My childhood was influenced by working after school in my family’s Chinese takeaway, six to seven evenings a week.  That was my motivation – to escape that; I wanted to change my life and direction and achieve what I really wanted which was to become a doctor.  

“The novel, and hopefully the sequel which I am writing now, has taken around three years to complete – 18 months in the planning stage – and although I really wanted to write a fantasy fiction novel it was also important to me that it contained a health message.  I wanted to warn of the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption, something I deal with as a doctor regularly, and a message that is extremely important to get across to young people.  I hope this novel is an engaging and accessible way of achieving that as well as an exciting read!”

The Warriors of Genesis – now published by Artemis – is available in paperback and on Kindle from all good book shops.

Old Colfeian invention will bring museums to life
Thursday, May 21, 2015

Two young entrepreneurs, one who recently graduated from Colfe’s, have created a 3D virtual reality device which could change the way we experience visits to museums in the future.

Dominic Deane who left Colfe’s in 2012 and his partner Rachel Derbyshire both who studied at Newcastle University have developed innovative technology which allows the visitor to not just see the historic objects in cases but to experience them in 3D in the settings they originally came from.

The duo create 3D models of objects in museums, which allow visitors to experience entire scenes from the past by wearing the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift 3D headset.

Dominic, 21, who took A-levels in History, Classical Civilization and Drama before reading Classics at Newcastle University said: “When you walk into a museum, the artefacts are described only by short text. That’s really interesting, but I don’t know anything about the object apart from where it was found and how old it is. But when you put a headset on to view the 3D models we create, you experience where that object was found and where it existed. 

“If you put the object in its original context, it becomes interesting because you can see how it was used. You can make a connection.

“I’d like to thank current Colfe’s Sixth Former Tom Whittaker who was invaluable in helping develop the first proof of concept last summer when the business was only in the very earliest stages of conceptualization.”

Dominic and Rachel attended the Museum Next conference in Geneva last month, where they demonstrated their work to top museum professionals from across the globe, and received an overwhelmingly positive reaction

Rachel, 26, added: “We wanted to introduce VR to the classical and culture sectors, because we think there’s a massive potential in that. 3D headsets were designed with games in mind, which is fine, but it’s not their only use. This technology can be used in so many other ways.”

The pair are currently looking for around £150,000 investment in the business to take the product further.

Head's newsletter 08.05.15
Monday, May 11, 2015

Dear Parents

For our senior pupils the pace and seriousness of the exam term were evident before it even started: many of them took advantage of the revision sessions we offered over Easter.  I thank all my colleagues who gave their time to teach and advise.  Then in the first week back we launched a new initiative, ‘Last-chance mocks’, as a final progress-check for Year 11: they should now be very clear where to focus their efforts before the exams.

We have already seen examples of high-quality work and creativity in exam projects within Drama, where Year 11 performed in front of an external examiner, and in the Design and Technology exhibition of GCSE and A-level projects – including, for the first time, textiles at GCSE.

Our award-winning Tougher Minds programme featured in the Daily Telegraph as the basis for its Easter revision advice to children and parents.  The leading think-tank Demos invited Head of Academic Performance Andy Foster and Tougher Minds consultant Professor Jim McKenna to give a series of presentations to education practitioners and policy experts on ‘character education’: what it can mean and how schools can put it into practice.  Read more here.

Pupils from all years have been experiencing the wider world on visits and field trips.  In the Easter break the first-ever joint French-German trip took place, to Brussels and Luxembourg; altogether over 70 pupils from the Prep and Senior schools went on skiing trips to Les Menuires, France and Kaprun, Austria; and cadets from the CCF squadron stayed at RAF Cosford in Shropshire for a week, where the activities included a one-to-one flight experience.

And there is more.  Year 10 artists visited the V&A Museum.  Year 6 took part in workshops and a behind-the-scenes look at the Globe Theatre.  Year 5s experienced their first residential week away, at Kingswood in Ashford, as part of our successful outdoor education programme.  Year 1 went to the Unicorn Theatre for a production of The Velveteen Rabbit, which they are reading in class.  And the very youngest Colfeians in the Nursery enjoyed a trip to Mudchute farm (despite the rain).

Over 180 mathematicians from Years 7 and 8 sat the National UKMT Junior Maths Challenge (results are due in ten days).  Pippa Britton and Ben Andrew (Year 11) achieved a merit in the European Pink Kangaroo Maths paper – putting them in the top 25% of their peers in Europe.  Well done also to our other two qualifiers, Marc Russo and Max O’Keeffe, who missed out on a merit by just one question.

Year 8 pupils have just completed their English House Challenge, ‘Reading Through Time’, run in conjunction with the library; it follows from the success of the ‘Reading Around the World’ scheme earlier in the year. 

The pupils building an electric car to race this summer in the Formula-E School Series have chosen Panthera (the Latin genus of big cats) as their official team name – ‘reflecting,’ they said, ‘the qualities of a Colfeian pupil … strong, capable, fast and powerful’.  Of course...

The Pre-prep ended last week with another successful annual Spring Fair – now in its fifth year.

In Sport our cricketers have played their first friendly block fixture against Sutton Valence: the U13 won 154 for 5 to Sutton Valence’s 130 all out and the U13B won 105 to 80.  The U15 and U14 matches were extremely close – the U15s losing out in the last ball of the game. The U13As won their first Cup game against Charter School by 6 runs.  Our girl cricketers got their outdoor season off to a good start with a draw (U13A) and a win (U13B) against Kent College Canterbury.

In swimming, eight of our Year 5 and 6 boys have qualified for the IAPS (Independent Association of Prep Schools) finals for the freestyle relays – putting them within the top sixteen out of around 650 prep schools who entered the competition. In tennis U15A are taking part in a fixture against Beths Grammar school; a specialist tennis coach is coming in next week from Uptown Tennis to take extra training sessions for Years 7–10.  Many Colfeian runners throughout the school entered the Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice Mini Marathon; and well done to Tom Simpson (Year 9), Louis Klanga (Year 8) and Amelie Klanga (Year 6) who ran the Hillingdon duathlon – Tom coming in second. Tom’s fast time in the Dulwich Parkrun put him in the top 20 this year for Years 9 and 10.

There are many individual achievements this term so far including:

·         Luke Wilkes (Year 12) whose horse riding team came fourth out of 320 other teams (over 1,200 riders) at the national championships at Hartpury.

·         Luke Ide (Year 10) is racing in the BNL European Karting Championship again this year and is currently sitting fourth overall after the first two rounds in Genk, Belgium – currently the highest ranked British driver.

·         Natasha Dixon (Year 11) has been accepted into the Royal College Junior Saturday school, where she will be studying flute.

·         Music Scholar Ruby Collins (Year 11) played bassoon in a sell-out concert at the Barbican with the London Schools Symphony Orchestra.

·         Connor Pant (Year 7) was invited to spend a day at the Bank of England which included lectures on finance and a chance to talk to the bank staff.

·         Evan Olding (Year 5) achieved his grade 4 sailing qualification.

·         Alex Edwards, Thomas and Joseph Santry and Myles Gray (all Year 2) were part of the winning U7 Old Colfeians rugby team at the London Irish festival.

Two requests to parents, in conclusion:

1.     We are currently organizing work experience for all LowerSixth pupils in the senior school. The range of placements has expanded considerably over the last two years. Providers in the financial sector include Santander, Morgan Stanley and Barclays. We also have good relationships with two London teaching hospitals, several London law firms, two sets of barristers’ chambers and the Policy Unit at 10 Downing Street. I am currently seeking new opportunities for this year and we would be delighted to hear from parents who can help us with this. Please contact Jacqui Burton ( if you or your company can help.

2.     We are currently reviewing the effectiveness of our communication with parents. Our adviser, Martin Horrox would be delighted to talk to you about any aspect of communication between school and home. Please email him at if you would like to participate in this research.

With best wishes

Richard Russell

Head's newsletter 27.03.15
Friday, March 27, 2015

 As the most hectic term of the year draws to a close, we have much to celebrate and report. The highlights are as follows:
Senior pupils have been looking to the future.  At our employability workshop, all Year 10s practised the ‘soft skills’ they will need in their careers (thank you to Head of Careers Judy Cardnell for organising it).  In preparation for GCSE, Year 11 pupils and parents attended our Easter Briefing, held for the first time in the splendid setting of the Old Royal Naval College, University of Greenwich.  Year 12s finished two days of mock A-levels; they and Year 13 students can attend study sessions over the Easter holiday to help with revision; I am very grateful to my colleagues who have volunteered to run that programme.   And at the Prefects’ Dinner this week we thanked our prefects for their hard work over the year. 
Representatives from Colfe’s buried the school’s Time Capsule in the foundations of the Leathersellers’ Company’s new hall in London.  Another Time Capsule will be laid in the foundations of the new Sixth Form Centre – which has been named the Stewart Building after benefactor and former pupil Leslie James Stewart (Colfe’s: 1930 to 1938).
In conjunction with our partners Tougher Minds, we held a national conference on ‘Developing Resilient Minds in Education’.  More than 150 delegates, including representatives from Eton College and St Paul’s Girls’ School and from as far afield as Glasgow and Taunton, attended the conference to learn how the Tougher Minds programme works at Colfe’s – inside the classroom and out – and the science behind it.  Thank you to all those involved, and especially our pupils, who were excellent advocates for the programme. This was our second conference this year, building on the success of our Dutch Universities event last term. I am grateful to our development officer, Russell Joyce, for his impeccable administration of these events.
The Classics department organised a trip to Cambridge University for nearly 30 Year 10 pupils from Colfe’s and our associate schools in the state sector; and we were pleased to reciprocate and welcome Nick Denyer, a Classical philosopher from Trinity College, who gave a fascinating lecture on ‘How to make people agree with each other’.  
Former pupil Victoria Shehadeh and her colleague Kate Parker – both are lawyers – ran workshops for Year 11 on ‘The legalities of consent’.  Victoria left Colfe’s in 2010 to study Law at Cambridge and is now applying for pupillage.  We wish her luck with her interview next week. 
In the Arts, the Senior School Spring Concert featured some particularly strong choral works involving pupils of all ages and included a particularly impressive rendition of Nessun dorma by the Barbershop singers.  
Archie Dobson’s War was an outstanding piece of theatre from Year 5.  It concluded a year studying WW1 in class.  Parents said it was one of the best productions they had seen from pupils of their age.  Thank you to Year 5 teacher Mrs Welch and Head of Music Mrs Watts.
Our youngest performers in Nursery and Reception delighted audiences this week with their Easter Bonnet Parade – an assembly where they had written all the songs, poems and acoustic poems themselves.  Nursery pupils also took part in an interactive workshop with the London Symphony Orchestra.
The Prep and Pre-Prep both entered choirs for the Bromley Music Festival.  The Prep singers, appearing at the Festival for the first time, were awarded honours (scoring 84 out of 100) and the Pre-Prep finished in second place, missing out on first by just two points.
The school is very grateful to the Parents’ and Friends’ Association (PAFA) for their support of two science projects.  Colfe’s is one of only ten schools in London to be chosen for the Formula-E School Series, an electric car race which takes place in the capital in June.  We have now selected our team, and you can follow our progress on Twitter @COLFESeracing .  And sixth formers Harry Calder and Tom Whittaker are on track to send a balloon into space this summer (the ‘Pi-in-the-Sky’ project). 
Congratulations to PAFA also on the success of their annual Prep School Disco last week.  Over 200 of our younger pupils came up to the Senior School, and the disco raised over £900 to support school projects.  
Please put in your diaries the date of Friday 26 June for the Summer Ball, which will be held for the first time in the Great Hall at Eltham Palace. 
Year 8 and Year 10 pupils took part in the BBC Schools Report, where budding journalists get the chance to experience life as a real reporter.  Over two days, four teams produced two reports, filmed interviews and took the roles of crew, writer and anchor for the final broadcast.
A team of four mathematicians took part in the UKMT Mathematical Challenge with 30 schools from Surrey, Kent and London – Colfe’s just missing out on third place.   
In Sport, U16 footballers won the Sussex and Kent Independent Schools League after beating Worth School 6-0.  Our Prep School footballers hosted Colfe’s first ever U11 and U10 football tournament for 120 pupils from five local schools, and both our teams did well: the U11s losing on a penalty shoot-out in the semi-finals to the eventual winners.
The boys’ relay team of Year 6 swimmers finished third and qualified for the Divisional round at the Kent Primary Schools Championships.   And the U13 girl cricketers played well in the County Lady Taverners' Cricket Tournament, gaining fourth place in the whole of Kent.   
Every single girl in Years 7–9 has now played competitive fixtures for the school.  Overall, 72% of all our pupils (girls and boys) have represented Colfe’s competitively this year so far.
We have welcomed back former pupil Matt Gallagher for work experience in the Sports department; he has a two-year contract to play with Saracens Rugby Club, starting in the summer.
Other individual achievements this term include: •         Ollie Whichello and Ethan Benson (Year 9) played rugby for Kent, beating Essex 55-0 and Hertfordshire 15-12 in fixtures this month.•         Frazer Pyne (Year 7) won television’s Blue Peter competition for writing a review of the programme – Frazer got the idea from writing reviews for our Reading Round the World Scheme.•         Luke Wilkes (Year 12) has qualified for the National Horse Riding Championships in Hartpury in April. •         Fellow show-jumper Georgia Noone (Year 10) has competed at Pyecombe, Felbridge Show Ground and Blue Barn Equestrian Centre – getting in the top four in every class she entered. •         School Captain Marcus Brockman passed the Goethe Zertifikat Deutsch B1examination, gaining 100% in the speaking component.•         Violinist Ella Richardson (Year 6) won the Tonbridge Festival string class and a trophy and cash prize for the most outstanding musician under 15.  The Easter break will see the removal of the crane from the centre of the senior school, marking progress towards completion of the Sixth Form project on schedule for opening in September. The departure of prep and senior school skiing trips is imminent and I look forward to reporting on that and other trips after the break. 
I wish all pupils, parents, colleagues and friends a happy Easter and look forward to seeing you all again next term.
Best wishes

Richard Russell 

Head's newsletter 13.03.15
Friday, March 13, 2015

Dear Parents
It has been a remarkably busy time since half term across the range of school activity. The senior production of Fiddler on the Roof last week was perhaps the highlight of the arts calendar this term, involving 50 pupils from a wide age range and our own orchestra supporting the music. Congratulations to Mrs Medhurst in particular, who directed this wonderful production. The quality of the acting, music and stagecraft exceeded even our own high standards and the audience enjoyed every minute. Preparation for next term’s lower school production (senior school) is already under way and we look forward to the Year 5 play, Archie Dobson’s War, in the last week of term. 
Elsewhere, debaters are through to the National Finals of one of the tougher competitions – the Institute of Ideas’ ‘Debating Matters’.    This is a much more challenging format for 16-18 year olds, which focuses on content, as well as style, with the judging panel of experts questioning and pressing debaters to justify their arguments.  Well done to Sixth Formers, Shannon Burke, Joe Andrew, Kal Sevenzo and Daisy Battersby (Year 11) who beat five other schools to win a place in the finals at the British Library in June.
The fantastic run of success that our mathematicians have enjoyed this year in the prestigious Hans Woyda competition has at last come to an with end, with defeat at the hands of Wellington College in the final of the Southern Plate Cup. Our run this year has been exceptional, including a noteworthy victory over Hampton School in the semi-final earlier this term. Thanks, as ever, to Dr Vijapura for his indefatigable support of this important competition. Also in Mathematics this term, nearly 100 of our most able mathematicians took part in the UK Mathematical Trust’s Intermediate Challenge. Special mention to Max O’Keeffe, Pippa Briton, Marc Russo and Benjamin Andrew (Year 11) who not only achieved Gold medals but qualified for the higher European Pink Kangaroo Paper.  Well done to all pupils who achieved silver (14) – slightly up from last year, and the 24 who achieved Bronze.  
Eminent philosopher and founder of the New College of the Humanities in London, A C Grayling, was our guest speaker at the John Glyn Society last week. His spoke brilliantly about ethics and morality and dealt equally brilliantly with a wide range of questions thereafter, some of which were memorable. This was the fifth John Glyn lecture this year and I am grateful to Miss Henderson for overseeing this new venture.
Other significant visitors over the last few weeks have included two children’s authors. Sam Hepburn came to the senior school, and Simon Rae ran creative writing workshops in the Prep School. Our youngest writers were also catered for, with Nursery and Reception pupils enjoying small group sessions with the story teller, Vanessa Woolf. It was a particular delight, incidentally, to welcome the parents of pupils who will be new to the Nursery and Reception year groups in September at an evening event in the Pre-prep last Tuesday. On a related point, I can now confirm that next year’s Year 7 in the senior school will consist of five classes with equal numbers of boys and girls. This is an important milestone on our coeducational journey.
A Level Politics students met the Deputy Director of Campaigns for the League Against Cruel Sports, Tom Quinn, to learn first-hand about lobbying techniques used by pressure groups. This was followed, later in the week, by a special screening of the controversial film, ‘Tory Boy’ with commentary from its director and star John Walsh, followed by a lively Q and A session afterwards. 
Recent sporting highlights have included the visit of 2012 Olympian and World Medallist, Hannah England, who accepted an invitation from our Geography teacher, Abi Tickner, to preside over the last event in this year’s Greenwich and Lewisham (GAL) Cross Country League.  She was, I hope, favourably impressed with our athletes, including Benjamin Tynan, who won the Year 7/8, race and Amy Parton who was 3rd overall, whilst our Year 9 boys won the league, with Tom Simpson coming 1st , Gabriel Foley in 2nd place and Oliver Whichello in 3rd. Well done also to Simone Jenson who was 3rd girl overall.
Elsewhere in sport, our prep school U11A netballers put on a dazzling display of netball at the IAPS East England Regional tournament, only losing three of their twelve matches. Despite beating the overall winners of the tournament 6-3, the girls narrowly missed out, on points, on a place in the finals. Through the week more than 70 netballers from the senior school put in a strong set of performances against a range of top independent schools, including Benenden and Sutton Valence. The senior team won this week’s tournament at Eltham College, with noteworthy victories over JAGS and St Olave’s. 
Prep School swimmers have had a number of friendly galas in the last few weeks, and performed especially well in the first round of the high level IAPS competition which involves hundreds of Prep Schools country-wide.  Our Year 5 and 6 swimmers took on Highgate and Dulwich Prep in this round, with final results to be announced shortly.  In Football, our U12As put in an impressive team effort against Charles Darwin winning 9-0 and our 1st team are a step closer to the finals of the Trinity Cup after beating Royal Russell 6-2. Year 6 footballers in the prep took gold at the 19th annual St Christopher’s tournament which involved 20 of the top prep schools in South London. Year 8 pupils returned last Friday from their activity week in Wales. This marks the start of an intensive period of activity for Chris Cherry and his team which continues next week with the Year 9 bush craft week in Oxfordshire. Half Term trips included Latvia and Estonia (History department), Athens and Delphi (Classics department) and a three day training camp for the CCF squadron.
Individual achievements this term so far include•         Ben Roberts (Year 6) who came third at the Major South East Regional Spring Grade 3 Tennis tournament – putting him on the cusp of national ranking. •         15 year old Daphne Pratt selected for the Kent U18 Tennis Squad for the first time at the annual County Cup weekend in Bath. •         13 year old Georga Halloumas, who represented Colfe’s at the British Schools Judo Championships in Sheffield – winning a silver medal. •         Music Scholar Ruby Collins joined some of London’s leading young musicians to play lead bassoon in the Swan Orchestra at the National Musicians’ Church, St Sepulchre in the City of London. •         Alex Hagelburg (Year 11) is through to the next round of the prestigious Arkwright Scholarship where he will face an interview process with leading engineering companies and experts.•         Ella Richardson (year 6) won the grade 7/8 classes in Piano and Violin at the Bromley Festival and won the Beryl Morreau Memorial Trophy for the highest mark awarded at the festival for violin. •         Louis Richardson (Year 4) won the Grade 4/5 guitar class at the Bromley Festival and was awarded the Ritter Cup for the 2nd Year in a row for the highest mark awarded.  He won silver in the Grade 4/5 Double Bass Class.•         Henry Chapman ( Upper 6th) has been awarded a £1000 singing scholarship to St Peter’s Church in Streatham, London to sing in their choir this year. (Henry played the lead in last week’s production of Fiddler on the Roof.)•         Sophia Clark, (Year 9) has been selected to take part in the rhythmic gymnastics 2015 Open Apparatus UK Championship, Junior Section. •         Joe Watkins (Year 10) played rugby for a winning Kent side against Hertfordshire, 24-12
With just over two weeks until the Easter break, the rest of this term will be as hectic as ever. Next week’s highlights include the Resilient Minds in Education conference, which will be attended by more than 100 delegates from a wide range of schools including Eton College and St Paul’s Girls’ School. My thanks, as ever, to Mr Foster for his relentless commitment to the Tougher Minds programme.
With best wishes
Richard Russell

Head's newsletter 13.02.15
Monday, February 23, 2015

Our guest speaker at the John Glyn Society last week was Dale Templar, journalist and award-winning producer of the BBC series Human Planet.  She spoke with passion and enthusiasm about her work, taking us to previously undiscovered parts of the world and addressing the many issues, ethical and environmental, which such exploration and research entail. She engaged wonderfully with Year 8 and Year 9 pupils and sustained a more challenging dialogue with members of the U6th. Our next visiting speaker will be Professor A C Grayling, philosopher and Founder of the New College of the Humanities. His theme will be Ethics vs Morality. This will be of particular interest to those of us who thought they were the same thing.




Art and Music have both enjoyed special events over the last two weeks, with a Music Master class led by concert organist Daniel Moult and a Year 9 Art workshop, run by artists from the Royal academy. Other key events in the Arts have included a Y5 workshop of Chinese dance, a senior school platform concert and a trailer in senior school assembly of our musical production, Fiddler on the Roof. Tickets are now on sale for the latter, either from the Drama office or online .




Recent academic highlights have included victory over Hampton School in the Hans Woyda maths competition. This takes us through to the final of the Southern Plate competition, the furthest we have reached in recent years. Congratulations to 0liver Skeates (Year 13), Andrew Ravendren (Year 12), Max O’ Keeffe (Year 11) and Jugal Patel (Year 9) and thanks, as ever, to Dr Vijapura for his tireless support of this competition. Hampton were particularly strong opponents, having defeated St Paul’s in the previous round. Meanwhile four of our top DT students and budding engineers made it through the gruelling early stages of the prestigious Arkwright Scholarship to be invited to sit the next stage – a two hour exam – we wish them luck as they wait to see if they are through to the final stages of this National Award.




Major Cherry introduced the Duke of Edinburgh programme to Year 10 pupils last week, which we run as an independent operating authority. We hope that a good number of Year 10 pupils will work their way through to gold award level, as many other Colfeians have done in the past. The CCF were on hand on Wednesday to welcome a helicopter from RAF Benson when it touched down on the school playing field. The aircraft in question is sponsored by the Leathersellers' Company and it was a particular pleasure to welcome the Master, the Second warden and at least one Past Master who arrived in it.




Elsewhere in the school, the collaboration between the English Department and the Library for their Reading Around The World scheme has been a great success, with Year 7 as a year group reading nearly 400 books.  The Year 8 scheme, Reading through Time, has now begun and will, no doubt be just as great a success. Year 5 linguists came to the senior school this week for their annual French Breakfast conducted all in French – thank you to Year 10 linguists who took the role of waiters for the first time.




This year's GCSE candidates are now looking ahead to the Sixth Form and have been choosing AS subjects for the Lower Sixth Year. Each individual pupil has a meeting with a senior member of staff to ensure that choices made do not rule out options for the future that they might want to leave open.  Oxbridge hopefuls in Year 12 had their first taste of life at Cambridge with a visit to colleges Fitzwilliam and King's this week – a visit to Oxford will take place after half term. We are grateful to Head of Classics, Mr Corstorphine for again arranging these. 




At the other end of the school our very youngest prospective Colfeians took part in an induction week in the Nursery.  This will be repeated in June, ensuring that the school surroundings are familiar when they start properly in September.  Parents of pupils in Years 7, 8 , and the Sixth Form should note that grades issued this week are now only accessible through the school portal. This is thus our first paperless grade session. If you have any problems accessing the Portal please contact   




Sporting success continues with our U13 Girl Cricketers through to the County Finals of the National Lady Taverners' Tournament where they will be representing Kent. Well done also to cricketers Molly Hepden (Year 7), Annys Thirkell-Jones (Year 6) and Tilly Manuel (Year 5) who all represented Greenwich in the London Youth Games their team has qualified for the final which will be played at Lords.




Year 7 and 8 swimmers performed well in the highly competitive Kent Secondary Schools Championships Meanwhile  Prep School swimmers have had an exciting few weeks, with a House Gala – well done to Orion who secured first place with 390 points, and years 3-6 took part in a tough away gala at St Dunstan’s against five other schools.




In Netball, our Year 3 (U8A) team won all their matches in an away tournament at Farringtons and our Year 6As are top of the table after winning all their league matches so far this season.   Year 5 As have continued their winning streak with a 5 -0 win against Blackheath High, and an 8-0 win against Farringtons whilst our B team was also victorious over Blackheath High, 4-0.  Higher up the school, our 14 and 15 year old netballers (U15A) made a great come back this season with two strong performances over Chislehurst and Sidcup and Blackheath High. The team has been using Tougher Minds techniques, alongside the new departmental iPads to prepare for their matches and analyse their performance.




In Rugby our U11s have put in a spirited display at the National Schools Rugby Tournament (NSRT) just missing out on a finals place (22-10) against Hoebridge.   Our U11 Footballers beat Eltham College in their first game of the season and our U10s completed a clean sweep at St Dunstans with the A, B and C teams all securing strong wins.




Benjamin Tynan, Dan Kelly, Aliyah Robinson, Amy Parton, Antonia Sholaja, Ella Bauwens, (Year 8) and Ronald Aduaya-Odiete, Nia Southworth and Eve Hurley (Year 7) have been chosen to represent the Borough at the London Championships in March, following outstanding performances at the Greenwich Championships in October, 




Individual achievements this term have included the following:




·         Tom Simpson (Year 9) who qualified for the British Inter-Counties Championships (the top 8 County runners  selected)  for the event in Birmingham in March; particularly impressive as 13 year old Tom is competing at U15 level.


·         Alberta Green, Year 3, scored an impressive 98% in her Grade 1 Tap Exam – a distinction and one of the highest marks her dancing school (Blackheath School of Dance) has ever achieved.


·         Bea and Eloise Hembrough have won the Capital League U14 Fustal Tournament at the Copper  Box Olympic Stadium with their team, Charlton Ladies FC– the first time the team competed at Futsal.


·         Head of DT Caroline Matthews, an Arkwright Scholar, has been involved with a new initiative run by the Chancellor George Osborne to encourage girls into engineering.




Christmas seems a long time ago and the list of pupil achievements grows ever longer. I look forward to reports on half term activities later this month and wish everybody well for the break.




Best wishes




Richard Russell







Head's newsletter 30.01.2015
Monday, February 2, 2015

In the last few weeks I have been interviewing prospective parents for next September’s Year 7 intake.  I like to meet everyone, and I think it is important that they should have the chance to meet me.  I was struck in particular by the number of families who highlighted our excellent teachers as a real attraction to Colfe’s.  It is no surprise that we compare so favourably with other schools in this respect – but it is pleasing to see that the perception is shared so widely and clearly among families who are just getting to know us.


Well done to our Year 11 pupils who have now completed their mock GCSE exams: the results are the best ever.  We have introduced a new learning technique, the ‘January Judgements sheet’, to help them prepare for doing equally well, or better, in the summer.  This is a simple but powerful set of tables in which pupils identify what they have achieved and what they still need to do.  Parents have their part to play in this and discussed the January Judgements sheets with teachers at the recent Year 11 parents’ evening.

The Sixth Form annual enrichment programme has begun.  This weekly series of breakfast-time seminars, lectures, taster days and subject masterclasses takes students beyond the formal curriculum to broaden their academic horizons.  It is one way in which Colfe’s ensures they give of their best in university entrance.  The students are already heavily engaged in their EPQ (Extended Project Qualification), which will enable them to explore in depth an aspect of their studies which they find to be of particular interest. In addition to valuable UCAS points, this gives them a real edge over other candidates when they apply to university.   Next week we start our visits to Oxford and Cambridge for Year 12s to meet with admission tutors and past Colfe’s pupils who are now studying there.

Through our links with business, we were delighted this week to welcome Gareth Bateman, Senior Manager at Deloitte and a former soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan, who spoke to Years 10-11 on the qualities they will need to make good future leaders and captains of industry.  His message was reinforced by the annual leadership cadre for the CCF cadets.

The school is very grateful to the Parents’ and Friends’ Association (PAFA), which has funded  the introduction of Kindles for the Prep School reading programme and more up-to-date software for the Senior School’s Robotics Club.  Thank you to the very many parents who have contributed.  PAFA raises thousands of pounds of funds a year to support projects which add greatly to the life of the school but are simply beyond our own budget.  New chair of PAFA, Helen West, would be glad to hear from new volunteers and to receive ideas for new activities.

The arts continue to flourish.  We have had a successful A Level Fine Art and Graphic Communications Exhibition and a very well attended piano recital in the Prep School.  Rehearsals are beginning for the Prep School choir, which will be entering Bromley Music Festival for the first time, alongside the Pre-Prep and Nursery choir. 

Budding politicians in the Sixth Form heard cabinet minister Oliver Letwin MP speak at a public meeting organised by our Head of Politics, and our historians were invited to the annual Holocaust Educational Trust lecture in Westminster, where Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper MP was a keynote speaker.

After impressive wins against Bromley High and St Dunstan’s last year, Colfe’s mathematicians won through to the final four in the Southern Section of the Hans Woyda Plate Cup.  In their best performance to date they comfortably beat Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College, 52-27.  Well done to Joshua Gayadeen (Year 13), who has been selected for the Senior Kangaroo paper after achieving a gold award in the Senior Maths Challenge last year; this time he achieved a merit, placing him in the top 25% in the country.  

Colfe’s chess club has entered the National Delancey Chess Tournament and our biologists have just sat the British Biology Olympiad.  Last year Sam Winter won a gold placing (and is now at Exeter University studying Biological Sciences).

In sport, Colfe’s cross-country runners braved the biting weather to take part in the Cross Country London Schools Championships on Hampstead Heath. All the runners showed great heart; special congratulations to Tom Simpson (Year 9), Gabriel Foley (Year 9) and Megan Marchant (Year 11), who all qualified to represent London in the English Schools Championships in Blackburn in March. 

Colfe’s rugby players in Years 7 and 8 have kept up their strong performances this year in a block fixture against Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School, with wins for the U12As, U12 Cs, and U13As. 

Around 100 netballers – that is nearly every girl in Years 7-10 – took part in a fixture against Bancrofts.  Other netball highlights include strong wins against Blackheath High and Hayes.  

Our footballers put in strong performances against Christ’s Hospital: the 1st X1, 3rd X1 and U16A are currently top of the Sussex and Kent Independent School League.  Colfe’s U16 footballers took on U18 players for their first tournament in the fast-moving indoor game of futsal, playing against Wellington College, Brighton College, Tonbridge and Sevenoaks. 

And in swimming, the Prep School (Years 3-6) took part in their first away gala of the term against Rosemead, Dulwich College, St Dunstan’s, Oakfield and JAPS.

Individual achievements include:

·         Head of Music in the Prep School, Mrs Sue Watts, sang in the Verdi Requiem live on Radio 3 at the Royal Festival Hall with the London Philharmonic Choir.

·         Francesca Rameaux  (Year 8), sang with the national Help 4 Heroes choir at St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden and (through the group Capital Arts) recorded a song at the famous Abbey Road studios.

·         Music scholar Ruby Collins (Year 11) played bassoon in a sell-out Barbican concert last month with the London Schools Symphony Orchestra. Ruby is now beginning a professional diploma on her second instrument, the clarinet.

·         Nine-year-old Luca Thurlow (Year 5) has been selected to represent team GB at the World BMX Championships in Belgium.  Luca was ranked 49th in the world last season and is currently the highest-ranked rider in London.

·         Denny Ashison (Year 6) has been selected to play with Millwall Youth Academy.

·         Athlete Tobi Ogunjimi (Year 12) won the South of England U20s championships at Lee Valley in 200m.

·         Lukas Uzkalnis (Year 4) is to perform with his dance troop at the Independence Day event in the Embassy of Lithuania in February.

Adverse weather has yet to affect us this term but may yet do so. As ever, parents will be informed via schoolcomms and the school website if there is any possibility of closure due to snow. We will of course regard closure as an absolute last resort.

Head's newsletter 19.01.15
Monday, January 19, 2015

Dear Parents

The start of the New Year has brought welcome news for many of our U6th university applicants, with four receiving conditional offers from Oxford or Cambridge (more than half of those who were interviewed) and 70% of the cohort holding at least one offer from a Russell Group university. On a related point, we were delighted to hear of the success of two Old Colfeians who are currently studying at Oxford and Cambridge:

·         Pascal Crowe (reading English at University College, Oxford) has co-authored an article on the political legacy of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela for ISIS, the Oxford student magazine.  Click here to read the article.

·         Charlie Whittaker, (reading Natural Sciences at Jesus College, Cambridge)  recently featured in a Sunday Times article on a new student-led initiative called ‘take the pledge’ to give 10% of their future lifetime income to charity.  Click here to read the article. 

Other recent press coverage has included a major feature in Sunday Telegraph on the school’s Tougher Minds programme.   The Tougher Minds programme was also the subject of a presentation to Year 7 and Year 8 parents on Tuesday evening. The Tougher Minds team will also be hosting our first Developing Resilient Minds Conference in March.

Director of Sport, Nicci Rayes, was quoted in a feature in the Guardian earlier this week on the role that tablets and ipads can play in the teaching of school sport, read the full article here.  Parents may recall that Colfe’s was identified by Ofsted last summer as an example of good practice in the teaching of school sport. Meanwhile budding journalists Ros Burton (U6th) and Kate Drury (Y10) both had articles published on the website of the Newshopper earlier this month whilst Huw Olding (Year 8) appeared in a documentary film on National Geographic and Animal Planet Channels, Monsters Behind the Iron Curtain, and his brother Evan (Year 5) starred in a Discovery Channel drama documentary Nasa’s Unexplained Files.

Sixth Form Art students have been busy preparing for their mid-year Fine Art and Graphics Exhibition scheduled for  Wednesday ( 21st  January) in the Art studios.  This cultural highlight of the term looks set to be another excellent display of AS and A2 work; all are welcome to attend.  

Despite gale force winds and inclement weather at the weekend, our sports teams have got off to a good start this year, with good wins for the U16 and senior netball teams against Reigate Grammar recently. All the senior teams won their matches against Brighton College in the opening block fixture of the football season.  In the Prep our netball U11A squad has commenced training for the National IAPS competition in Felsted in March, and the U11 rugby players began training in earnest for the Regional Qualifiers of the National Schools Rugby Tournament which takes place on 1st February.

Individual achievements in sport include:

·         Netball. Sports teacher, Miss Holder has been appointed as U12 Kent County Netball Coach - training will be held at Colfe’s this month and Francesca Stephenson has been accepted into the Kent Netball Academy,

·         Hockey. Jemma Stephenson, Year 11, represented her region at Hockey in ‘the Futures Cup’ -  a prestigious four day tournament. She has subsequently been awarded an automatic place for the 2015 County Squad.

·         Cricket. Tilly Manuel, Year 5, Annys Thirkell-Jones (Year 6) and Molly Hepden (Year 7) have all been selected for the Kent Girls’ Cricket and Matt Walker (Year 9) and Finn McQueen (Year 7) who have been selected for the U14 and U12 Kent Cricket Squads respectively. 

·         Football. Denny Ashison (Year  6) is training with the Millwall Academy; Luke Okosieme has been selected for training with the Charlton Development Youth Squad and sisters Eloise and Bea Hembrough are now in their fifth season playing for Charlton Athletic FC Ladies, having lost only one match this season so far. 

·         Rowing. Phoenix-Jane Hayward (Year 13) won both her races at the prestigious Burway Small Boats Head on the Thames in December.

·         Tennis. Daphne Pratt (year 10) won U16 Girls tournament at Westway Sports Centre over the Christmas holidays, her third tournament win at Regional level in 2014.  Daphne has also been selected to be part of the Kent U18 squad for 2015.

In conclusion, we are pleased to see that the south-east is not yet experiencing the extreme weather which has afflicted other parts of the UK. If that should change and the possibility of school closure arises, we will keep parents informed through the School communications system (text and email) and by updates on the website. This would only happen in the event of very heavy snow, however. Parents and pupils should always assume that the school will remain open unless they hear to the contrary.

With best wishes

Richard Russell


OC, Dr Tim Robson awarded OBE for services to homelessness!
Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A doctor and founding trustee of Watford New Hope has been awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list.

Dr Tim Robson said he was “pleased and honoured” to have been recognised for his services to the homeless in Hertfordshire.

He is a founding trustee of the New Hope charity, which he chaired between 1991 and 2008, before he quit his practice to launch the Meadowell Surgery to offer enhanced care to the homeless in 2003.

It was the tragic death of one of his patients – a homeless man who died during his sleep in Watford town in 1987 – which sparked Dr Robson to step up his campaign to help those in need. Read the full story here...


350th anniversary of Act of Parliament on Colfe's!
Monday, January 12, 2015

On Thursday 4 December 2014 an evening reception took place to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Act of Parliament which was eventually passed in 1664, consolidating the relationship between the school and the Leathersellers’ Company. 

The original Act, which was recently re-discovered during the demolition of the Leathersellers’ Hall, is written on vellum (calfskin) and is priceless.  

The Second Warden, His Hon. Judge Anthony Thornton and the Archivist, Jerome Farrell, of the Leathersellers’ Company addressed an audience of Old Colfeians with insights which included how to look after a 350-year old scroll written on leather and the significance of such a document from a Leatheseller’s point of view, particularly with respect to the turbulent times in England around 1664.

The Act Decrees that:

  • Forever hereafter there shall be a school by the name of Colfe’s in the county of Lewisham in Kent 
  • 'the Society of the Mistery or Art of the Leathersellers of the Citty of London shall be forever hereafter the Governours of the school of Lewisham of the foundation of Abraham Colfe' 
Colfeians ‘giving it a go’ for half a century - 1st ever outdoor pursuits!
Friday, January 9, 2015

A photo taken 50 years ago shows intrepid Colfe’s  pupils taking on the challenge of walking 250 miles along the Pennine Way – their first major adventure for Outdoor Pursuits.  

L to R: Dave Gardner, Adams (6), Reason (7) and Mr Sant (14) [Help us fill in the blanks! - Ed.]

The photo, which was circulated for the first time after the Old Colfeians’ 2014 Reunion Dinner,  shows a group of 18 boys from Colfe’s Grammar School, aged between 16 and 18, getting ready to drive to the Scottish Borders and start a three-week walk to Derbyshire.  The event was captured in an article for the Kentish Mercury on 21st August 1964.

Head of Games at the time, Mr David Gardner, who retired in 2002, said “This photo was sent to me by one of the lads and is special to me as it was the group I took on my first major trip for Outdoor Pursuits  which didn’t become an official programme until the 1980s when we were independent.
“The trip from Kirk Yetholm, on the Scottish Borders, 'downhill' to Edale in Derbyshire, was a  major challenge for city grammar school lads, many of whom had not been much outside London in those days.  

“The walking group consisted of two other teachers, one of whom, Colin Winter, is now in his nineties.  We walked 15 miles a day, carrying rucksacks and mainly camping and cooking our own food.  The boys were very intrepid – I remember waking up and looking out of the tent to find thick frosts on the ground in mid August – but mainly  we managed almost three weeks in the mountains without a single drop of rain and in constant sunshine. 

“The boys who took part still talk about it, so I know they must have enjoyed it and gained much from the experience.”

Peter Adams was 16 at the time and finishing his last year at Colfe’s.  The 66 year old remembers it was a great experience “The walk has stayed with me as one of the highlights of my life. During the walk we had a competition to see who could survive the longest without a blister; I had treated my feet with surgical spirit and won as I had no blisters! Since Colfe’s I have had a very varied life and I can definitely put my incredible and exiting life journey down, in no small part,  to my experiences and time at the school.”

Head's Newsletter 5.12.14
Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dear Parents

Last week’s Winter Concert in the senior school was a wonderful occasion, featuring a wide variety of music performed by pupils of all ages. Christmas is always a busy time of year for musicians and we are now looking forward to the annual Carol Service in St Mary’s Church, Lewisham, which takes place next Wednesday. Choirs from the prep and pre-prep will feature on the programme which will follow a traditional format of carols and readings. We recalled the life and times of erstwhile Vicar of St Mary’s, Abraham Colfe, at an event on Thursday evening in the school library whose purpose was to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Act of Parliament which Colfe sponsored, and which was eventually made law in 1664, to consolidate the relationship between the school and the Leathersellers’ Company. The Second Warden and the Archivist of the Leathersellers’ Company addressed an audience of staff and Old Colfeians on a subject of considerable fascination.

This term’s major production in the theatre, George Feydeau’s farce, ‘A Flea in her Ear,’ marked a new departure for the Drama department. A cast of pupils in Year 10 and above made light work of a complex plot, expertly directed by Director of Drama, Lucy Atkinson. The result was sophisticated and impressive, as was the stage set, for which many thanks to our lead technician, Richard Gregg. Prep and Pre-prep productions will follow next week in the run-up to Christmas. 

The UCAS season is almost complete and attractive offers are coming through already, including unconditional offers from universities as prestigious as Nottingham. Eight Colfeians will be attending interviews at either Oxford or Cambridge in the course of the next two weeks and we wish them well. Others will have interviews with top medical schools in the near future and we hope to match last year’s success rate when 65% of our U6th won places at Russell Group universities. Support for this year’s cohort has been wide-ranging, including interview practice with Old Colfeians, expertly co-ordinated by Andrew Corstorphine.

On a related point, I would like to take this opportunity to once again invite parents to join our list of contacts offering students a work placement, as part of our successful Year 12 Internship Programme. Last year’s range of options was stronger than ever and we are always looking for new options. Anyone able to offer a placement for up to two weeks, please contact Mrs Burton, or Mrs Cardnell, either of whom will be delighted to hear from you.

Our Debaters have had great success in the prestigious Cambridge Schools Debating Competition, with our teams beating Eltham College and St Dunstan’s to go through to the second round. This is the first year that the school has had two teams go through at once, taking up two of only three spaces available,  with sterling performances from 6th formers, Shannon Burke, Kal Sevenzo, Joe Andrew, and  Year 11s Daisy Battersby.  We look forward to stiffer competition in the next round.


The official opening of the new Pre-prep and Nursery Building last Monday enabled parents and grandparents to enjoy a tour of the new facilities and a glass of wine with senior members of the Leathersellers’ Company. We were particularly grateful to the Master, Dr Anthony Watson, for his kind words about the recent successes of the school as he officially declared the building open. Work on the Sixth Form centre is ongoing, on budget and on schedule. I am delighted to report that our official School Visitor, Prince Michael of Kent, will perform the opening ceremony in September when he presides at the senior prizegiving.


The Old Colfeians’ Society Dinner took place at the Waldorf in London last Friday, attended by more than 80 ex-pupils of varying vintage who professed themselves delighted with the progress of the school over the last 12 months. They were less happy to note that neither I nor my distinguished predecessor, Dr Vivian Anthony, could remember the words of the second verse of the School Song. It was asserted by the president, Gregory Jones QC., that the reintroduction of the Song in the school itself is overdue. I look forward to discussing how best this might be achieved with Mrs Collin in due course.


The Senior Mathematics Challenge brought out the best in our top mathematicians, with Josh Guyadeen (Best in School) and several other candidates winning gold awards. Meanwhile Computer Scientists, Harry Calder and Tom Whittaker, have just embarked on an ambitious science-based project to launch  a hot air weather balloon into space with a small computer on board, to take photos from the higher atmosphere.  They hope their venture will promote and encourage membership of our senior school Computer Club.  Thanks to our Parents and Friends Association (PAFA) for helping to fund the project.


In  English a record number of Prep School pupils took part in our second Poetry competition, this year on the theme of Remember.  Well done to all those who won especially Polly Chamberlain in year 4 who was judged the overall winner.


In Sport, our senior swimmers did well in a friendly gala against Farringtons, Bullers Wood and Bromley High.  All competitors put in strong performances, particularly our Year 7 and 8 boys who won the Gala despite swimming against Farrington’s boys from Year 9.   The rugby teams won most of the games in the annual fixture against Latymer Upper with wins for our 1st XV, U15 A and U14 A teams.  This was the first fixture where we fielded U12 and U13 C teams, a chance for many of these boys to take part in their first competitive rugby game.   In girls’ sport, U14 Hockey players won 5-0 against Blackheath High and our netballers stayed on top form with wins for the U16As against Priory, U12As against Alleyns, and U14As who performed extremely well in the prestigious Kent Schools Tournament, not forgetting our Year 6 team who beat West Lodge 10-8.


Recent individual achievements have included:


·         Sophia Kirkman in Year 6 who received a trophy for Girls Tristar 1 , Club Champion at the Junior Greenwich Tritons Triathalon Club.

·         Eddy Miles in Year 9 who performed at the School Proms at the Albert Hall.

·         Francesca Rameaux, (Year 8) one of just 40 children in London out of hundreds, to make it into the Charity, Help For Heroes Kids’ Choir.

·         Graham Renfrew and some of the catering team, as well as family and friends, who are close to reaching their fundraising target of £1,500 after walking the roof of the O2

·         Sam Chatterley in Year 13 has been selected to represent GB at the World Scout Jamboree next year.  ,

·         Roz Burton, Year 13 and Daisy Jones, Year 12, who have had their work published online for the Newshopper, as part of  the Young Reporter Competition.

·         Leathersellers’ Poster Competition winners, Peter Higgs,(1st) Emma Minett (2nd) and Antonia Sholaja (3rd).  The winning Poster will be displayed in the Leathersellers’ Court Room.


Richard Russell


Former Colfe’s pupil awarded Posthumous Honours Degree.
Friday, November 21, 2014

A former Colfeian who died in 2013 after a long illness, aged only 21, has been honoured by Birmingham City University with a posthumous BSc with Honours in Quantity Surveying.   Christopher Hugill, who always ‘wanted to build’, was awarded the degree on merit based on his work prior to his death. Chris’s ashes were scattered in various places including on the school grounds, where he enjoyed playing football. 

On Facebook his father, Peter, wrote: It is a wonderful Epilogue to a life cut short but a life lived to the full. Grateful thanks to all those Friends and Teaching Staff from Clare House through Colfe’s to BCU and Medical Staff from St Marys Grand Junction CO, The Royal Marsden, The PRU and St Georges Tooting who shared the journey and made it possible. Sadly missed and proudly remembered – he touched many lives. Chris’s Dad


100th anniversary of 1st Colfeian casualty of WW1 today (20 Nov 2014) - Jordan, Graeme George
Thursday, November 20, 2014

Graeme (as he preferred to be known) was the son of George Silas and Cecilia Anetta Jordan of Blackheath Rise, Lewisham and joined up in August 1914 as a Private in the 1st Battalion of the London Scottish. He served in France and was fatally wounded in the head aged 18 as part of what is said to be the first Territorial unit in action in the War at Messines Ridge on 31st October 1914 during the First Battle of Ypres. Graeme was taken prisoner and died at Aix-la-Chapelle on 20th November 1914. He was originally buried at the Military Cemetery there but later re-interred at Cologne Southern Cemetery (XII.A.7). Nearly half of the London Scottish involved at the action at Messines Ridge were killed, wounded or taken prisoner and such was the loss that the London Scottish decided to erect their Regimental Memorial there.


Head's Newsletter 18.11.2014
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dear Parents

Last Thursday Colfe’s was announced as the winner of Education Initiative of the Year in the Independent School Awards 2014 for its work with the Tougher Minds Programme.  This is real and welcome acknowledgement of our unique project, and I congratulate everyone – staff, pupils, parents and the Tougher Minds team – who has contributed to this initiative.  Our next step will be to embed the approach in the learning culture of the school and to share it with our partner schools in the state sector.

2014 is the anniversary of many wars, and Colfeians have served in all of them.  Last week our community joined together in remembrance of those killed in the two World Wars and other conflicts and to think of Colfeians who are currently members of the armed forces.  Thank you to the many people who joined us for Remembrance Sunday at the Old Colfeians’ War Memorial.  This year our youngest pupils in the Nursery, Pre-Prep and Prep School held their own special ceremonies.  They sowed poppy seeds, and the flowers will remind future generations of pupils about the Colfeians who fell in WW1.

During the half-term break, study trips included a football tour to Portugal, a rugby tour to Northern Ireland and a ‘total immersion’ week in Normandy for Year 8 and 9 linguists, which combined outdoor pursuits and non-stop exposure to the French language.  Also at half term staff and pupils took part in our annual working party trip to help develop Kotu School in the Gambia.  This year, Dr Thompson retires from his founding role as the Director of the Gambia Project, and I know I speak for everyone in the school in thanking Robert for his tireless work over the last decade, leading this highly successful programme.

I have been delighted to receive enthusiastic praise and feedback from prospective parents who came to our last Open Days of the autumn term in both the Prep and Senor School.  Feedback on the day for all our pupil helpers was universally positive, and every aspect of the event on 8 November was commended in an anonymous ‘mystery shopper’ report which we commissioned.  Registrations for entry in 2015 are well ahead of last year, with the Reception year group already full. We have more than twice as many applicants for entry to the Sixth form, and 11+ registrations are already above 200. I am extremely grateful to all academic and support staff who work so hard and to the hundreds of pupils who conducted themselves so well and were a genuine and positive reflection on the school

High-profile event events last week included our lecture on Managing Teenagers, held as part of our ongoing PSHEE programme, which more than 250 parents attended.  And our architects BHM took a group of sixth formers who are interested in careers in architecture and engineering on a tour of the new Sixth Form Centre site, where they learned about the realities of construction.

The Prep School took part in two highly successful ‘focus weeks’, in History and Maths.  The focus on  Maths has certainly followed through to the success of our competitive mathematicians in the Senior School, who last week got through to the third round of the prestigious Hans Woyda competition after beating St Dunstan’s and Bromley High.

In Music, our Year 6 pupils enjoyed a participation concert with the London Symphony Orchestra and our Senior School musicians held another well received platform concert; both events illustrating that there is nothing quite like the experience of performing live music. The next musical events on the horizon include the senior school Winter Concert (25th November) and the annual Carol Service in St Mary’s Lewisham on the 10th December.

We continue to excel in Sport.  Our U15 netballers are now Bromley Schools Champions after convincingly beating Haberdashers' Aske's Knights Academy of Bromley 5-2, and our U19s are through to the finals of the Kent Schools Netball Tournament after winning every one of their five matches by wide margins.  In rugby our U15As are through to the next round of the Kent Cup after beating Chatham and Clarendon Grammar, 22-13 although their successful run in the national Daily Mail competition came to an end last week when they lost to Whitgift in an excellent and closely fought match. Prep School swimmers in Years 5 and 6 took first place in a very close gala against Merton Court and Farrington’s whilst our Year 8 hockey players defeated Blackheath High 11-0.  Finally Colfe’s hosted the second year of the Run-Fast Greenwich and Lewisham Cross Country League: over 150 pupils took part.

Individual achievements in the last few weeks include: 


·         Show jumpers  Luke Wilkes (Year 12) and Shannon Burke (Year 13) qualified first and second for their club in their respective team events seeing them through to the finals  in Hartpury

·         78-year-old Enid Olding, who has been involved with Colfe’s PAFA for nearly 40 years, through her son and now grandsons, took part as the GB flag bearer in the Golden Age Festival in France.

·         Musician Sam Barnett (Year 9) received a new saxophone and sponsorship from the Trevor James company as their first ever ‘Young Artist’.  Sam had a solo set on Sunday  playing at the Regent Street Christmas Lights switch-on.

·         Ella and her brother Louis Richardson in the Prep won a gold and silver medal respectively in the Beckenham Music Festival, for violin (Ella) and double bass (Louis)  Ella was also awarded the prestigious Winifred Handy Trophy.

·         Lukas Uzkalnis (Year 4) danced in an event in front of hundreds of visitors at the British Museum as part of his Lithuanian Dance group.

·         Frank Blythe (Year 8) was the team mascot for  Charlton Football Club in their match against Birmingham last month.

·         Kate Drury (Year 10) had a story (about fellow Colfeian Georgia Noone) published online for the Newshopper as part of the ongoing Young Reporter competition.

·         Maths teacher Dr Umesh Vijapura achieved his Sixth Dan Black Belt in Taekwon-do.


Further details of many of these achievements may be found at and photographs at .



With best wishes


Richard Russell


Old Colfeian Society 2014 AGM Calling Notice
Friday, November 7, 2014

Membership of the Old Colfeian Society comprises ALL former pupils over the age of 16 and all current and former staff of Colfe's. 

If you have an opinion on the activities of the Old Colfeian Society, then now is your chance to have your say and get involved!  Apologies to the Secretary. 

This year's OCS AGM takes place on Tuesday 18 November at Horn Park - The Home of Colfeians in the Ernie Reed Lounge (back bar) from 19.45hrs. 

Click here to download the Agenda

Click here to download the minutes from the 2013 AGM

Click here to download the Constitution of the Old Colfeian Society

Colfeian Choir needs you!
Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A new Community Choir, based at Horn Park, formerly the Old Colfeians’ Club, has been set up in the last few weeks aimed at those who enjoy singing but may not have any experience with choirs or performing. 

Colfe’s Drama Teacher, Richard Gregg, who is organising this new venture, hopes that it will encourage many more people to take up singing and complement the successful choirs that Colfe’s already runs in school. 

Richard said “I’m very pleased with the level of interest so far but there is always room for more.  We hope that parents and other relatives will come along and join members of the community and just ‘give it a go’. There is no requirement to read music or to have any previous experience.

“We are working on a range of music from show tunes to pop and gospel, so hopefully there is something for everyone.  This is open to everyone, not restricted to Horn Park members or Colfe’s parents. There is a small charge of £3 per session which includes your coffee/tea!   The Colfe’s ‘family’ has always been very much rooted in the community and this is a great chance to be part of something progressive and fun.”

The Choir will meet on a Wednesday evening from 7.45pm. Anyone wishing to join please contact

Facilities for women’s sport at Horn Park
Monday, October 20, 2014

The directors of CGL wish to consult all Old Colfeians about the next stage of our programme for developing Horn Park, and specifically about the need to provide better facilities for women.

You are probably aware that we have set out our broad guiding strategy, which is to:

  • Offer a broader range of activities within the existing facilities of Horn Park
  • Ensure that the links between the Colfe’s School and Horn Park are strengthened and Horn Park is recognized as the home of all Colfeians
  • Enhance the existing facilities at Horn Park and to develop new ones
  • Increase the use of and revenues at Horn Park to help achieve the objectives set out above
  • Encourage the increased use of Horn Park by all parts of the local community irrespective of age, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

We are also very much aware that around half the school-leavers from Colfe’s are now girls, and that the opportunities for them to participate in sport here are at present strictly limited.

Against that background, we regard the provision of greater sporting facilities and opportunities for women as a priority, which supports all five of our strategic objectives. Once we are able to reach a consensus, we will then aim to make application to Awarding Bodies to help with the development of the facilities here.  We have already identified netball and tennis as possible additions to our facilities, though we could only proceed with them if we could find people prepared to organize and run them.

In formulating our plans for how to achieve a real improvement in female participation, we will consult with all our partners and stake holders, including the sports clubs, the School and The Leathersellers, PAFA, the Old Colfeian Society and the local community.

We would particularly like to hear from each of the agreed stake holders about:

  • What contribution you may be able to offer by exploring the possibility of starting a women’s team (or teams) within your club
  • What other activities and sporting facilities we should consider, beyond our present offer, that might help to attract women wanting to play sport
  • Whether there are other improvements we should be considering in our social facilities and activities that would encourage a wider female participation at Horn Park generally
  • Any other suggestions or ideas that you may want to put to us regarding this objective.

I am hoping that this will form a major part of the next OCS Committee meeting on November 4th, prior to the AGM on 17th November when the findings can be shared with members.

CGL want to begin our work on this initiative as soon as possible. Could I therefore ask you to let me have your initial responses by email to the points above by 21st October?

In carrying forward the work, we will invite a representative from each of the stake holders to join a consultative group, so that we have as wide a continuing input as possible and a way of keeping in close touch with our users as our thinking develops. That representative in this circumstance will be from the Old Colfeian Society Committee who will represent the views of Old Colfeians.

Thank you very much for your assistance in this important project.


Vernon Leese

Club Secretary –


Head's Newsletter 17.10.2014
Monday, October 20, 2014

Dear Parents
As we approach half term, we have much to celebrate. The building work in the senior school is proceeding swiftly, efficiently and, (tempting fate,) on budget. Pre-prep pupils are enjoying their outstanding new premises and we look forward to the official opening in December.

This week’s intellectual high point was the inaugural meeting of our new scholars’ forum, the John Glyn Society. Taking its name from the original Founder of the school, (John Glyn was Abraham Colfe’s predecessor as Vicar of St Mary’s Lewisham during the reign of Henry VIII,) the society is pupil-led, under the expert guidance of Miss Henderson, Head of Philosophy and Religion. The guest speaker was Michael Binyon OBE, renowned journalist and Pastmaster of the Leathersellers’ Company. He spoke brilliantly (and without notes) about the highlights of his life as a journalist, including meetings with Russian leaders ranging from Brezhnev to Putin and the collapse of the Berlin Wall. I was impressed with the quality of the questions which followed and we look forward to the next meeting. Future speakers include A C Grayling, founder and Master of the New College of the Humanities in London.

Our biennial Going Dutch event last week was an opportunity for representatives from some of the best universities in Europe to address pupils who may be looking beyond the UK for Higher Education. The conference was also attended by higher education advisers from other schools, including Westminster, Charterhouse, Sevenoaks and Marlborough. This exciting (and significantly less expensive) alternative to study in the UK has much to commend it: teaching in English, small seminar groups and interaction with a genuinely international and cosmopolitan student population, amongst other things. 

Blackheath Rugby Club provided the venue for the U15 Cup game against Eltham College on Wednesday evening, under floodlights. The game was well attended by parents on both sides despite driving rain and I was delighted to see us win an emphatic victory, 19-5. The final try, scored by Evan McDonald, involved kicking the ball along the ground from the half way line to the touch-down. Such footwork would have been welcome the previous week when the boys in the same year group lost 6-1 to Eton in the independent schools football competition. We hope that the half-term tour to Portugal will yield better football results. 

Cross Country runners put in sterling performances in the Greenwich Championships this week, which had over 400 competitors taking part. Colfe’s girls’ teams in Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 all won their respective events. In terms of individual success, Tom Simpson (Year 9) took first place and Benjamin Tynan (year 8) came 2nd. Simone Jensen and Maia Albarosa (both Year 9) also received medals, coming second and third respectively.  In netball, cup triumphs continued with our U19s reaching the Finals of the Kent Schools Netball Tournament after a winning each of their five matches by wide margins.   U13s won 32-5 against Benenden in the first round of the Independent Schools Cup and our Year 6s took Bronze in the Forest U11 Netball tournament whilst our swimmers hosted their first Prep Gala of the year against three other schools, finishing in first place by nearly one hundred points.

All Year Seven pupils have now returned from the Outdoor Pursuits week in the Lake District. As predicted by Major Cherry, my arrival coincided with the first rainfall of the week. The range of activities was a wide as ever and it was particularly rewarding to meet pupils who had just completed their first abseil, an important rite of passage for generations of Colfeians. The Sixth Form geography field trip in Wales was also blessed with abundant rain. It was likewise a great success. Half Term trips will include our annual working party travelling to the Gambia, a French residential trip to Normandy, and a rugby tour to Northern Ireland.

Last night’s House Drama competition involved upwards of 100 senior school pupils. Sixthformers directed lower school actors whose performances were unfailingly hilarious. It was great to see so many parents attending this occasion which is the first major house competition of the year. Meanwhile competitive mathematics got off to a good start with a resounding victory over Bromley High School (44-26) in the Hans Woyda Competition and St Mary’s Lewisham provided a venue for a Colfe’s art display in recent weeks which has won considerable public acclaim. Likewise our singers participated in a charity concert in Southwark Cathedral to raise money for Demelza House, one of our favourite charities.

Individual achievements in recent weeks have included the following: 
•         Old Colfeian, George Ronayne who has won a place on the prestigious one-year MA course at RADA.

•         Equestrian, Georgia Noone, Year 10, who took part in the Wales and West Show in Chepstow, her first major show Jumping Competition as a professional, achieving an impressive eighth place out of over 100 entries.

•         6th Former, Gabriella Jenkins,  who plays in the Junior Trinity Symphony Orchestra and has been invited to play bassoon with the Animate Orchestra at the Albert Hall as part of the Proms.

•         Lukas Uzkalnis  in Year 4 who is currently in Lithuania in the first of a series of dance events which will involve performances this year  in the UK and abroad. 

•         Ruby Blythe in Year 5 who raised over £400 for the Alzheimer’s Society in a four mile ‘memory walk’ at Leeds Castle in remembrance of her grandmother who died of the disease.

•         Accomplished athlete, Tom Simpson, Year 9 who competed in the Bec Cycling Club Hill climb on White Lane in Westerham, coming 6th in the U18 category. 

•         Sophia Clark Year 9 whose gymnastic team (A&V Rhythmic Team) won 3rd place in the junior group category in an international competition at Disneyland, Paris. 

With best wishes for half term
Richard Russell



Head's Newsletter 04.07.2014
Friday, July 4, 2014

The final days of this term have been an opportunity to celebrate a wonderful range of achievement throughout the school. We will also be saying farewell to a number of colleagues who will be leaving or retiring at the end of this year.

The focus of the Prep School prizegiving on Tuesday was our departing Year 6 pupils who not only received their leaving certificates but also provided all of the entertainment. School Captains and others spoke well on the stage. The Year 6 Art display, which has been in gestation since the autumn, was hugely impressive, transforming the otherwise functional surroundings of the sports hall. This event was also an opportunity for me to acknowledge our immense debt to Mrs Dawn Bennett who will be standing down as Chair of PAFA next term. She has done a fantastic job and been a tremendous force for good throughout her period of office. Many thousands of pounds have been raised by successive balls, discos, Christmas Fayres and firework displays. Dawn will remain in post officially until the Annual General Meeting next term.

For Lower 6th pupils, the second half of term has been all about UCAS and preparing for next year and beyond. Many have embarked on the Extended Project Qualification and our UCAS evening included a presentation by Colfe’s governor, Angela Brueggemann, on what constitutes a strong application. We have also heard from John O’Leary who compiles the university league tables for the Times. Ex School captain Charlie Whittaker also came back from Cambridge to support prospective Oxbridge candidates, having secured a place in the top 10% of his year cohort in Natural Sciences. Parents may be interested to know that the chances of getting an offer from some top universities, including Bristol and Warwick and the LSE, have actually improved for candidates from HMC schools such as Colfe’s in recent years. This has certainly been reflected in the impressive range of offers that I have seen this year.

The CCF staged their annual Parade Day on Saturday in the presence of Chairman of Governors, Ian Russell. The event was attended by torrential rain, testing to the limit Major Cherry’s mantra that there is “no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.”  The Returning Officer for the day was Air Vice-Marshall Martin Routledge, the most senior officer whom we have welcomed in this capacity in recent years. He was suitably and predictably impressed with our cadets.

In addition to the Chairman, other Governors and Leathersellers have been in school recently, notably for the Summer Visitation and of on Founder’s Day for the Colfe Sermon and subsequent cricket match. I am delighted to report that the school X1 were once again victorious over the Leathersellers and that their feedback after the Visitation was particularly positive. Reciprocally, the Leathersellers welcomed groups of Year7 pupils to the City earlier this week when they had access to the Guildhall and learnt much about the History of the Leathersellers’ Company, as well as about the City and its institutions. I am grateful to the Master Leatherseller, Mr Martin Pebody, for all his support this year and we look forward to welcoming his successor, Dr Anthony Watson, to Colfe’s early next term.

Forthcoming events include our first Science Fair which will take place on Friday, 11th July. Gifted pupils from a number of local state schools will be working alongside their Colfe’s counterparts on interactive laboratory workshops. They will also attend a series of mini-lectures delivered by scientists from Oxford who are at the cutting edge of their specialist areas. The initiative has been driven and developed by Colfe’s Governor, Angela Brueggemann and is part of Oxford University’s outreach programme. 
Parents may recall that I wrote to you recently to let you know about our inclusion as a case study in the national Ofsted enquiry into competitive sport in schools. This accolade has coincided happily with yet more recent success.

In athletics, four of our lower school pupils (Gabriel Foley, Luke Okosieme, Tom Simpson and James Back-Wilkins) won their events in the regional stages of the English Schools Athletics Competition. Tobi Ogunjimi, is now just .3 of a second short of the national 200 metres record for the U17 age group and Elias Balogun is currently ranked 5th in London for the 100 metres with a time of 11.31 seconds.. Five boys and girls in Years 8 and 9 have been invited to compete in the London Schools Championship and four pupils in those age groups are ranked among the top six in Kent. 

In cricket, the end of this term sees the departure of two of our most outstanding players in recent decades. Matthew Stiddard has captained the 1st X1 for the last three years and Harry Furze has played alongside him in that team for the last four years. Along with their team-mates, including Harry Graham and Abdul Rehman, they have done much to sustain the profile within the school of a sport which has suffered disproportionately from the encroachment of the public examination season. Players in other year groups are coming through strongly behind them, including Matthew Walker who continues to represent the Kent team in his year group and Prep School pupils Fiontan Logan and Finn McQueen who continue to play at county level in their age groups. Meanwhile the trajectory of girls’ cricket continues to rise, with our U13 team (which includes some Year 7 players) remaining undefeated this term.

As always, the end of the year sees the departure of a number of colleagues who have all contributed significantly to the school over a period of time, all of whom I was able to acknowledge at the Lower School Prizegiving on Wednesday. I wish to pay tribute in particular to Miss Hargrave and Mr Miller, who have both been stalwart supporters of school sport for the last 13 years. We look forward to welcoming Mr Miller back to Colfe’s before long in his new capacity as Director of Sport at Eltham College. We also hope to defeat all of his rugby teams. Mrs Vander Gucht also moves on at the end of this term, after 14 highly successful years at Colfe’s during which she has been a great force for good, both as Director of Drama and also as a Head of House. Mrs Barbara Durkin has been at the heart of the success of Colfe’s science for a decade as Head of Physics. We have benefited much from her wisdom and experience and we wish her well for retirement. Mrs Jenny Toms will also be leaving after 14 highly successful years at Colfe’s. During that time she has been not only a gifted teacher of Maths but also an outstanding Head of Year. We wish them all well for the future.

A and AS level results will be published on the 14th August, with GCSE results coming through a week later. All the indicators suggest that this will be a good year and I look forward to reporting in more detail when the results have reached us. I am confident that we will have much to celebrate. When we return in September all work on the pre-prep expansion will be complete and the Sixth Form Centre will be well under way.
I wish you all well for the summer and look forward to seeing you again at the start of next term.

Matt Horder OC, 500+KMs, 12,000+m ascent, on a bike in just four days...
Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Stage 3 - Chamonix to Chambery 4 Days, 529Kms, 12,911Ms of Climbing

When you have already completed two big rides in the last two years and asked friends, family and colleagues for donations to various charities, it is hard to ask again.  However, when you are asked to be part of a challenge to raise money for young people less fortunate than yourself it is hard to say no, so I am delighted to say that I am joining Lawrence and the Dallaglio Foundation for his third Dallaglio Cycle Slam!

Essentially the motivation for getting up the mountains of France is being able to raise money for young people affected by cancer and those who have not had the opportunities in life through their backgrounds and upbringing.

You can follow the me and see the route on the link below:

Your support would be gratefully received, for this, my biggest cycle challenge I have undertaken so far.

To kick start the journey I have put £250 into the pot.  

Best wishes


PS If you know anyone who would be interested in these causes through the Dallaglio Foundation, please feel free to pass on this email.

Headmaster's Newsletter - 23 May 2014
Tuesday, June 3, 2014

This week’s highlights have included a significant accolade for the Languages department. The Spanish Embassy in London has identified the co-operation between our Spanish department and Spanish assistant, Mary Paz Espinoza Nuñez, as the best in the country. We celebrated their achievement with a visit from educational attaché Francisco García-Quiñonero who presented a prize to Mary. Other achievements of the MFL department this term have included that of six pupils in Years 10 and 11 who passed the DELF (Diplome d’Etudes en Langue Francaise) exam which is recognized by the French government and three sixthformers who passed the prestigious Goethe-Zertifikat B1 examination, in one case (Harry Graham) with full marks in the oral component.

The last few weeks have also been a busy time for our musicians who have taken part in the Summer Platform Concert in the senior school, the House Music Finals and a voice workshop, which provided an opportunity for our singers to spend the day training with professional singing group Apollo 5. Singing was also the central focus of the tea-time concert in the prep school on Wednesday.

Pupils in Years 7 and 8 accumulated nearly 60 certificates in the recent Junior Maths Challenge, with Year 7 putting in their best performance in recent years with eight Gold awards. Well done especially to Joshua Winters, Year 8, who qualifies for the prestigious (and accordingly difficult) Junior Maths Olympiad paper.

GCSE and A Level examinations are well underway already in the senior school. Teachers have been supporting their classes right up to the day of the examination and Upper 6th students are enjoying their last official day in school today. Their collective diligence throughout this year justifies considerable optimism in respect of the results that they will achieve in August. As previously reported, the majority will progress to excellent universities next year. They have been a delightful group of pupils throughout their time at Colfe’s and we wish them well for the challenge of their final examinations. After Half Term, newly appointed School Captains, Marcus Brockman and Octavia Willoughby, will take over from Ollie Bowring and Sara Stevanovska who have done such a fantastic job this year.

Marcus, Octavia and all the other pupils in the Lower Sixth will be attending the UCAS information evening on the 16th June, to which parents (of that year group) have also been invited. Angela Brueggemann, Colfe’s Governor and Oxford scientist, will be speaking at this event at which I will take the opportunity to provide an update on recent developments in higher education myself, drawing on ongoing experience of the HMC universities committee. This year’s work experience placements for sixth formers include opportunities with King’s College Hospital, Eversheds, 10 Downing St. Policy Unit and the British Consulate in Istanbul. As ever, we are grateful to parents and Old Colfeians for their support in this important area.

School examinations for pupils in Years 7-10 will take place after half term and revision materials can be accessed through the school portal. This material is also available to parents: if any of you experience difficulty accessing the school portal please do not hesitate to contact the IT department (

The inexorable rise of girls’ cricket at Colfe’s continues, under the expert eye of Old Colfeian and English international, Susie Rowe. Events have included an U13 event which we hosted, involving 100 girls from local schools and a prep school cricket festival for local pupils in Year 5 in which Lydia Greenway, current England batswoman, played a key part.

Over 90 Colfe’s swimmers signed up to compete in our Prep school Individual Gala, involving all pupils in Year 6. I am grateful to our coaches, led by Miss Manzi and Miss Holder, who have done so much to generate this record level of involvement and enthusiasm. Our Year 7 and 8 tennis players performed strongly in the group stages of the prestigious Aegon Tennis Tournament, with our B team winning all their matches.   Our Athletes have also had a good start to the season, with Year 8 boys winning the Sutcliffe Park Invitational, and seven of our Year 9s taking part in five events each at the London Schools Combined Championships at Lee Valley.  Well done to Evan Macdonald who came third overall in a strong and numerous field, winning a bronze medal. 

Meanwhile a number of Colfe’s pupils from the Prep and Senior schools, produced some fine performances in the respected Crystal Palace Triathlon,  which attracts the top junior triathletes from across London and the South East.  Special mention to Tom Simpson in Year 8 who won his age group, even though he was competing in the Year 9 category.   We look forward to hosting the Aquathon for Greenwich Tritons next month.

Away from the sports field, there have been a number of successful trips including our Year 6 Bush Craft week in Dorset where the mackerel fishing was universally praised among staff and teachers as a highlight.  Our DOE candidates took part in a training day at Lenham in Kent, and Art and History combined for our Year 3s who took part in a very successful workshop with the charity Magic Lantern, learning more about Ancient Greek History through Art.  We are now looking forward to our popular Senior School Summer Art Exhibition which celebrates the work of our GCSE, AS and A-level students on the 5th June.  All are welcome to attend.

Individual pupil achievements this term have included:


·         Benjamin Tynan in Year 7 who won the U13s Open Competition at Sutcliffe Park in both the 400m and 800m with times of 71.36 and 2.39

·         Daphne Pratt who helped Kent Girls win the U14 County Cup in tennis, the first time Kent has won in this age group. Daphne won 12 of her 14 matches.

·         Bea and Eloise Hembrough who helped Charlton Athletic FC, qualify for the ESF national Festival Finals in July at Warwick University

·         Patrick Korsgaard-Jensen, Finlay Hollington and Joshua Hawkins in Year 5 helped Blackheath Wanderers FC, gain promotion to division A after winning the Selkent League.

·         Georga Halloumas who won a silver medal in Judo in her club championships.

·         Flautist, Natasha Dixon in Year 10 who has been offered a place to study on Saturdays at the junior department of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama from September


In conclusion, I was delighted to receive the keys to our new Pre Prep and Nursery building which was formally handed over to us yesterday. The remaining ground works will be completed between now and September. Interested parents will be invited to view the new facilities after half term.

Further details of all of these events and achievements are on the news page of the website.

With best wishes for the half term break,

Richard Russell


Headmaster's Newsletter - Wed 02 April 2014
Thursday, April 3, 2014

Last week’s seasonal events included the Spring Concert, the prep school production of Wind in the Willows, the pre-prep Easter Assembly and a presentation to Year 11 pupils and parents from the Tougher Minds team on GCSE revision. The Spring Concert featured some particularly strong choral works, involving pupils of all ages. It was also the last performing opportunity for our Upper Sixth musicians who will be deep into their A level exams at the time of the Summer Concert next term. Wind in the Willows was an enormous triumph, courtesy of Mrs Welch and Year 5 pupils. The acting and singing were consistently excellent for an hour and a half, a fantastic sustained achievement for pupils of that age.

We also welcomed U6th pupils and parents to their last ever Colfe’s parents’ evening last week. As previously reported, many of our U6th pupils are holding offers from top UK universities this year. In the light of recent HEFCE research raising once again the spectre of positive discrimination in favour of state sector pupils, I wish to make it absolutely clear that we have detected no signs of hostility to our candidates in recent years. In common with other successful independent schools, we have seen our success rate with Russell Group universities rise consistently since the introduction of tuition fees. Having attended meetings with the Vice-Chancellors of eight Russell Group universities over the last three years, I have found them to be consistent in their desire to recruit applicants of high calibre, regardless of background.

In sport our Rugby Sevens across the school have finished a very successful season culminating in three pieces of silverware with wins for our U16s, 1st V11 and U13, all of whom played exceptionally well against formidable opponents like Judd, Sevenoaks, Skinners and Kings Rochester.  The U12 netball team narrowly lost out on a gold medal at the Kent Schools Netball Tournament in Rainham by just one goal. This team have remained undefeated in league fixtures throughout the season, reinforcing the exceptional standard of netball in the school. Our younger swimmers in the Prep School performed very strongly in the Kent Primary Schools Final and finished amongst the top six schools in the competition. 

A number of pupils, colleagues, parents and friends of the school have been training for the forthcoming London Marathon and its Mini counterpart. Please sponsor them if you have not already done so. On a related theme I was delighted to hear of the success of our cross country runners in Years 7 and 8 who performed particularly well in the Greenwich Championships. Best of luck also to Huw and Evan Olding who will be running three miles round Greenwich Park at the end of April to raise money for the Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice.

Other recent beneficiaries of Colfe’s charity have been Sports Relief, The Rio Ferdinand Foundation and the Teenage Cancer Trust. Activities have included a sponsored swim (prep school) and the sports relief mile run (senior school). The single greatest generator of funds was a gala dinner, organized by Jeremiah St Fort (year 10) and other pupils who will be participating in the forthcoming Operation Wallacea expedition to Madagascar in July,  raising an impressive £66,250.

Other recent Colfeian  individual achievements include the following:

·         Music Scholar Ruby Collins who received a personal invitation to  join the prestigious Barbican Youth Orchestra featuring 54 of the top musicians in the country.

·         Saxophonist Sam Barnett who played a 20 minute gig at the Ideal Home Exhibition in London including his own compositions.  He is due to  perform as the winner of the Mayor of London’s GIGs competition at Trafalgar Square over Easter.

·         Eloise and Bea Hembrough who scored all three winning goals for  Charlton Athletic FC in their recent league match against Brentford,  earning them a special mention on Charlton’s official website.

·         Leonardo Bertocchi consolidated his Judo ranking as 3rd in UK with a silver medal in his latest competition in Belfast

·         Old Colfeian MiMi Aye who is due to release her first cookbook Noodle! next month.

Study trips to Bonn (German) and China (Geography) will be amongst the highlights of the Easter break, along with the CCF cadets’ visit to RAF Leeming. Sarah Marsh, Head of Prep goes on maternity leave today and we wish her well. Gordon James, interim Head of Prep, has been in school throughout this week and last. He is looking forward to taking over at the start of next term. I am confident that Mr James will bring the benefit of his considerable experience to Prep and Pre-prep alike, drawing on his many years of successful headship at St Aubyn’s School in Woodford Green.

Cricket teams of all ages (girls and boys) are already in training for next term and enabling works on the new Sixth Form complex will start during the break, coinciding with the removal of the temporary nursery accommodation. We have much to look forward to.

With best wishes for Easter

Richard Russell


Headmaster's Newsletter - Fri 21 March 2014
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Dear Parents

I was extremely grateful to those of you who supported the Colfe’s Careers Convention last night. Old Colfeians and parents collectively provided insight into a wide range of options for the future, including Medicine, Law, Finance, Architecture, Science, Media and Local Government. This underscores our commitment to preparing our pupils for life beyond university. Within that context I was delighted to hear recently that more than 80% of our current U6th students have now received offers from at least one Russell group university. My thanks to Mrs Cardnell, Head of Higher Education and Careers, for all that she continues to do to support our pupils in their various aspirations.

The Design Technology show on Thursday of last week was an opportunity for GCSE and 6th form pupils to display their work to pupils and parents. The pupils were encouraged to explain their work to parents and visitors, including the creative process which lies behind the completed artefacts. There is currently much excitement in the department about the planned purchase of a 3D printer and I was delighted to hear that Mrs Matthews, our head of department, has been appointed to act as an ambassador for the Arkwright Foundation which spearheads the promotion of product design in schools nationally.

Other academic achievements of the last two weeks have included that of three sixth formers who have passed the prestigious Goethe-Zertifikat B1 examination, an independent and demanding German exam which serves as official proof of language proficiency by the German Government. Congratulations to Harry Graham (who scored 100% on the oral component), Samveer Parris and Alex Winter. Other 6th Form linguists are currently being examined in the equivalent French DELF (Diplome d’Etudes en Langue Francaise) examination whilst Prep School pupils in Year 4 have been concentrating on Spanish language and culture this term including, inter alia, a hugely popular Flamenco workshop. Even pre-prep pupils have been actively engaged in languages this week, with an after school French club run by our senior school French language assistant.

Sixth Form biologists have also excelled in the National Biology Olympiad which attracted more than 5000 applicants nationwide. Sam Winter won a gold award which places him in the top 6% of the cohort. Other awards were won by Rachel Potter, Jessica Farrow and, in the L6th, by Daniel Graham, Eleonore Ocana and Oliver Vij.

Sporting highlights of note have included the following:

·         U12 netball team have won the Bromley Schools Tournament for the second year running, retaining their unbeaten record.

·         U13 rugby sevens team who took 2nd place in the Kent Tournament.

·         Brendan McMillan and Joe Kennard (Year 11) who represented Kent in an international British Schools team which won a convincing victory over a European team recruited from France Belgium and the Netherlands.

·         Prep School sailor Barnaby Marchant, Year 6, who was presented with his Intermediate Racing certificate in assembly.

·         Georgia Noone, year 9, who was one of just seven young horse riders chosen from the whole of Kent, Essex, Surrey and Sussex to try out for the coveted  Rider Development Pathway.

·         Olivia McAuliffe and Rosie Carey in Year 4 who were awarded badges in swimming proficiency after they  succeeded in swimming for one mile (64 lengths)

·         Tobi Ogunjimi who took the silver medal in the 60m event at the Kent Indoor Championships missing out on a gold medal by just 0.01 of a second.  

Girls’ cricket is already under way in preparation for next term and we wish our prep school swimmers well for their forthcoming involvement in the Kent Primary Schools Gala at Medway Park.

Meanwhile Prep school musicians Ella and Louis Richardson swept the board in the Bromley Music Festival, winning a handful of medals and the prestigious Stratford Junior Trophy for Piano (Ella) and a cup for winning the preliminary Double bass class and an award for most promising guitarist (Louis). Last week’s platform concert featured a wonderful range of musical talent and we look forward to the Spring Concert next Tuesday which will be the major music event of the term.

Most of you will know that PAFA Chair Dawn Bennett is already well-advanced with her plans for the PAFA Ball next term. Tickets remain available and details are available on the school website. Parents should also know that Dawn will be stepping down from the Chair at the end of this academic year. There will be many opportunities between now and the end of next term to thank her for all that she has done for the school during her highly successful period of office. Looking to the future, I would be like to hear from any of you who would be interested in getting more involved with PAFA next year. Please feel free to contact me direct on

With best wishes for the last week and a half of term,

Yours sincerely

Richard Russell



OC MiMi Aye (class of 97) launches cookbook
Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hello, I just wanted to contribute some news for the Colfeian journal/newsletter.

I left Colfe's in 1997 and went to Cambridge where I met my husband Simon. We're celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary this month, we had a baby called Thida last year, and I've just written my first cookbook Noodle! (Absolute Press) which is published in May and celebrates 100 noodle recipes for every occasion - stir-fries, soups, sauces, salads and snacks with flavours from across the world using wheat, rice and egg noodles to buckwheat noodles and beyond.

Thank you, MiMi  - PS here's an extract
[MiMi, if you'd like to send a copy of your book to the development office, I'd be happy to try out and review a few of the recipes! Perhaps I could persuade the school chef to try a few for lunch too... - Ed.]
meemalee's kitchen


Miles Ashdown OC wins national music competition
Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Old Colfeian Miles Ashdown has won a national competition playing the guitar in a band set up by his brother, Murray.  The band, LOWERCASE, beat hundreds of entries to win the competition to help launch bestselling children’s author Robert Muchamore’s new book “Rock Wars”.  Miles, who is taking a gap year before going to university said, “This has been an exciting year for me so far and I’m delighted that we were the winning band and got to play at Muchamore’s book launch. The competition was stressful as it was down to a public vote and I’m very grateful to all those who liked our song and voted for us.  I’m also very proud of Murray who wrote, produced, recorded and sang the band’s entry. I am also grateful for all the support and encouragement I have got from Colfe’s – particularly the music department, who have really ignited my passion for singing and encouraged me to pursue my music.”


This has been a busy time for Miles who has an offer from Kings College, London, to study Music.  Miles said,“I sang with the prestigious Rodolphus choir on New Year’s Day which was broadcast live on Radio Three and I’ve also just been accepted into the National Youth Choir.  I was also pleased that being a scholar with the London Youth Chamber Choir enabled me to be part of a film, which is out this year, called 'The Beat Beneath your Feet' starring the actor Luke Perry.  I’m enjoying my music and working hard at it; just seeing where it takes me. So far it is working out well - this is turning out to be a really exciting time.”


Headmaster's News 7 March 2014
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Half Term trips included a Classics trip to Rome, a cricket tour to South Africa and a CCF camp in Gibraltar. The whole of Year 8 departed for Outdoor Pursuits in Wales last weekend and Year 9 will soon be heading for the woods of Oxfordshire for bushcraft. These latter two trips mark the start of our annual programme of Outdoor Pursuits, with numerous pupils due to embark on Duke of Edinburgh
expeditions between now and July. Colfe’s is one of few schools which has its own Duke of Edinburgh awarding licence. This reflects the very high degree of confidence which the awarding authority has in the quality and professionalism of Chris Cherry’s operation. Chris will also oversee an enhanced programme of prep school outdoor pursuits next term, culminating in a Year 6 camp in Dorset.

I was delighted to hear that our Year 6 rugby team had made it into the final stages (last 8) of the national rugby tournament, having watched the corresponding football team winning a convincing victory over Eltham College before half term. Meanwhile our fledgling Year 3 netball team won four out of their six matches in the their first ever tournament whilst top swimmers in Year 5 and Year 6 have made it through to the finals of the Kent primary schools’ gala. Particular congratulations to Denny Ashison and Libby Bach who will compete in the finals of the 50m freestyle and breast stroke respectively. This follows a debut swimming gala for Year 3 pupils earlier this week and swimming lessons for pre-prep pupils who were keen to assure me that they could all swim when I met them coming back from the pool on Tuesday.

Further up the school, I was delighted to hear that all senior teams, including the 4th X1, were successful in their block fixture against Epsom College last Saturday. We wish them well for the corresponding fixture against Sevenoaks School tomorrow.  The Year 7 team won their first ever football fixture in the first round of the Bromley Cup, with a 3-1 victory over Hayes and a particularly impressive debut in goal
for Teddy Cameron Burke. Within the context of football, it was a particular pleasure to welcome Old Colfeian Steve Parish back to the school last week. Steve is currently Chairman of Crystal Palace, having pursued a highly successful business career since he left Colfe’s in the early 1980s. His address to an
audience of pupils, (not just footballers and not just CP fans,) was genuinely inspiring and we hope to see more of him at Colfe’s in future. 

I was also delighted to hear that the senior girls’ netball team remains apparently invincible with massive victories this week over Bromley High on Tuesday (64-14) and Hayes on Wednesday (62-2). Indeed Wednesday was a particularly busy day for sport in that we found ourselves hosting the Kent U16 Sevens Tournament at Colfe’s when the original venue was pronounced water-logged. The weather has not deterred our cross-country runners, two of whom have recently won trophies in the Greenwich and
Lewisham league. Congratulations to Maia Albarosa and particularly to Tom Simpson who came first in his most recent race. Both Maia and Tom have been selected to participate in the mini-marathon, along with Simone Korsgaard Jensen, Megan Marchant, Charlotte Kirk and Benjamin Tynan. 

Thanks, as ever, to Mrs Rayes and her colleagues for supporting such a variety of sporting activity at all levels within the school.

Away from the sports field, we have been celebrating National Book Week which, inter alia, gave me an opportunity to reiterate my loathing for Pride and Prejudice. Events have included Reading around the World, a marathon reading event involving pupils in Years 7 and 8. We are grateful to the English department and to our Librarian Mrs Cardnell who tells me that the level of book borrowing at Colfe’s has risen significantly this year. Meanwhile top mathematicians have been competing in the Intermediate Maths Challenge, with Callum Melly and Ben Andrew qualifying for the prestigious Pink Kangaroo Paper at the end of this month. Maths looks likely to be our most popular A level subject next year, incidentally, with 52 Year 11 pupils indicating that they want to study it.

Debating and public speaking also remain popular in the senior school, with conspicuous success in the recent English Speaking Union (ESU) competition. Daisy Battersby won an award for best speaker and we
look forward to hearing of  her further success in future competitions. I am grateful to Mr Dunsmore for his consistent support for this important activity. 

Other individual highlights of the last two weeks include:        

  • Anousha Li-Sue Foulds who was invited to visit the prestigiousMetallurgy Lab at Cambridge University. 
  • Ben Bowne in Year 6 who has been invited to audition for a part in the West End production of Billy Elliot.       
  • Leonardo Bertocchi who won gold at the Independent School’s Championships for the second year running.  We wish him well as he continues his training with the England squad.      
  • 6th Former James Maby who as part of the London Youth Choir sang with Brit winner Ellie Golding in the Wembley arena as part of a large charity event. Guest speakers at the event included Al Gore.
  • Samveer Parris who  acquired a prized work placement with McLaren over the

Finally, it was great to see so many Nursery parents at the reception last week, following the opening of
our wonderful new nursery classrooms
. This marks the completion of the first stage of the pre-prep expansion. The two storey extension remains on schedule and will certainly be ready for September. We look forward to the removal of the temporary nursery classrooms when the weather has improved.

Crystal Palace FC Co-owner and Chairman visits Colfe's
Friday, February 28, 2014

Old Colfeian, Co-owner and Chairman of Premiership Football Club Crystal Palace, Steve Parish, has come back to Colfe's to give an inspirational talk to pupils and teachers about how to make a success of your life.    48 year old Steve, who joined Colfe’s  in 1976, focused his talk to the packed Beardwood Theatre, on his time at school and his ingredients for success, which included the Colfeian qualities of perseverance, hard work, knowledge, integrity and leadership.  

Steve, who bought Crystal Palace FC in 2010 and sold his Advertising Company: Tag, in 2011 said, “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about Colfe’s and I am extremely grateful to the school.  It encouraged me to express my opinions and gave me a level of education and confidence which I didn’t appreciate and realise how valuable it was until I left school and met other people in the real world.  I didn’t go to university and  while my parents wanted me to go into the Insurance business, I realised that this really wasn’t what I wanted to do; it was a pivotal moment and I haven’t looked back.   It is so important to do something you enjoy and love; come to terms with what you’re good at, and persevere at it.”

Accompanying Steve was Chairman of the Old Colfeians FC, Gary Warner.  Gary was at Colfe’s with Steve and they have remained good friends ever since.  Gary said “It’s been thirty years since Steve and I were at Colfe’s and we just felt like we'd come home. Colfeians are still so friendly, down to earth and confident; it hasn’t changed. The Old Colfeians FC  is entering a new and exciting stage and I would urge the younger Colfeians, to join us when the leave school, and keep the ties and continuity with the school”

Taking questions after the talk, Steve was asked by one of the pupils why he bought Palace. He said “I’ve been a Palace Fan since I was four years old because they had a better kit at the time than other teams!  Co-owning the club was a real dream for me and I am very proud of the club and what we’ve achieved in getting into the Premiership. It’s great to meet the next generation of Colfeians who are so passionate about the game.”

12 year old Connor  Macdonald,  who has started Year 7 football training with the school, said “I enjoyed the talk because Steve Parish was successful in a sport that I really enjoy, even though he said he’d never played football!.  I liked that he also went to Colfe’s, because it made me think that I could achieve great things too.”

See also:
News Shopper Article

Old Colfeian (2007-2013) JULIE CUMMINGS tells of life as an au-pair in Paris
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

It is always good to hear that our 6th form linguists have gone on to pursue language studies, career paths or gap years involving their languages and this year is no exception.  Julie Cummings is currently working as an au-pair in Paris and has this to say about her experience so far:

“Actually living in France is very different from just studying French in the classroom; on my first day I heard “Dépêche-toi” about a million times at the school gates when collecting the children and it made me realize I would quickly have to get used to colloquial language spoken in context. 

On the other hand, A Level really prepared me well for grammar, being the only English girl in my language class, it is clear that I have covered a lot more grammar topics than the German, Spanish or Flemish people, despite the fact we are all the same level and age. 
One thing I’ve found really different about Paris is the way in which people behave on the Métro. There’s no such thing as ‘wait until people get off first’, which means that on more than one occasion I’ve missed my stop for being too polite (and perhaps naïve) in waiting for people to let me off first. I’m a little ashamed to say now I’ve adapted a more Parisian attitude and just join the masses who push on as soon as the doors open. 

Being an au pair is a unique experience; it’s very odd because the family you live with play the role of both boss and family. I would definitely recommend it for anyone who wants to take a gap year before studying languages at university; in the last 3 months my French has improved more than in 7 years in the classroom. I was counting out apples in the supermarket last week and I automatically started counting in French, I got to about 5 and realised but then was so excited I changed back to English. I’ve also noticed than I can now eavesdrop on conversations on the metro! Although these anecdotes probably sound silly, they feel like huge wins and are evidence for me that all my efforts are actually paying off. I’ve started regularly going to ‘Franglish’ events, which is a language exchange where you speak with a French person for 7 minutes in French and then change to English so you can learn from each other. It’s quite awkward at first but once you learn to not consciously conjugate verbs in your head and just speak it becomes relaxed and fun. They run events in Paris and London and I really recommend them to anyone doing A Level, it will help an incredible amount with your confidence; the oral was my biggest fear because I wanted everything I said to be exactly perfect, but I’ve realised if you just make the effort to address people in their native language, chances are they will appreciate it, regardless of how many errors you make.

In September 2014 I will be starting Bristol University to study French and Spanish, this year out has been absolutely priceless in helping me to prepare and if anyone has any more questions don’t hesitate to ask me! “ Julie Cummings French Au Pair

A fond farewell to one of our oldest Colfeians
Friday, January 31, 2014

Colfe’s school has sadly learnt that one of our oldest former Colfeians, Robert Campbell Muir has passed away, peacefully in his sleep, at the age of 104.

Robert’s daughter, Maggie, contacted the school last year when Robert moved to a retirement home near Newport Pagnell.  Maggie was keen to piece together her father’s remarkable life, and staff at Colfe’s were very happy to help. They found that Robert, who was born in 1909, was admitted to the school in September 1923 and according to Colfe’s roll book, which is used for entries pre-computerisation, and copies of the Colfensia, the old school magazine, Robert Campbell Muir lived at Belmont Park; played an active role in school life, coming 4th in the Junior Harriers race; played in the House Cricket team, and showed musical ability by singing a solo in the school concert on 15th April 1924.   

Robert’s remarkable life included service in the Army, Navy and Air Force; becoming Squadron Leader with a remarkable 59 missions in Mosquitos during WW2 and being awarded the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross), an award given for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy.  Robert remained active and lively throughout his life even making his first trip on a zip wire for his 99th birthday and living independently until he was 103.
Last year Maggie told us, “My father is absolutely delighted that he is back in touch with his old school, and is looking forward to reading the most recent Colfeian and Roebucks to see how much life has changed for modern day Colfeians.”

Robert is survived by one daughter, two Grandchldren and two great grandchildren.   The funeral will be on 11 February  at Norse Road Cemetery, Bedford.

Former Colfeian’s ten caps for England and counting...
Thursday, January 30, 2014

Old Colfeian, Sam King has just returned from the Tri-nations Championships in South Africa as part of the England Women’s Indoor Netball team – despite only playing this version of the game for just over a year.  Sam, who graduated from Colfe’s in 2000, said school had really set her on this path; encouraging her netball playing and her love of sport generally.   Sam, who is currently Head of Girl’s games at Bethany School in Kent, said, “I have always loved playing netball and when someone suggested that I went to trials for the indoor version, after watching me play 'normal' netball, in true Colfeian spirit,  I was happy to give it a go.  I was delighted when I was selected for the England squad. I have just got back from the Tri Nations in South Africa where the team played well but got knocked out by Australia in the semi-finals.”

This isn’t the first time Sam has played sport at National level “When I joined Colfe’s I was lucky enough to receive a Rank Foundation Scholarship for sport as I was playing many different sports at different levels as well as representing England in Latin Dancing.” 

Indoor Netball, thought to be the fastest and most furious form of netball played today,  has many of the rules of  usual netball but is played inside a high tension netted court so the ball never goes out of play; creating a faster pasted game which can be played in two formats either 6 players a side or 7.  32 year old Sam said “Being in the England squad is a massive commitment. We have 4 hour squad training sessions in London and Reading, and  in addition we have a programme to follow when not training as a squad. This includes a lot of fitness and skill based work. But I am enjoying it.  I currently have 10 Caps and hope to add to this in the test series against South Africa later this year.”

Sam often visits the school to support her cousins, Elspeth and Freddie who are in the prep school.  Sam feels  Colfe’s is a really important place for her “Although I was only at Colfe’s for two years in the 6th Form,  I did as much sport as possible and made use of every opportunity given to me including Netball, Hockey, Rounders, Waterpool and Swimming.   I have many fond memories of Colfe’s and I truly wish that they had accepted girls at that time in the 3rd form when I was 11 years old. I made some lifelong friends at Colfe’s but if I was to pick a few memories it would be collecting my sports prize for netball at speech day and camping on the side of a mountain in Wales for A-level PE with Captain (now Major) Cherry in charge!

“I would encourage young Colfeians who enjoy playing 'normal' netball to play fast netball as the skills are transferable to indoor and listen to your coaches/ teachers. For all Colfeians, I believe that there is a sport/ activity for everyone but you just have to find out what you love to do.”

Sam King, Colfeian, England Netball Team (front row, last on right)

Oldest Colfeian dies...
Tuesday, January 28, 2014

STOP PRESS: "I am sorry to have to inform you at Colfe’s, but your oldest old boy passed away last night (27 Jan 2014) peacefully in his sleep

From March 2013: Colfe’s school has recently had the extraordinary pleasure of being contacted by the family of a fomer Colfeian, now living in a retirement home, aged 104. Robert Campbell Muir was born in 1909, and according to our records, was admitted to Colfe’s on 11th September 1923. Robert has only just recently moved out of independent living to reside in a retirement home near Newport Pagnell and his daughter, Maggie, contacted the school as part of her work, piecing together her father’s remarkable life. 

Maggie said “I really wanted to research my father’s life history, particularly his school days, which he has only recently begun talking about. While going through his papers I came across a letter informing him that he had been granted a London County Council scholarship in 1923 to Colfe’s . I believe his brother Cyril also went to the school. My father thinks his mother had to persuade the headmaster to accept my father as Cyril hadn’t always been a model pupil. He was 9 years older and apparently quite a rebellious individual! I am delighted to be in touch with the school and so grateful for all Colfe’s hardwork in plugging some very important gaps in my father’s early years. Thank you especially to your archivist and librarian Mrs Cardnell, who kindly took the time to find out more about my father’s school life.” 

According to Colfe’s roll book, which is used for entries pre-computerisation, and copies of the Colfensia, the old school magazine, Robert Campbell Muir lived at Belmont Park. He played an active role in school life, coming 4th in the Junior Harriers race, played in the House Cricket team, and showed musical ability by singing a solo in the school concert on 15th April 1924. 

Maggie, a former history teacher, thinks there no doubt this is her father, “My father was, and still is, very musical. In fact I have in front of me the programme of a concert called “The Summer Show” and “Concert for East Dulwich”, dated 25th August 1923, which lists my father as Master Bobby Muir– The Hastings Boy Soprano. He sang ‘Keep your Toys Laddie’ (Ketelbey) and ‘Roses’ (Adams). For most of his life he was a very keen member of Amateur Operatic Societies and he was also very sports orientated too.” 

Robert’s remarkable life has included service in the Army, Navy and Air Force, including becoming Squadron Leader with a remarkable 59 missions in Mosquitos during WW2 and being awarded the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross), an award given for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy.” 

Robert’s civilian life took him from banks to retail businesses until his retirement in 1970 when he relocated to Spain and Andorra. In the 1990s (now in his 90s) Robert returned to Britain, driving himself home through France and taking up residence in Bedford until two years ago. 

Now retired herself, Maggie said “My father has remained true to his sporty nature and he even made a trip on a zip wire for his 99th birthday! He is absolutely delighted that he is back in touch with his old school, and is looking forward to reading the most recent Colfeian and Roebucks to see how much life has changed for modern day Colfeians !”

Professional Racing Driver, Richard Bradley OC meets upcoming racing protege Luke Ide
Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Former Colfe’s student has taken time out of his busy schedule in the motor racing world to meet with aspiring and talented kart driver in year 9, Luke Ide.  22 year old Richard Bradley has been pursuing a successful career in professional Motor racing since leaving Colfe’s in 2009 and is currently living in Hong Kong, driving in Japan’s equivalent of Formula 1; the Super Formula.  Richard said “Motor racing is very popular in Japan and it has been a fantastic honour to be supported by Toyota.  There are many different types of racing and this is single seat driving, with a top speed of over 200 miles per hour attracting around 70,000 spectators to each race. Some of the best in the world are taking part in this series; I’ve been driving against ex-formula one drivers which has certainly made this the best year of my racing life so far. I am not always able to come back to the UK so this was really special; I’m grateful for Colfe’s for organising this and the chance to meet my former teachers like Mr Drury. It was great to meet Luke as well and pass on any advice I can; that’s what Colfeians do for each other.”

Richard told Luke about how he had got to where he was, “I was lucky and have always been talented at racing.  While I was at school I won just about every race I could win; I was British Cup Champion twice and was in the world championships qualifying top 6.  In 2009 I led the European Championships which was a fantastic experience, and at that point I decided to try my hand at professional racing. It is tough and competitive and you are really only as good as your last race because that’s how you get the support from companies like Toyota. Japan has been a fantastic experience for the last three years, but I want to try and win a World Championships and am now looking into the World Endurance Championships (another type of racing). It’s about always challenging yourself and taking it to the next level.”

13 year Luke who hopes to move on to an international championship this year, said he was very pleased to have met Richard, “I’m so grateful to Colfe’s for organising this and to Richard for giving me some really good advice.  He told me that I’ve got to work harder and be fitter than anyone else and that way I can beat others even if they are driving better cars.  He also told me how important my education is. It has really helped and was very inspiring.”

Headmaster's Newsletter - Fri 17 January 2014
Friday, January 17, 2014

The start of the Spring Term has brought welcome news for many of our U6th university applicants, 75% of whom are now holding offers from at least one Russell Group university. Oxbridge offers have included two for Law at Cambridge. Matthias Nichols has received an offer from Oxford to read English with a choral award at Exeter College. All will be considering their options with care in the weeks ahead and some may decide to favour universities which do not enjoy Russell Group status for good reasons: Bath University, which I visited earlier this week, is amongst the most popular destinations with our pupils. Although it does not belong to the Russell Group, it features at the top of student satisfaction surveys and its courses in Engineering, Science and the social sciences are amongst the best on offer nationally. We will continue to support all our 6th Form pupils in their university aspirations.

Meanwhile Year 11 pupils have been sitting mock GCSE examinations over the last two weeks. We shall review the results with particular interest this year, following the pupils’ engagement with the Tougher Minds programme since the start of the academic year. On a related point, I am grateful to Mr Foster, Mrs Cobbin, Ms Paull  and other colleagues who gave up time in the second week of the Christmas holiday to supervise revision sessions in the school library.

Much of my own time recently has been spent meeting Year 6 parents following the senior school entrance examination last Saturday. The field of candidates was strong and numerous, with an almost equal number of boys and girls. Feedback from the parents whom I have met about their experience in the school hitherto has been unfailingly positive, for which I have my colleagues in the Prep School to thank.

Prep School parents know that Mrs Marsh will be departing on maternity leave later this term. I am delighted to report that I have appointed Mr Gordon James as the interim Head of Prep for the period of Mrs Marsh’s absence. Mr James is a very experienced Prep School Head whom I have known for many years. He retired last summer from St Aubyn’s Prep School in Woodford Green after 20 years of highly successful leadership. He is looking forward to meeting Colfe’s Prep parents between now and Easter. Mr James will also oversee the running of the Pre-prep and Nursery for the period of Mrs Redman’s absence.

The sporting year has started well with a successful block football fixture against Brighton College, involving boys in Year 9 and above. The 1st X1 were amongst the victorious teams in the matches, all of which were played in good spirit. Other noteworthy sporting successes have included that of the U15A girls’ hockey team which defeated Alleyn’s in a particularly close contest and, in swimming, Millie Bach who won a silver medal in the 100m freestyle in the Kent Schools’ Championships, less than two years after an injury which rendered her unable to walk- a remarkable achievement indeed.

Our sporting prowess will doubtless be enhanced by the return of Old Colfeian, Susie Rowe whose success at national level in both hockey and cricket will inspire the next generation of Colfe's pupils who will benefit from her coaching in both sports. We are also delighted to welcome Mark Wilson to the PE and Games department. Mark joins us from Cape Town in South Africa, having represented the Western Province in rugby, cricket, hockey and water polo. He is currently getting to grips with the rules of association football. Both Mark and Susie will be teaching games in the senior and prep schools.

Although the term is only two weeks old I am delighted to congratulate the following pupils on a range of outstanding achievements:

  •       Matthew Walker (Year 8) who has been selected for the Kent U13 cricket squad.
  •       Leonardo Bertocchi (Year 11) who has made it into the England Judo Squad after performing outstandingly well throughout 2013.
  •       Tobi Ogunjimi, also Year 11, who is currently ranked  number 2 for his age in the UK in Athletics for the 200m sprint after winning the New Year Athletics Competition at Lee Valley.
  •       Nancy Pilkington in Year 3 who won a Bronze Medal in the London Regional Gymnastics Competition in Floor and Vault.
  •       Tom Simpson (Year 8) who may have secured a place in the Kent team for the UK inter-counties Championships, after coming seventh at the Kent Cross Country Championships.
  •       James Maby (U6th) a member of the London Youth Choir and a choral scholar, who took part in a world premiere ‘staging’ of Haydn’s ‘Creation,’ organised by the charity Vocal Futures.

Further details of these achievements are on the school website.

We have much to look forward to as we wait for the rain to stop. The new Nursery Building will be ready for occupation after half term and the remainder of the Pre-prep extension is on schedule for completion later this year. Work on the new Sixth Form complex will commence at Easter. Dawn Bennett, who continues to work so tirelessly for the benefit of the school, has asked me to let you know that the plans for that development will be presented by the school architects at the forthcoming PAFA meeting.

With best wishes for the term ahead

Richard Russell


Headmaster's Newsletter - Thu 18 December 2013
Thursday, December 19, 2013

Last night’s Carol Service in St Mary’s Lewisham was a wonderful occasion, featuring music from six school choirs. The volume of the senior choir was enhanced by the presence of a growing number of enthusiastic parents whilst, further down the age range, the Pre-prep and Nursery performance was spontaneously (and unusually in an English church!) applauded by the congregation. Thanks to Miss Collinson, Mrs Watts and Mrs Hall. We were also grateful to Father Steve Hall, Vicar of St Mary’s and, as such, successor to Abraham Colfe. Steve has agreed to preach the Colfe’s Sermon in St Mary’s next June.

The spirit of Christmas was also reflected last week in two delightful Pre-prep and Nursery productions which played to capacity audiences in the school theatre. Once again, Mrs Hall and her colleagues brought the best out of their pupils, all of whom will have gained greatly in confidence from the experience. It was good to see so many proud grandparents at these productions as well.

It has been another busy term for PAFA, culminating in a highly successful Christmas Fayre last Friday which was attended by pupils from the Prep, Pre-prep and Nursery. The event was a huge success, raising almost £3,500 for the NSPCC, thanks not least to the generosity of local businesses which donated valuable raffle prizes. It was also great to see so many of you at the PAFA fireworks event at the Old Colfeians’ ground the previous week. We are hugely indebted to PAFA Chair, Dawn Bennett, for the fantastic success of both these events, in which she played a central part. 

Other charitable work carried out in school recently has included our response to the Philippines Disaster relief fund which culminated in two Colfe’s minibuses transporting clothes to the departure point in Essex two weeks ago. Meanwhile the senior school has raised £5,000 this year already for a variety of charities like Meningitis Now and Jeans For Genes. Each of the senior houses makes its own decisions about what charity they want to support and the pupil organize the events themselves.

In the senior school the study of ScienceArt and Classics has been enriched by off-site visits, firstly to the leading London Research Institute, funded by Cancer UK and, secondly, to the British Museum where Year 7 pupils studied Greek and Roman antiquities from Classics and Art perspectives. Meanwhile Year 7 linguists spent last Sunday at the Lille Christmas market. Other activities organised by the Modern Languages department have included an early morning breakfast club with visiting speakers for whom language use is a central aspect of their working lives.

Thinking Skills, a spin-off from the senior school Tougher Minds programme, has been introduced in the Prep school with great success. Initially part of the enrichment programme, this is now being embedded in mainstream lessons to great effect. On a related note, Year 11 pupils and parents attended a meeting last week with presentations from Jon Finn (Tougher Minds), Mr Foster (Head of GCSE Performance) and Mr Seddon (Head of Spanish). The main focus of the evening was effective revision techniques, with the January mock exams in mind, but it was also an opportunity for pupils and parents to reflect on the impact that our very distinctive approach is having in subject learning.

Mainstream school sport this term has been complemented by the introduction of lessons in fencing and karate. Having demonstrated their strength in netball and hockey, our U12 girls turned their attention to football two weeks ago and came second out of eight Kent schools in the tournament. Victories over other independent schools including Alleyn’s and Blackheath High have been at the heart of a more than usually successful hockey season and the senior rugby teams finished a good season with a block fixture against Cranbrook.

Recent individual achievements have included the following:

  • Talented saxophonist, Sam Barnett who passed grade 8 with distinction despite being just 12 years old. Sam recently appeared as a solo artist at Birmingham LG Arena.
  • Leonardo Bertocchi, who has consolidated his cadet ranking as 3rd in the UK after winning a bronze medal at the British Championships. Congratulations also to Year 8 student Georga Halloumas who was competing in the U57kg category for the first time.
  • Prep school student, Ella Richardson, who passed a tough audition to get into the National Children’s Orchestra for the second year running an impressive feat, and Year 6 pupil, Arunabh Bagchi who was invited into the National Youth Choir after being encouraged to audition by Prep music teacher Mrs Watts.
  • Fiontan Logan and Finn McQueen (both Year 6) who have been selected for the U11 Kent cricket squad.

Photographs of many of the school activities are published on the school’s “Flickr” feed here.

In conclusion, I wish to express our thanks to Mrs Turrent and Mr Stewart who will both be leaving the senior school at the end of this year. Mr Stewart will be taking on a challenging new role as Head of Drama at the Walworth Academy and Mrs Turrent will be retiring after 14 years of tireless commitment to learning support in the senior school. We wish them both well.

I look forward to seeing all our pupils back in school on the 7th January.

With best wishes for Christmas and New Year

Richard Russell

Headmaster's Newsletter - Fri 15 November 2013
Friday, November 15, 2013

Dear Parents

Last weekend was more than usually busy for the Colfe’s CCF squadron. The Remembrance Day service on Sunday at the Horn Park War Memorial was better attended than I can recall and did more than justice to the dignity of the occasion. It was particularly good to welcome back Old Colfeians who have recently returned from active service in Afghanistan, including Harry Garston who joined Gregory Jones, President of the Old Colfeian Society, myself and the School Captains of senior and prep schools in the laying of wreaths. Major Cherry addressed the whole school in Assembly on Monday morning, focussing primarily on real life portraits of Old Colfeians who had fought and died in the Great War. I am grateful not only to Chris Cherry but also to parent Andy Whittaker who has been doing a lot of valuable work in the school archives recently.

On a related point, it was a matter of regret to us that the material we submitted to Anthony Seldon for his recent book about the English Public Schools and the Great War seems not to have made the cut. I was particularly disappointed that Dr Seldon, erstwhile Deputy Head at St Dunstan’s, failed to mention the fact that distinguished author and, regrettably, something of a fascist, Henry Williamson was an Old Colfeian, whilst Victor Yeates was, to the best of my knowledge, the only Royal Flying Corps (subsequently Royal Air Force) novelist to have served in Great War.

The half term break saw a number of trips. Most notably, it marked our tenth working party to the Gambia. This is a unique project and our relationship with the Kotu School is stronger than ever. We are indebted to Dr Thompson for his tireless support of this important link. Elsewhere in Africa, 6th Former Oliver Deane, spent the break volunteering at an orphanage in Uganda. The senior netball team went swimming with dolphins (and playing netball) in Jamaica. The team came back in good heart and have won all their matches since they returned, winning the Eltham College Tournament convincingly last week. Also in netball, our U12 girls defeated Langley Park and the U14 team came 9th out of 50 schools in the Kent Tournament.

Two of our top rugby teams played against Langley Park under floodlights at Beckenham last Friday, performing impressively in both cases. The U15 team were (just) victorious and have made it through to the next round of the Daily Mail Cup. Although the 1st XV went out of the competition they performed well, perhaps anticipating the challenge of the Eltham College fixture this weekend. We wish all our teams well in this important local derby.

The recent successes of our ex-pupils include that of Max White, currently studying at Birmingham University, who has been awarded a prestigious Royal and Ancient golf scholarship. The specialist academic course which he is following at Birmingham is the only one of its kind to enjoy PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) accreditation. Meanwhile our Cross Country runners in years 7 and 8 did exceptionally well when Colfe’s hosted the first race of the Greenwich and Lewisham League earlier this week with the boys’ team winning and the girls’ team coming second.

Senior school Mathematicians have continued their run in the prestigious Hans Woyda , this time with victory over Bromley High School. The end result (40-29 in our favour) was convincing although the team (Joseph Mafe, Oliver Skeates, Callum Melly  and Vinesh Ravindran started slowly and caused Dr Vijapura a degree of unease. Prep school pupils were also busy with Maths this week, enjoying a specialist programme which included maths workshops and outside visitors.

Other Prep school achievements in the last fortnight have included the following:

·         Ben Bowne and Barnaby Marchant in year 6 represented Colfe’s at the IAPS Regatta in Oxford.  This is the first time the school has entered anyone for this prestigious event we are grateful to Mrs Pearson for her characteristically enthusiastic support of this new initiative. 

·         Ella Richardson and her brother Louis won trophies and medals in the Beckenham Music Festival, one of the largest amateur music events in the South East.  Louis’ accolades included an award for being the most promising guitar player in the entire event.

·         Elsbeth Green, Mia Connell, Denny Ashison and Caela Joy all won prizes in a national art competition organised by French Company Jacadi. Caela’s card design did especially well, securing a top prize of £250 of vouchers.

 Other highlights of the week included our youngest pupils in the Pre Prep and Nursery laying a Time Capsule in the foundations of what will become the new school hall. Our senior school chess players embarked on a series of masterclasses with former India Champion and FIDE Rated player, Anuradha Beniwal, a fantastic opportunity to learn what it takes to be a world class player.

Many thanks, in conclusion, to those of you who have signed up to offering internships for our Lower 6th pupils this summer.  We have already compiled a fantastic list of placements in finance, medicine and law. Any of you who still want to get involved should feel free to contact Mrs Cardnell or Mrs Burton in the careers or 02084638123 or Jacqui Burton at

With best wishes to you all

Richard Russell

Old Colfeian earns Royal and Ancient Scholarship
Thursday, November 14, 2013

Former pupil Max White  has continued his success in golf in his first few months at University culminating in a Scholarship award from R&A (Royal and Ancient) golf’s governing body.

19 year old Max is studying on the highly sought after course, Golf Management studies at Birmingham University; the only course in the world where you can become a member of the PGA (professional Golfers Association).  Max made it on to the Universities Elite Golf team, representing the university on three occasions; winning 7/6,7/5 and 3/2 against various universities. Eventually Max was spotted by the Royal and Ancient who offered him a scholarship.

Max said “The scholarship was a real surprise and an added bonus as it will help pay for golfing equipment and membership to the gym.  The R&A have also invited me to play in the scholar’s competition which is held at St Andrews next year.  I also have an interview at Royal St Georges for my work placement in the summer, which would be fantastic if I get it. It couldn’t have gone better so far and I am really enjoying my time at university. This Wednesday the Birmingham team played Loughborough and won 5-1 ; I won my match 6/4, which was very satisfying!  Keeping up this level takes hard work and commitment but I’ve made some great friends and good contacts in the golfing world so it is a great experience.”

Director of Sixth Form, Spencer Drury said “I am really pleased for Max and I’m delighted that he continues to do exceptionally well at golf.   Max really embodies the school’s values of hard work and determination; he has never given up when things didn’t quite go to plan and it is definitely paying off for him now.  Well done Max, we’re delighted for you.”

Colfeian Remembrance Parade 2013
Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hundreds of Colfeians past and present, along with their parents and other guests gathered at the Old Colfeian War Memorial on Sunday 10 November 2013 to pay their respects to the fallen. We were particularly lucky this year to be joined by Sqn Ldr Rakesh Patel, Lt Harry Garston (Royal Regiment of Fusiliers) and Lt Dan Smith, Army Air Corps. All former cadets at Colfe's School and all currently serving Old Boys. All are welcome in 2014.

Created with flickr slideshow.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013

An article appeared in the Daily Telegraph of Wednesday 6th November 2013 ( ) in which Anthony Seldon (headmaster of Wellington College) reveals how the experiences of his Grandfather (Wilfred Willett) in the war had a profound effect on his family and still do today. For the Colfe’s community it is very interesting to read that Mr Willett had a long standing friendship with Henry Williamson (Old Colfeian) which started in Ypres but ended when politics drove them apart and the latter’s career as a writer prospered as the former’s did not. 
Henry Williamson (1896 - 1977) attended Colfe’s from 1907 to 1913. He enlisted in the London Rifle Brigade in 1914 and served in France throughout the war after which he became a naturalist, farmer and author of many novels. He is perhaps best known for Tarka the Otter, for which he was awarded the Hawthornden Prize in 1928, although he also has a large fan base for his Patriot’s Progress series and the semi-autobiographical Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight series. The school archive contains a collection of his works, many first editions, and the proceedings of the Henry Williamson Society. Williamson was a great friend of Victor Maslin Yeates (OC 1907 to 1913) who joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1917 and flew 248 hours in Sopwith Camels, scoring 5 victories which made him an “ace”. Williamson encouraged him to write and publish, in 1933, his war time experiences in the semi-autobiographical “Winged Victory”. 
A request from Anthony Seldon during the summer of 2012 about the contribution of Public schoolboys in World War I led to us thinking about the centenary of the outbreak of the war next year. I sent a copy of Leland L Duncan’s book (Colfe’s Grammar School and the Great War) to Mr Seldon and then Andy Whittaker, parent of Tom (Year 12), very kindly filled in the questionnaire we had been given having combed the school archive and internet for material. A very interesting picture emerged and we wait with interest receipt of the book to see if any of our material made the cut. 

There are many interesting, heroic and tragic stories about Old Colfeians during the First World War and we are intending to produce a display next year to honour them and raise awareness of current pupils of the sacrifice made by young men in the now ironically styled “war to end all wars”. 

Public Schools and the Great War by Anthony Seldon and David Walsh is published by Pen & Sword Books and is on offer at £20.00 on their website. 
( ) 

Judy Cardnell 
With many thanks to Andy Whittaker for his on-going contribution. 

Headmaster's end of term letter
Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dear Friends

The final days of term have brought yet more news of spectacular pupil achievement. I was particularly delighted to hear that James Back-Wilkins (Year 7), having set a new school record for the 100 metres at Sports Day last week, has now exceeded even his own expectations with a time of 12.49 In the Greenwich Schools Athletics Championships earlier this week. This is the fourth fastest time recorded nationally in the 100 metres for his age group this year. Our Year 10 girls came first in the team competition, winning nine out of 12 events.

Meanwhile our U13 girls’ cricket team, current Kent champions, have won another tournament, this time at Sutton Valence, defeating Sevenoaks School in the final. I think it likely that we will extend girls’ cricket further next year, given the spectacular success of our U13 pioneers.

The Prep and Lower School prizegiving ceremonies earlier this week were an opportunity to reflect on a year of fantastic achievement throughout the school. The Prep School Art work which graced both occasions was exceptional. It was rewarding to get such positive feedback from parents after both events. The Chairman of Governors, Ian Russell, and the Master Leatherseller, Matthew Pellereau, who chaired the respective occasions, enjoyed the opportunity to meet parents directly and gained an equally positive impression, for which I am of course deeply grateful!

The CCF Parade last Saturday was another recent highlight, with record numbers of new recruits passing out. Our pupils looked and sounded impeccable, as ever a great credit to the School. Year 6 pupils had an opportunity to try the CCF the previous week, engaging in a range of activities which all seemed to involve camouflage. I remain grateful to Chris Cherry for all that he continues to do to promote our unique CCF squadron and Outdoor Pursuits in general.

It would of course be impossible to enumerate all the great achievements of this academic year and I hope that our fortnightly bulletins have kept you informed as we have been going along. I am grateful to Liz Drury who has been as tireless as ever in collecting the material for those publications. I hope that you will continue to let her know of newsworthy exploits, particularly those which happen outside school and might not otherwise be on our radar.

It would be equally impossible to do justice in words to those of my colleagues who leave or retire at the end of this academic We say farewell and thanks this year to a number of teaching colleagues, including some who have been with us for some time. Thanks firstly to Liz Lyons (biology), Hannah Rue (English) and Sandra Kuehl (HOD French) for all that they have helped their pupils to achieve over the last four years. They all have exciting plans for the future and we wish them well.

We will also miss Mr Nigel Crowe when he relocates to Istanbul this summer. Mr Crowe has been an inspiring and occasionally controversial colleague who has thrown himself (sometimes literally) into just about every aspect of school life over the last eight years. We shall miss him greatly.

Mrs Linda Douglas retires after 24 years coordinating learning support in the Prep School. She has been a tireless supporter of her pupils, some have achieved spectacularly at a much later stage, gaining strings of A*s at GCSE and going on to Russell Group universities. Her work in the early stages has been invaluable and she will be greatly missed. We wish her well for her retirement which, it is rumoured, will entail some intrepid travel plans.

Mr Simon Smith has also played many parts on the stage that is Colfe’s in the course of almost three decades of distinguished service to the school. His main contribution has been to Design and Technology but he has also been hugely involved in the Arts at Colfe’s, most recently as Chair of the Arts Committee. We wish him well for his retirement.

Mr Andy Brooker has been here for 49 years in one capacity or another, first as a pupil, then as Director of Sport, Director of Development and, more recently, running the boys’ games programme in the prep school. His dedication to the school has been consistent throughout that time and we wish him well for his retirement.

Mr Phil Cummins is also retiring, after a distinguished career in the school which has spanned four busy decades. Both he and Mr Brooker were originally employed by Colfe’s Grammar School prior to our conversion to the independent sector in 1977. A man of many parts, Mr Cummins has been Head of Physics, Head of Science, Head of IT and Timetabler-in-chief. He has also made his mark in athletics and karaoke. We wish him well for his well-deserved retirement.

Finally, Dr Robert Thompson will be retiring from his senior roles as Assistant Director of 6th and HOD English. Dr Thompson has been with us for 32 years, a tremendous force for good throughout that time. He will not be leaving altogether, however, but will remain with us to continue to strengthen our link with the Kotu School in the Gambia and support our university applicants in the 6th Form.

My other colleagues will all be back at the end of August after a well-deserved summer break. I hope you will also enjoy the summer and I look forward to seeing everybody back in school next term. We have much to look forward to.

Yours sincerely

Richard F Russell

OC and current parent David Montague awarded CBE!
Tuesday, July 16, 2013

An old Colfeian, whose three children now attend the school, has been awarded a CBE in The Queen’s birthday honours list.

David Montague who left Colfe’s in 1980, is Chief Executive of the housing trust, London & Quadrant (L&Q) and was awarded the honour for services to housing in London.

David, who joined Colfe’s for its last year as a Grammar School, said “I am naturally delighted by this award; in fact I can’t really believe it.  The whole process is veiled in secrecy; you are nominated by someone who remains anonymous and then it goes through a vigorous scrutiny process of selection, involving the cabinet office, the prime minister and finally the Queen; and out of all of the of names put forward, I still have no idea why mine was picked out, but I’m absolutely delighted.  It’s a real honour."

David, whose children Alfie, Harvey and Evie all attend the senior school, joined L&Q, the largest landlord in London, after brief spells at the MOD and the GLC.  After training as an accountant, he became the charities Finance Director in 2003 and its Chief Exec, five years later. L&Q now has a £12 billion asset base and invests £450 million every year into homes and communities.

David is passionate about his work, “I’m very proud of what L&Q has achieved. We are a profitable organisation, with all money going back into our charitable aims.  After the 2007 global financial crisis and the bursting of the U.S housing bubble, this has been a far from easy time in the housing market yet through this, L&Q, as a charity, has grown to over 70,000 homes. Our sustainable model means we can do it without relying on any government funding.  I believe we are setting a model for the way forward in the future of housing.

“Fifty years ago when L&Q was established, the council housing waiting lists in London had 48,000 families on them.  In 2013 it is now 380,000.  To buy the average home you will need a deposit of £105,000 and to earn around £90,000.  Affording a home is moving further and further away for the average person and political parties now recognise that we are facing a crisis in the housing market. I’m very proud that I am part of a company that is leading the way in providing a positive sustainable housing model for the future.  I am one of 1,200 people who work in the company; a small part of a large team, so I feel this CBE is recognition for the whole company and for the important work that L&Q does.”

David says he treasures his time at Colfe’s. “I have incredibly fond memories of my time at school and when I am come back into Colfe’s with my children, the memories come flooding back. Some things have changed obviously but so many things have stayed the same.  One thing though, is the swimming pool, which in my day was open air so I think that is a particularly positive change!

“There is something really special and unique about Colfe’s.  It gives you so much confidence.  Colfeians are surrounded by a community who care; they care about each other; their education, the place they live and the world around them.  Colfe’s turns out very well rounded adults and I’m pleased my kids go there. There’s no doubt that Colfe’s is a very important part of my success.”

Two Colfeians represent an unbeaten Lambs tour of Ireland
Monday, April 29, 2013

Colfeians Elliot Roofe and Charlie Banks represented the Independent Schools RFC on an unbeaten tour of Ireland. Elliot scored a try against Ulster and Charlie Banks was named 'Back of the season' - read the match report here.

OC Adam Gibbs performing at St John's Smith Square
Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On 29 June, OC Adam Gibbs, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music is performing in a classical Summertime Gala Concert at St John's Smith Square, a stone's throw from the Houses of Parliament, supporting DIY Diabetes

OCs punishing themselves to raise funds for Phil Matania (late OC)
Friday, March 8, 2013

Phil Matania (class of 1979) died in October 2012 from a rather agressive form of skin cancer. He leaves a wife and two daughters.

No less than 50 of his friends, including six OCs! are running The Major Series race in Tunbridge Wells on Sat 9 March.

They're hoping to raise £10,000 for the hospice in the Weald where he died just 12 weeks after being diagnosed and are already well on their way!

If you knew Phil or are interested in donating, check out his facebook group.

OC Toyin Olaniyi is doing good things!
Thursday, February 14, 2013

Old Colfeian Toyin Olaniyi is doing a sponsored triathlon to raise money for Raleigh International - a youth and sustainability charity. Donations help young volunteers from around the world to contribute to sustainable projects in developing communities, fight global proverty and conserve the environment. She's hoping to travel to India at the end of June 2013 for 10 weeks as part of an international team of volunteers, working on projects to tackle education, health, livelihoods, civil society and the environment.

OC John Hayes, Energy Minister interviewed in Parliament's Magazine
Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Old Colfeian and Energy Minister, John Hayes (class of 77) was interviewed for The House - Parliament's Magazine recently.

'John Hayes is assuming a boxer’s stance, bobbing and weaving like a pro. “It’s all about the hips and the feet...not the fists,” he explains as he shows off his pugilism to our photographer.

In his short but heavyweight reign as Energy Minister, Hayes has already proved he can duck the punches as well as dish them out. Flying like a butterfly and stinging like a bee is the political modus operandi for the combative MP for South Holland and the Deepings.

Yet this quintessentially English politician would be the first to admit he’s more Henry Cooper than Mohammad Ali. Like Cooper, Hayes is a proud south Londoner who boxed as a boy. And like Cooper, he grew up on a council estate.

That may come as a surprise to those who know him only for his oratorical flourishes in the Commons, his sentences decorated with rococo phrasing and elaborate, extempore accounts of political theory and history.

But John Hayes is nothing if not full of surprises. And today, ahead of the serious business of the Energy Bill and in the wake of the Mid-Term Review, perhaps his biggest surprise is... read the full article here'

Congratulations! You are now members of the Old Colfeian Society
Friday, December 7, 2012

We are extremely pleased to announce that on Wednesday 28 November 2012, The Old Colfeian Society was formed. The Society consists of all former pupils of Colfe's School over the age of 16 and current and former staff of the school. The Officers of the Management Committee now comprise:

  • President – Greg Jones QC
  • Chairman – Martin Cartwright
  • Hon. Sec. – Vernon Leese
  • Hon. Treas. – Ian Harjette
  • Membership Officer – Alan Ward (this is a temporary position for 1 year which will liaise with the development office)
  • Committee Members x 3:
    • Peter Reynolds
    • Chris Cherry
    • James Cleverly

Final terms of reference are to be decided, but it was agreed that the OCS exists:

  • to keep together Old Colfeians and enable them to pursue matters of mutual interest.
  • to assist Old Colfeians in maintaining contact with and supporting Colfe's School.
  • to encourage membership of, and support for, the activities of other Colfeian entities.

For more information, please contact the Chairman.

Colfeian Bright Young Things
Thursday, November 15, 2012

Many of our talented former Sixth Formers have been taking their first steps towards their chosen careers since leaving Colfe’s. The website caught up with two of our most recent graduates. Eighteen year olds Max White, and Florence Yilma, left Colfe’s Sixth Form in the summer after finishing their A levels.

Max has already started on the path to becoming a professional golfer, after winning the respected Kent ‘Order of Merit’. Max was awarded the prestigious title after scoring the highest number of points for his best six Kent Golf competitions, entered throughout the year. This makes Max the most successful golfer in the county for 2012. Max was presented with a trophy and the prize of a £300 Golf Trolley at an awards dinner at the end of August. He said it was a great honour “I was sat at the Champions table with many influential and successful golf professionals, including some England players. I was very pleased because the award is based on your best six games in the year and I was delighted to have done so well.”

max white

Max, who currently plays off scratch, is taking a year out to further improve his game, and hopes to start a degree course next year. He said, “I am using this year to further improve my handicap and my game in general and then I hope to get onto a Golf Course in Birmingham. This is the only course in the world where you finish it, PGA qualified as a professional and also with a degree. However for every 500 applications there are only 24 places, so it is extremely competitive. I am currently playing for the Kent Colts, so hopefully I can take this year to work hard and enjoy my golf.”

Max is playing in the Kent Winter Trials which start in Deal this Sunday.

Talented musician and singer, Florence Yilma, who also graduated from Colfe’s in the summer, has already had the opportunity to sing at the prominent jazz club Ronnie Scott’s. Flo started her BMus degree in Jazz vocals at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama this September, and performed at Ronnie’s during a late night Jam Session with other musicians. She said, “I have a really good friend who often plays Bass at the club and it led to me asking if I could sing at one of the open jam Sessions. This is an opportunity for musicians to get up and perform and was a really great experience. I really valued being able to put myself forward and perform. I sang a Ballad called Stardust, which went down really well and I had a number of very positive comments afterwards.

florence yilma

“I’m really enjoying life at the Guildhall, but it is quite difficult as there is so much to learn; even just getting used to the new timetable has been challenging! Performing at places like Ronnie Scott’s though, and getting out there and networking, is really why I stayed in London and it’s definitely living up to my expectations so far.”

Head of Sixth Form Mr Drury said, “Our Sixth Form is full of talented, hardworking and committed students who then go on to make a positive contribution in the outside world. Max and Flo are two good examples of that and it’s wonderful to know our former pupils are going on to do so well.”

The Colfeian Remembrance Parade 2012.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Colfeian Remembrance Parade took place on Sunday 11 November 2012 at the Old Colfeians' Club.

At 10.50 The Army Air Corps and Royal Air Force Flights of Colfe’s CCF Squadron took post followed by the march on of the Honour Guard. The Parade was commanded by Major Chris Cherry. Nimrod played and the parade was called to attention for a two minutes silence at 11.00. The Last Post was sounded by the bugler, Cadet Corporal George Turpin, followed by Reveille. Prayers of Remembrance by the School Chaplain, The Reverend Tony Collier followed as did the laying of floral tributes by The President of the Old Colfeians, Mr John Nunn on behalf of the O.C.A., The Headmaster of Colfe’s School, Mr Richard Russell on behalf of the School Staff, Cadet Airtrooper Jack Farnhill-Bain on behalf of Colfe’s CCF Squadron, Colfe’s School Captains, George Charalambous & Helen Sutton on behalf of the Senior School and Colfe’s Preparatory School Captains, Jessica Crawford & Etienne McElfresh on behalf of the Preparatory School. The Parade was dismissed and guests enjoyed refreshments in the bar afterwards.

It was particularly pleasing to see current serving Old Colfeians returning for the parade before their imminent departure for Afghanistan.

All friends of Colfe's are welcome to attend the Remembrance Service at the Old Colfeians' Club.

Created with flickr slideshow.
World Record climber and adventurer visits Colfe's
Thursday, October 18, 2012

Just watched a presenation by Ben Heason. A Brit who free climbed the tallest waterfall in the world - Angel Falls in Venezuela - nearly a kilometre of sheer overhanging rock. It took him 20 days to climb and he had to live, eat and sleep on the rock face. Epic!

Ben Heason

Possibly the biggest news for 50 years for Old Colfeians everywhere...
Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Changes ahead for Old Colfeians!

Horn Park has been the sporting and social home of the Old Colfeian community since the beginning of the twentieth century. Following the acquisition by the School of the freehold of the site in 2010, the School and the Old Colfeian community have agreed that the Horn Park site should be operated as a joint venture and ultimately developed to provide enhanced sporting and social facilities for use by the School, the Old Colfeian community and the local community generally.

The operating body is to consist of a new company limited by guarantee governed by a board of 5 directors. Although the first directors will be nominated by the School, the sporting Old Colfeian community and the general Old Colfeian community, it is intended that the company will be independent of the School and of the Old Colfeian community. As part of this process the alumni and sporting functions of the Old Colfeian community will be separated and a new organisation will be formed later this Autumn to further the non-sporting interests of former pupils and staff.

Volunteers are being sought to take up the initial directorships of the new company limited by guarantee. The role is unpaid and essentially strategic rather than operational in nature. The short to medium term objective will be to formulate and implement a business plan to facilitate the continued sporting and social use of the site by the Old Colfeian community, the sporting community and the School with a view to the operation of the site at least breaking even. The longer term objective will be to plan and implement the redevelopment of the site to provide enhanced social and sporting facilities for the joint benefit of the Old Colfeian community, the sporting community and the School. The majority of the necessary structural work and a great deal of the forward planning has already been carried out and the existing advisory team will continue to be available to support the new board.

No particular qualifications are required other than an ability to manage relationships and process coupled with the vision and determination to drive the project through to a successful conclusion. Applications are invited from all parts of the Old Colfeian community – young and old, male and female. If you want to play an active part in shaping the future of the Horn Park site and making it a vibrant and inclusive social centre for Old Colfeians of all ages and interests send a brief CV to the secretary of the Horn Park Steering Committee, Clive Corlett ( by no later than Friday 19th October.


2012 Leavers return for Senior School Prizegiving
Friday, September 21, 2012

Talented students from Years 10 to 13 have been recognised by the school and visiting dignitaries in this year’s Governors Visitation and Senior Prizegiving.

The packed audience which included school Governors, VIPs and representatives of the Old Colfeians, were formally welcomed by the Chairman of Governors, Mr Ian Russell MBE.  Entertainment throughout the evening was provided by James Maby, singing, Oliver Bowring on Piano, Miles Ashdown on the Violin and George Brookes on Electric Guitar.

The dignitaries this year included the Deputy Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich Cllr Angela Comforth. “This is my first visit to this school and it is a real honour to be here.”

Headmaster, Richard Russell, addressed the audience and talked about the contributions and the inspiring school achievements made during the previous year. Prizes were then presented by the Master of the Leathersellers’ Company Mr Matthew Pellereau, and were awarded for achievements ranging from Academic excellence and exam performance to contribution to Life of the School and to the House. 

Eloise Richardson who received prizes for Academic Achievement in Year 11 and in English said “I’m glad that I got awarded a prize for last year and I am really enjoying the sixth-form now.  It’s good to continue my work in the subjects I enjoy most, and I’m still finding time to write my poetry”  Eleonore Ocada agreed “I didn’t really think I would receive a prize but it’s a good one to be awarded as it means my hard work throughout all my subjects has paid off.  I’m now trying to apply it in Year 11”

The Year 12 Hamp Prize for Progress and Contribution through the year in DT went Jack German. He said “It’s really good to get a prize. You feel that you are best in the school in your year and in your subject and that feels good.”

The evening was not just about recognition for the students but for bringing the community together.  The audience, packed with parents, showed real pride in their children.  Rosie Clarke whose daughter Katia won a prize in Geography was delighted “I’m really pleased for Katia as it meant a lot to win this prize in her favourite subject.  She worked really hard and scored top marks in her year. She is really enjoying her first year in the sixth-form and she hopes to study Geography at University.”

The Whittaker brothers were both recognised; Tom for Academic Excellence in Year 10, and for former School Captain, Charlie, the Lander Prize for Best Achievement in the year. About to begin his studies at Cambridge University, he said “In a way this is my last official goodbye to Colfe’s.  It’s always nice to be recognised for your achievements but this is tinged with sadness for me because I’ve been at Colfe’s a long time and this will be the last time I am here in my capacity as a student.”

Colfe’s Governor, Gregory Jones QC said this was an auspicious occasion “I think this is an important time for everyone to come together and reflect on the achievements of the previous year.  It’s important in life to take a step back and celebrate our successes”

Created with flickr slideshow.
Colfe’s welcomes back former pupil and successful artist
Friday, September 21, 2012

Successful textile designer and ex-student, Georgia Bosson has come back to give advice to and talk about her experiences with our current Sixth Form Art students

Georgia, who left Colfe’s six years ago, graduated from Manchester School of Art and has spent the last few years building up her reputation as a talented textile artist.  Georgia divides her time between working for Helen Yardley, a renowned rug designer, and her studio in Bermondsey.  The 24 year old says it was lovely to get her own space “After graduating I mainly worked from home and had all my work spread over my bedroom floor which wasn’t ideal. This time last year I got my studio and it’s fantastic.  Being able to separate home from work, really helps me focus and makes life a lot easier.  I started working for Helen about a year and a half ago, which has been a great insight into the world of textile design, I am really lucky to have such an interesting job in the industry that I love.”

Making a living as an artist is a competitive and often challenging profession but Georgia says it never crossed her mind that she would be working in any other field “It is what I wanted to do and I never thought about making money; I just thought if I do what I want and  do it well, the money will come, and that’s what’s happened.  For the last two years, I have been trying to find out exactly what I want to do with my art and have really just let it take me off in different directions.  I have had an eclectic mix of commissions, which includes a range of cushions, printed curtains and a floating cinema. The cinema was certainly the most unusual project, yet it was also the most rewarding. It was a great project to be involved in as I was able to collaborate with architects and furniture designer to realise the final project; a 12 seat Cinema which travelled around London’s canals during the summer of 2011 as part of the build up for the Olympics.”

Georgia’s visit to the Colfe’s Year 12 Art Class proved to be an inspiring afternoon.

“I hope I’ve helped the current Colfe’s students with their Portfolio development.  Their recent trip to the Dorset Coast has given them lots of ideas and sketches and I hope I’ve been able to show them how they can further develop those ideas.”

Year 12 Art Student, Cecily Watts, certainly felt it had “Georgia’s work has sparked many ideas for me. I am going to explore the use of different textiles and layering pieces of work together. I love the way she uses trial and error as part of her development of her work – drawing something particularly big or in different colours or cutting the lines rather drawing them.  This has helped me realise how you can capture a particular idea you have and explore and develop it further.” 

Georgia, who was part of the first fully Co-Ed year at Colfe’s says she loved her time at the school “I always had a passion for art but it wasn’t until I started my A Levels and Mrs Beetlestone gently encouraged me to explore textiles, that I found I was quite good at it and haven’t looked back since.  I know Colfe’s has great success in Art and some of the students will go on to study it at University and maybe make a career from it.  I would say keep your options open and try not to narrow your direction because you just don’t know what opportunities may come along, which is what has happened to me so far.  Most of all, have fun.   I think, if you’re doing what you enjoy, eventually other people will enjoy your work too and before you know it, you will be making a career from it.”

Georgia’s website is, and you can contact her for commissions on

Former student Claire Rafferty is Colfe’s own Football Olympian
Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Massive day today (25/7/12), history being made, OC Claire Rafferty plays in first Olympic footy game vs New Zealand kicks off at 4pm BBC 1 #TeamGB

Claire Rafferty who graduated from Colfe’s five years ago,  has been selected to play football for Great Britain in the Olympics. 

Colfe’s has an outstanding record of girls going on to pursue sport at international level, such as England Cricketer, Susie Rowe who has recently returned to Colfe’s as a coach.

Claire heard the news after getting back from a double header European qualifier camp with England against Holland and Slovenia where England have to  win to have the best chance of qualifying for the Euro finals 2013.  The 23 year old took time out to speak to us:

How did you feel when you knew you had been called up for the Olympics? 

I was surprised because I have recently come back from a serious knee injury (ACL reconstruction) and was worried that I hadn't given myself enough time to get in good form before the selection process however I received the phone call from Hope Powell last Monday morning and was over the moon with the news that I had been selected. It is such an honour and privilege to be selected to represent GB in an Olympics and I just can’t wait for it all to begin. 

How did your football career start?

I started playing with my brother Thomas (who also went to Colfe's) when I was about 6, he used to make me go in goal in the garden. It was from playing in the garden that I realised that it was something I really enjoyed and wanted to pursue, so I pestered my mum to take me to a local boys teams. At the same time I played for my primary school team. When I joined Colfe's I was playing for the Orpington district team and Millwall Lionesses. I played for them throughout my time and Colfe's and then joined Chelsea the same year I left Colfe's and am still playing for them now. 

When does the first Olympic game happen?

It is the first ever GB Women's football squad in Olympic history. We travel as one big squad with the men's GB team (Women are playing Sweden and the Men are playing Brazil) before the tournament kicks off. Then we have our opening game against New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium, actually its the first event of the whole Olympics, even before the opening ceremony. We then play Cameroon and Brazil at Wembley Stadium.

You play for Chelsea ladies, what’s the best bit about Club football?

The best part about playing for Chelsea Ladies is that we play tough opposition each week and that allows me to work and improve on my weaknesses. We have a new summer league, the FAWSL, which has meant teams have to buy in to the league which has increased the level of competition and overall quality. At Chelsea we also have a great team spirit and you become a bit like a family when you play for a team and spend so much time together.

Do you think women’s football is more championed and respected now?

There is an old fashioned attitude towards Women's football which can be somewhat frustrating, however with the new summer league set up, televised games on ESPN and increased investment in the game it has and is becoming more accessible and this will hopefully change stubborn opinions

What does it feel like when you are playing a game?

International games attract much bigger crowds than our domestic games and so when playing England there is always that little bit of added pressure that the crowds bring. However I always feel an overwhelming sense of pride when representing my country.

What advice would you give young Colfeian’s who are playing football like Eloise in Year 7 who is currently trialing for Charlton?

I’m really pleased to hear about Eloise.  One bit of advice I would give is to firstly work hard at school. Second is to train hard at football. Most of all make sure you enjoy it don't put too much pressure on yourself, hard works and determination always prevails.

What about the future? Do you have something you are aiming for?

After leaving Colfe's I went on to get my degree in Economics at Loughborough University. I have been out of university a year and am working towards my accountancy qualification, I am contracted with the FA so am fully funded.

Finally what do you remember about Colfe’s ? What was an enduring memory for you?

I have quite a lot of fond memories about Colfe's. My fondest probably would be going on all the outdoor pursuits especially the first one in year 7 with Mr Cummings,  I also used to love P.E with Miss Hargreaves and Miss Starkey, now Mrs Rayes. However my leaving memory probably was Miss Price as she inspired my love for economics, even though I wasn't the best at it haha. I remember when I went away a lot with U19s England during my last year in sixth form, she would always make sure I was up to date with everything and didn't miss out.

England Cricketer runs coaching course at Colfe's
Thursday, May 31, 2012

International Cricketer and ex-Colfeian, Susie Rowe is coaching an ‘introduction to Cricket Course’ for fifteen girls in the school.

Susie made her debut for the England women’s squad for the tour to Sri lanka in November 2010, is a regular T20 player and recently helped England to complete a 4-0 win over New Zealand!

Susie, who left Colfe’s in 2005, has been working hard to promote cricket through the ‘Streetchance’, grassroots sports initiative in Lewisham where she was born.  Susie is also a talented hockey player and represented England at under 21 level. 

The Colfe’s coaching programme has just been opened to Years 5 and 6 as well.  Susie said “It is always rewarding to see young girls become interested and enthusiastic about a sport they haven’t necessarily played before.  It’s encouraging to see some of the girls bowl with a straight arm and a natural action. Hopefully they will consider moving from this to play for a club.”

A right-handed batter and medium pace bowler, Susie juggles her coaching commitments with playing for England, Kent and her club, Hayes.  The 25 year old says she has had many career highlights. “I think being in the England squad for the last year and a half and being a regular T20 player has to be the highest point of my career so far.  And hitting a six in Adelaide, Australia in January 2011 really stays with me as a fantastic moment.”

Susie’s family are sports-mad and her sister Annabelle, who also attended Colfe’s, is a talented Hockey player who plays for the National League club, Maidstone.   The Rowe girls are a great success story for co-education at Colfe’s and in the run up to the Olympics, Annabelle was chosen to be part of the Adidas 'Take The Stage' ad campaign and for the last few weeks, her face has been at bus stops across Lewisham. Adidas also flew her out to Holland to train with the Dutch National Team who are reigning Olympic champions and just yesterday Adidas uploaded a video about her visit to their website as part of the campaign.

Susie says “I’m very proud of Annabelle and it’s been great fun to see her face on posters all over Lewisham.”

Summer Term School News
Friday, May 4, 2012

Welcome to the first ebulletin of a distinctly soggy summer term. Exam candidates in Year 11 and above are now on the home stretch, putting the finishing touches to their preparations for the all-important GCSE and A level exams. I’m grateful to many of my colleagues who put on extra revision sessions during the holiday and everybody involved seems to be doing all that they can to guarantee good news in August.

A lot also happened in terms of school trips during the Easter break.  The Rome Classics trip included not only the familiar sites in the urbs aeterna, but also trips out to Hadrian’s Villa and the spectacular gardens at Tivoli.  Plans are already under way for a visit to Asia Minor next autumn. The Geography students’ trip to Barcelona was also a great success with visits to many of the city’s attractions including the impressive garden complex designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi.

Easter also proved a good time for our avid book lovers to start reading the eight Carnegie shortlist books for our eleventh year shadowing this major event and I look forward to seeing if they agree with the judges’ final decision in June.

I was very impressed with the joint effort of staff and pupils in the musical grade one-a-thon.  Across the school people were learning a new instrument and, at the end of last term, taking the grade one exam  to raise money for charity.  This momentous effort highlighted versatility, if not universal virtuosity, with everyone achieving a pass grade.  Alex in year 7, already a very accomplished musician, is particularly worth mentioning as she gained almost perfect marks with 145 out of 150 in her viola exam, for which she was awarded a distinction. Congratulations to everyone who took part and especially well done for the hundreds of pounds generated by the event.

Colfe’s can be rightly proud of our strong community and this was once again proved by the heartwarming efforts of the Crawford family who used their Easter break to help build a much needed house in Morocco for charity.  Debbie, Emmett (year 5) and Oliver (year 8) learned some invaluable lessons and it was wonderful for them to be able to come back and tell us of their experiences in a prep school assembly.  Thanks to all the Colfeian parents who donated clothes for the charity.

We have continued our excellence in sport particularly this term in swimming with a number of galas in both the senior and prep schools.  Well done to our swimmers who performed exceptionally well in the County Aquathlon Relay competition. The swimmers recorded the fastest time for a mixed team, and the runners won their race, earning them all gold medals.  They have now qualified for the national competition which will take place in June. Tom Chapman has retained his place in the England U18 rugby team and played an important part in Spain over Easter when the England team won all their matches and defeated Ireland in the final. Further detail can be found on the RFU website. Tom is currently training with London Wasps.

A quick note of congratulations to Bhavini Viajapura in Year 10 who achieved a Certificate of Merit in the Prestigious Intermediate Mathematical Olympiad. Bhavini was asked to sit the Hamilton paper after gaining a Gold Certificate in the maths Challenge earlier in the year.

Finally I am really looking forward to the book launch next week of the history of Colfe’s written by one of my predecessors, Dr Vivian Anthony.  It is a remarkable book which chronicles a very important time in Colfeian history.

Richard Russell

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

CLS are having a 'taster day' where you can try out a myriad of classes throughout the afternoon of Bank Holiday Monday 7 May.

Choose from any of the following sessions:

  • Zumba
  • Spin
  • Tennis
  • Swimming
  • Badminton
  • Aquarobics
  • Table Tennis
  • TRX

To register call 020 8297 9110.

Bring the kids - there are games for 5-10 year olds and a special offer on the day of 4 months membership for the price of 2!

Shape up for Summer!

Poole reunion booking now available online!
Thursday, March 29, 2012

Online booking for the reunion of Old Colfeians living in the South of England is now open.

The reunion will be held at the Parkstone Yacht Club, Poole on Thursday 26 April 2012 at 12.30 for a 13.00 start.

You can book and pay online securely here.

Colfe's U14 Netball team in National Finals!
Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Colfe’s U14 Netball team are an outstanding bunch of girls. Having won both the Kent schools tournament and the London and South East Regional tournament they have progressed to the national finals which are being held on Saturday 17th March. At this tournament they will not only be representing the school but also Kent and London & the South East as well, a huge honour and responsibility.

Seven out of eight of the team started their netball career in the prep school and would have been taught by many of the prep and possibly the pre-prep staff. The girls have trained hard with all playing a high standard of club netball. Five of them were also selected into the county system where they have been training and playing throughout the session.

If you're interested in attending the tournament to watch the girls through the day, it would be fantastic for them to have your support. We have therefore booked a coach to transport staff, pupils and supporters to the event.

If you would like to reserve a seat on the coach then please email the Director of Sport, Mrs Rayes. Seats are already being snapped up so don't miss out!

Free stuff from Colfe's Leisure Centre!
Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Colfe's Leisure Centre has waived its registration fee for all Old Colfeians!

Membership at CLC is now available for alumni without the £35 registration fee.

Are you at University or College?

Then the deal gets even better! To stay fit and use CLC during your university holidays, CLC are waiving the registration fee and offering a 20 week membership for just £100 - that's just £5 per week! Cheaper than a single visit to most other gyms.

To take advantage of either of these offers, please contact Diane Eaton, leisure centre manager on 020 8297 9110.

Roebuck Released!
Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Roebuck Spring 2012

Colfe’s has launched a new publication - The Roebuck - which details news from across the school and covers the achievements of our pupils in the areas of sport, the arts, extra-curricular activities and academic excellence. The Roebuck will be published up to five times per year to coincide with key dates in the academic calendar and replaces the termly Insight magazine. The new publication is designed to be of interest to a wider audience and contains more up to date news from a cross section of the whole school. To read the first version click here.

Mid-term update from the Headmaster
Friday, February 17, 2012

As we approach the mid-term break, this is an opportunity to look back on the extremely busy and fulfilling term we have had so far. The final UCAS picture for the year has yet to be finalised but I can report that, thus far, our 89 Upper Sixth applicants have received 118 offers from Russell Group universities, including four Oxbridge and two for Medicine. This year’s most popular destinations include Leeds (19 offers) Manchester (17 offers) and Nottingham (16 offers). We have also had a 100% hit rate with Colfe’s applications to York, Sheffield and the LSE.

I was delighted to hear that our debating team was victorious in the first round of the MACE competition.  We can now look forward to competing in the second round at Dulwich College after half-term.   Our Historical society continues to develop its very strong programme with a range of prestigious and interesting speakers.  We have continued to excel in sport and our U14 netballers became the best squad in London and the South East after winning all their matches in the Regional stage of the competition.  Tom Chapman is in the England squad for the U18 Six Nations Championship and will take to the field against France this weekend. Prep School sport is also flourishing, with a strong swimming team competing in the IAPS competition this month.  Visiting sporting celebrities have recently included the former top test England cricketer, Derek Underwood.

The major musical production of the year, Sugar, was performed to universal acclaim and full houses in the theatre this week. This was a massive undertaking and a particular triumph for Mrs Vander Gucht in her first year as director of Drama at Colfe’s. The production complemented last term’s Antigone, with the two plays reflecting the variety and versatility of our work in the Performing Arts. Likewise in music, we were once again most impressed with the variety of the programme in last week’s the Platform concert. These events are increasingly popular, particularly with emerging talent.

The half-term week itself will be very busy with our top Maths students travelling to the regional final of the Team Maths Challenge and judo supremo Leornardo Bertocchi will be fighting in a National competition whose points count towards becoming part of the GB squad.

Chinook visits Colfe's
Friday, February 17, 2012

An RAF Chinook came in for a 'hot' touchdown on Wednesday 1 February.

Created with flickr slideshow.
Old Colfeian shows it is never too late to “follow your dreams”
Monday, January 23, 2012

An Old Colfeian, who started playing rugby at the age of fifty, has recieved an Award from the Rugby Union Writers' Club, at their annual dinner, in appreciation of his efforts.

John Goldman, who is still playing rugby in his seventies, attended Colfe’s from 1952 to 1959 but was never able to fully take part in sport at the time because he suffered from asthma.

However at the age of 50 he joined a local rugby club in North London where he played lock forward for the 3rd team before finding his true vocation in the front row as a prop. He has now averaged over 20 games a season for the last 20 years and moved into his club's regular second XV with occasional outings for the firsts. This is despite overcoming cancer, a heart by-pass and major back surgery during that period.

John hopes his story will be an inspiration to the current pupils at Colfe’s.  “It has been wonderful to have such recognition for my sport since I really was unable to take part at school.  It seems I am one of, if not the oldest, person still playing regular club rugby in the leagues, albeit in the lower echelons of the Merit or Herts/Middlesex tables.

“Maybe this will give some hope to those who find themselves 'sportingly challenged', or indeed find that they are struggling to do something they really like.  I hope I’ve proved that it’s never too late to follow your dreams and to never give up.”

Old Colfeian John Goldman still playing rugby at 70 John Goldman's Crystal tankard awarded from the Rugby Writers Union

Colfe’s CCF Squadron gets its first female officer
Friday, January 20, 2012



RAFVRT PO Mandy Tappin

An Old Colfeian and Ex-Cadet has been commissioned into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAF VRT) and will serve with the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) Squadron at Colfe’s, making her the squadron’s first female officer.

Pilot Officer, Mandy Tappin, who joined Colfe’s as a student in 2002, came top of her class on her Commissioning Course at the Royal Air Force College in Cranwell. She says it was hard work.

“The course was very intensive and was a little daunting at first. I was the youngest there and on the first day I was put in charge. There was lots of theory, drills and classroom work. They checked our uniform and made sure we would be good role models for the Cadets that we would be leading. At the end of the training though I was awarded ‘Top Student’ which was really fantastic”

The 22 year old has now been commissioned into the RAF and when she finishes her University course in Gloucestershire, where she is studying for a degree in Marketing, Mandy will become a permanent member of Colfe’s CCF Squadron. Mandy hopes she will be a positive role model for other girls

“It is really good because I’ve worked my way up through the CCF at Colfe’s and know it well. I joined as soon as I could when I was in Year 9 and I still know some of the students. The CCF team has always been really encouraging and supportive to me and in turn I was able to encourage girls to join the CCF. When I’ve finished my degree and am back down here, I envisage part of my role at Colfe’s will be to continue that and encourage more girls to join the squadron. Being in the CCF is fun and you get so much from it.”

Printmaking available at Colfe's
Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Join our Printmaking course! Run for friends of Colfe’s, classes are run by Mandy Franklin who is an experienced printmaker/artist, and has run this popular and friendly course for the past eighteen months. Classes cater for people with no previous art experience or for those who wish to develop existing talents!

The workshops will be held on Thursday evenings in the Art Department of Colfe’s School on the following dates:

26 Jan, 9 Feb, 16 Feb, 1 March, 15 March, 29 March, 26 April & 3 May.

Contact: Sonia Beetlestone, Head of Art 020 8463 8225 £80 for 8 sessions.

What do Gold, Prince Phillip and Colfe's have in common?
Wednesday, January 11, 2012

On the 30 November 2011, 5 Old Colfeians (class of 2010) and their proud parents attended St James Palace to receive their Gold Duke of Edinburgh award, achieved through the Combined Cadet Force at Colfe’s.

Steven Parry said “It was a beautiful sunny day and spirits were high. Everyone was looking forward to meeting the Duke and we were lucky enough to be assembled in the Throne Room - one of the best rooms in the Palace! We all felt very proud to be there and we hope to inspire others to complete their Duke of Edinburgh’s award as it’s possibly one of the biggest and most worthwhile challenges you will undertake. Huge thanks to Major Cherry and his staff for making it possible and keeping us motivated!”

L to R: Steven Parry, Gagan Bajwa, Julia Hall, Andrew McVitty, Simon Cox

Parry, Bajwa, Hall, McVitty and Cox proudly show off their Gold DofEs

Award winning Old Colfeian returns to school
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An OC who recently won a top business award, has returned to school to give students from the Economics and Business Studies Department advice on how to start a business.

Simon Nash runs the company Green Oil UK which produces environmentally friendly bicycle maintenance products.    He won the Best Business for Sustainability at a recent awards ceremony and was also awarded ‘Bromley Business of the Year’

Simon, who left Colfe’s in 2003 and went onto study at Southampton University, set up the business in 2007 which now employs 2 and a half staff with Simon hoping to eventually expand internationally.

Head of Economics and Business Studies Mr Otley said “Our students found ‘Green Oil’ fascinating, from its origins in Simon’s bedroom to its plans for exporting products around the world.  Simon’s enthusiasm for all matters ‘green’ was obvious to all and could serve as a lesson to many other businesses.”

“The question and answer session following Simon’s presentation included the inevitable ‘how much money do you make?’ as well as enquiries as to the long term strategy of Green Oil. For those Business Studies students doing the BUSS1 module, his insights on entrepreneurialship were invaluable and for Economists about to look at market failure his commitment to reducing the firm’s carbon footprint was of great interest."

“Hopefully we will make Simon’s visits a regular occurrence and all at Colfe’s wish Green Oil every success.”

Simon added “I was really pleased to visit the school and talk to the students. I am very proud of how well the company is doing especially winning a prestigious award.  Running my own green business was always something I wanted to do but it has taken hard work and commitment to get this far. I hope the students were able to learn something valuable from my experiences.”

Head appoints new Development Officer
Friday, December 2, 2011

The Headmaster has appointed an Old Colfeian to take over the role of Development Officer at Colfe's. 

Russell Joyce is an Old Colfeian who left the school in July 1996 and has enjoyed a career in marketing and events management. He has simultaneously maintained his contact with the school through involvement as a volunteer Captain with the Combined Cadet Force Squadron and the Outdoor Pursuits programme.

Russell says "I am delighted to be back at Colfe's and it is fascinating to see how the school has evolved since I left. I'm still very good friends with many Old Colfeians and we all have great memories from our time here. I'm looking forward to meeting as many Old Colfeians as possible in the months ahead and will be in touch regularly about new reunion events so please ensure we have your correct contact details!"

You can update your contact details through the 'MY PAGES' tab above, by emailing or by telephone 020 8463 8119.

Russell will also be happy to set up visits to the school for those of you who may be interested in changes since you have left and current/future activities.

New Sixth Form Centre gets a step closer
Friday, December 2, 2011

Planning Permission has now been granted for the new Sixth Form development and we will be going out to tender in the weeks ahead. Building work will commence in the summer of 2012 or 2013.

The Headmaster would be delighted to meet personally with any of you who may be interested further in our plans for the future.

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