St Olave's Grammar School: Wikis


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St Olave's and St Saviour's Grammar School
St Olaves School Seal.png
Motto Olaf to Right the Wrong
Established 1571
Type Voluntary aided grammar school
Religion Church of England
Headmaster Anthony Jarvis
Chair Stuart Hibberdine
Specialism Maths and Computing (Operational), Science
Location Goddington Lane
Greater London
LEA London Borough of Bromley
Ofsted number 101676
Students 934
Gender Boys (Mixed in the sixth form)
Ages 11 to 18
Houses Bingham     , Cure     
Harvard     , Leeke     
Colours Main: Purple     
Black     , White     
Chaplain Andrew McClellan
Affiliation Member of the Woodard Foundation
Beneficiary of Beneficiary of St Olave's and St Saviour's Schools Foundation and also Alleyn's College of God's Gift in Dulwich Estate
Coordinates: 51°22′03″N 0°06′14″E / 51.3675°N 0.104°E / 51.3675; 0.104
The original plaque commemorating St Saviour's Grammar School's Charter from Queen Elizabeth I, dated June 4, 1562

St Olave's and St Saviour's Grammar School is a selective boys' secondary school in Orpington, Greater London, England. The school is consistently one of the top achieving state schools in the UK and it was The Sunday Times State School of the Year in 2008.[1] The school is also known as St Olave's, St Olave's Grammar School, STOGS or simply Olave's. The name is either pronounced /ˈoʊlævz/, or /ˈɒlɪvz/ (homophonous with "olives").

The school in its current state was formed from an agreement in 1896 between two schools, St Olave's Grammar School (Charter 1571), and St Saviour's Grammar School (Charter 1562). A sister school, St Saviour's and St Olave's Church of England School,[2] was established in 1903. St Olave's Grammar School was founded for the parish of St Olave in Southwark (1096-1926) which was named after Saint Olaf. In the seventeenth century St Olave's Headmaster Robert Browne was imprisoned for non-conformism.

Originally situated on the south bank of the Thames in Southwark, the school moved to suburban Orpington in 1968.

Remarkably, Anthony Jarvis is only the fifth headmaster of the school since 1896, although he is retiring effective as of September 2010.

Dr Roger Clifford Carrington, a former headmaster, wrote a history of the school with the title Two Schools: A History of the St. Olave's and St. Saviour's Grammar School Foundation (London, 1971). A short interim volume was published in 1962 for the quatercentenery of the charter of St Saviour's Grammar School. The 1971 edition was published by the Governors of the Foundation in commemoration of the quatercentenery of the charter of St Olave's Grammar School.



St Saviour's Grammar School

A new lease for the parish church of St Saviour’s dated 16 June 1559 included a pledge to start a school within two years. Within a few weeks a school for boys was functioning in temporary accommodation. On 24th November 1560 the four first wardens of the school were elected, and on 4th March 1561 a lease was handed over to the wardens for a new schoolhouse: a building in the Green Dragon, formerly Cobham’s Inn. A licence/charter for St Saviour’s Grammar School was obtained in 1562.

In 1676 the building in the Green Dragon was destroyed in the Great Fire of Southwark—the City of London fire was in 1666—and a new building was built on the same site.

In 1839 the school site was required for the enlargement of the Borough Market and a third building was built in Sumner Street in 1839. It was smaller than the previous one due to a decline in numbers.

St Saviour’s Grammar School agreed to amalgamation with St Olave’s in 1896. At the same time the creation of a new school for girls was envisaged, and this came into being in 1903 and was named St Saviour’s and St Olave’s Grammar School for Girls.

St Olave’s Grammar School

Henry Leeke, a Southwark brewer, left a will (13 April 1560) which gave £8 a year towards the founding and maintenance of a new free school. If the parish of St Olave’s failed to create such a school within two years, St Saviour’s parish was to have the money.

In November 1560, notice to quit was given to tenants of the rooms which were to be used for the school, and in July 1561 the church wardens of St Olave’s were ordered to receive Leeke’s legacy, and “prepare” a schoolmaster by Michaelmas Day. Assuming that everything went to schedule, the school began teaching on Michaelmas Day 1561.

On 25 July 1571 letters patent were obtained which established the school as a grammar school. The charter stipulated that the school be called: The Free Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth of the Parishioners of the Parish of Saint Olave in the County of Surrey.

Initially the school was housed in the old Vestry Hall of the church and its adjoining premises (on the west side of Churchyard Alley, a narrow lane off the south side of Tooley Street, running parallel with Borough High Street).

Although the school was untouched by the Great Fire of Southwark, major renovation and extension was undertaken in 1676 after the fire.

In 1829 the school had to move because its site was needed for the approach to the new London Bridge, which was built about 60 yards west of the old bridge. A new building was built in Bermondsey Street, with the first stone being laid on 17th November 1834. However this building did not last long due to the rapid expansion of the railways, which wanted the land, and another building at Green Bank, in Back Street (later renamed Queen Elizabeth Street) was built in 1855.

This new building was soon deemed to be unsuitable due to the fact that it was designed for a system of teaching which fell out of favour, and had almost no provision for classrooms.

Clock tower of the former school building on Queen Elizabeth Street

Another building was put up in stages on the same site, while the old building was dismantled. Work was begun in 1892 and completed in 1894. The new building was designed by E. W. Mountford, the architect of the Old Bailey, and it is this building which still stands in Queen Elizabeth Street near the approach to Tower Bridge (also completed in 1894).

The Queen Elizabeth Street building was abandoned by the school in 1968, when it moved to Orpington.

During World War II the former St Saviour's building in Sumner Street was damaged by bombing. Consequently, in 1952 the historic foundation stone was moved from Sumner Street to the Queen Elizabeth Street site. When the school was relocated to Orpington in 1968, the stone was taken to the new site.[3]

General information

The school has an Anglican foundation, and is also affiliated to the Woodard Foundation. The school's headmaster is currently Anthony Jarvis, an additional member of the HMC.

The school is heavily oversubscribed (more than 7 applicants per place in 2004). Entry is determined by competitive tests in English and Mathematics. Since 1998, the school has admitted girls to its sixth form. It is currently designated as a science, mathematics and computing specialist school.

Members of the school are known as Olavians, and alumni as Old Olavians. There is a masonic lodge for Old Olavians and others associated with the school.[4]

There are four houses: Bingham, Cure, Harvard and Leeke. These exist for the purposes of the classes and house competitions in the Lower School (Year 7 to 9) and for games competition in Year 10.

St Olave's exclusively provides Choristers for the Choir of the Queen's Chapel of the Savoy, London, which is the Chapel of the Royal Victorian Order and of the Duchy of Lancaster.

The school was at the centre of controversy in 1996 when Labour Party Shadow Cabinet minister Harriet Harman sent her son to the school, despite it being some considerable distance from where she lived. Many considered her sending her son to a selective school to be contrary to Labour's supposedly egalitarian principles.

Its historic sister school is St Saviour's and St Olave's Church of England School in New Kent Road. Established in 1903, this is a non-selective girls' school in an economically deprived area that is very different in nature from its brother school. Both schools are beneficiaries of the charity the St Olave's and St Saviour's Schools Foundation,[5] which in turn is a beneficiary of The Dulwich Estate, successor to the historic Alleyn's College charity.[6]

St Olave's now also has a strong relationship with Newstead Wood School for Girls, a selective girls' school situated about 1.5 miles away.


2008 was a record year in the A-Level results with St. Olave's having 95.8% of all grades received at A or B level placing them 3rd overall in the country.

The school also got 100% A*-A maths GCSE grades. It was named Sunday Times state secondary school of 2008. It is in the top 100 schools of all status and is so, very, very, proud of this wonderful achievement. The school's Environment Group recently won a Bromley Environment Award in recognition of its contributions in Energy, Waste Management and for its promotion of Sustainable Transportation.

Notable Old Olavians

This is a partial list. For a more comprehensive one see: List of notable Old Olavians

† Alumni of St Saviour's Grammar School prior to the merger


  1. ^
  2. ^ Carrington, R. C. Two Schools: A History of the St. Olave's and St Saviour's Grammar School Foundation (London, 1971).
  3. ^ The history section draws its information mostly from Two Schools by R. C. Carrington.
  4. ^ According to the Lodge's web site, "Preference is given to those associated with St.Olave's Grammar School: old boys, staff, Governors, and their male relatives (including those of present/former students)." (See
  5. ^ St Olave's and St Saviour's Schools Foundation, Registered Charity no. 312987 at the Charity Commission
  6. ^ The Dulwich Estate, Registered Charity no. 312751 at the Charity Commission

Further reading

  • Carrington, R. C. Two Schools: A History of the St. Olave's and St. Saviour's Grammar School Foundation (London: The Governors of the St. Olave's and St. Saviour's Grammar School Foundation, 1971).

External links

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