Is a School Uniform Important? Not at St Christopher School
St Christopher School in Letchworth Garden City has favoured a modern approach to education for over 100 years, confident that their forward-thinking methods and excellent results have stood the test of time.
An independent day and boarding school for girls and boys aged from 3 to 18, St Chris is set on a large, leafy campus just a short train ride from London, and is worth considering as an option for parents who want to escape the intensity of London.
St Chris has long been known for its progressive approach to education where students are valued as individuals. The Head, Richard Palmer, sums up the St Chris approach as ‘promoting independence, creativity and happiness as a means of supporting students to become self-disciplined, successful and able to make informed choices’.
Art, design, music and drama are held in high esteem at St Chris, but students also achieve strong results in science, maths and English. Excellent facilities include an onsite swimming pool, extensive grounds and pitches, modern IT suites and even a ceramics studio and photography dark room.
St Chris believes in the benefits of an informal approach – there is no uniform and everyone is called by their first name. There is a strong emphasis on promoting democracy and removing hierarchy at all levels of the school underpinned by the belief that all voices, from the youngest member of the nursery to the chair of governors, should be listened to and treated respectfully. Despite its informality, students are expected to work hard, do their best and contribute to all aspects of life at St Chris.
As more and more organisations like Apple, Google and Astra Zeneca demonstrate, successful people are just as likely to be wearing jeans and trainers as they are a suit and tie
‘Visitors to our school often remark on the calm and orderly, yet busy and focused feeling in our lessons and corridors, and ask how we “make the children behave in this way”,’ says Head Richard Palmer. ‘My answer is always that we don’t “make” them – it is a result of putting in to place the right ingredients to ensure children are relaxed, self-disciplined and successful.
‘In 1915, when the school was founded, this informality was seen as fairly radical – it still is to some who expect hard work and success to be more natural bedfellows in schools with a blazer and a keen sense of hierarchy.
‘But as more and more organisations like Apple, Google and Astra Zeneca demonstrate that successful people are just as likely to be wearing jeans and trainers as they are a suit and tie, then those expectations are changing.’
St Chris prides itself on the happiness of its students, and on each one of them reaching their own personal goals not a standardised notion of success – which can be a difficult value to uphold in a world of league tables and education reforms – however it’s this belief in its pupils and their support of them that can turn the average in to the extraordinary and see children fly.
To find out more about St Chris come along to their Open Day on Saturday 28 April 2018 or visit stchris.co.uk
get the magazine
Insights, features and interviews from Britains best independent and boarding schools.