St Philip's School

News This Term - Week 4

‘Tis the season

We wish great luck to those boys heading off for final-round interviews and scholarship assessments around about now. We hope that they go with confidence and enthusiasm for the challenge ahead and take the spirit of St Philip with them.

Forms 5 & 6 British Museum trip

Forms 5 and 6 British Museum trip

Forms 5 and 6 travelled to the British Museum on Monday 27th January to bring some hands-on experience to their studies of the classical world. Mr Aitken reports that the journey across London on the Tube was made easy by the excellent behaviour and common sense of all the boys. Taking even well-behaved boys through the Tube is not the stuff of holidays, so hats off. The boys had a great time and returned to Wetherby Place just in time for lunch.



The whole school was in the Little Oratory on Tuesday 28th January to mark the feast day of St Thomas Aquinas. A learned and scholarly man, St Thomas founded a school in Naples in the 13th century and is the patron saint of Catholic education. The Schola sang beautifully and the servers were excellent.

Singing competition

The first round of the senior section of the singing competition got underway on Thursday 30th January and we have found our first three finalists. The final will be held in the second half of term in the Big School Room in front of the whole school. The second round for Forms 3 to 5 will be held next week.

Unbeaten since 2017


The most impressive run in the history of team sports continues! The First XI were all set to notch up another victory down at Chiswick on Friday 31st January only to be only thwarted by a talented opponent goalkeeper and an errant bus driver who took the opposition to the wrong sports ground! A much-shortened game brought four short corners to the boys in blue and yellow and a peppering of the opponent’s ‘keeper but, sadly, no goals. The boys were disappointed not to have been able to play out a full game in chasing a win but can take solace in the undefeated record stretching on.

Reading prefects

Reading prefects

Thank you to the small army of reading prefects that give their precious break time up to hear the Form 3 and 4 boys read twice per week. Wandering into a classroom to find six or seven Form 7 boys listening actively, pointing out kindly or filling out reading diaries dutifully is a real treat. The Form 3 and 4 boys really are very lucky indeed.

Week 3

Off to Eton again

Two St Philip’s boys have moved off the Eton waiting list to a conditional place in the last few weeks. Each school has a slightly different timescale to WL movement and patience is always required. While it would be entirely wrong to promise success to all in moving off WLs at any school, it is worth remembering that the game is long and a steady hand on the tiller at home can really help along with sustained effort and determination from the boys in their day-to-day work. In the meantime, we encourage the boys to behave well, work hard and have plenty of fun along the way. That and – as our First XI demonstrated in Michaelmas – to never, ever, give up. The rewards will come eventually.

Judo competition

Judo Competition

Well done to all those who competed over the weekend of 18th January in the British Judo London Area Development Event in the Docklands. The boys went through several bouts amid some fierce competition, and put the skills that they have been honing in their weekly judo sessions at St Philip’s to combative use in the public arena. Thank you to Mr Spiers for coordinating.

Form 7 Globe Theatre trip

Form 7 Globe Theatre trip

Form 7 were at the Globe Theatre on the South Bank on Monday 20th January as part of their English studies of Shakespearean London. They are reading Susan Cooper’s King of Shadows in which a young boy from the USA travels back in time to Elizabethan London. The boys had a tour of the Globe and took part in a workshop. The trip finished on a high with a sword fighting demonstration to showcase the skills of sword handlers and the respect and discipline required to master this dramatic ancient art. Thank you to Mr Corr for organising and leading the trip with Mr Darling.

Form 8 geography fieldtrip to Epping Forest

Geography field trip

Form 8 were in Epping Forest on a gloriously sunny Tuesday 21st January to take part in day of geography field work. Led by staff from the Field Studies Council, they used a range of techniques to collect data from three sites along the Loughton Brook river, which they will now analyse and present as part of their Common Entrance coursework. Thank you to Mr Whittock and Mr Hunter for organising and leading the boys.

Form 3 to the library


Forms 3 and 4 travel to the library on the Brompton Road each week with Mrs Purnell, Mrs Sullivan and Mrs Gilfeather to borrow and read books. On Friday 25th January, they were enlisted to help a young member of the public in taking her own steps on the journey into a good book. Perhaps we have found our reading prefects of 2023.


Curriculum guides – Lent 2020

Curriculum guides for the Lent Term 2020 can be found here:

Brighton College

I was at Brighton College, a co-educational school with 600 day-pupils, 400 boarders and 260 weekly boarders, on Monday 13th January. Everything was very impressive, from the facilities (the new School of Science and Sport, pictured, is exceptional) and location to the people and the atmosphere. I was shown around by an enthusiastic and cheery sixth-former who expects to be off to the US for university on a scholarship. He managed to combine confidence with modesty on an excellent tour as his fellow pupils beetled about happily and with purpose. In 2019 – for the second time since 2010 – it was named The Sunday Times Independent School of the Year and its academic results are stellar: 97% of all A-level grades were A* to B for 2019 and 94% of all GCSE grades were A* to A. Most impressive of all, though, was the atmosphere: kind, welcoming and undeniably dynamic.

Speaking of stellar kindness

Speaking of stellar kindness

We know that kindness and success go hand-in-hand because St Philip’s boys are entreated to aim for the higher gifts each day through joyfulness and kindness. While their kindness and positive attitude – we hope – set them apart at senior school, it is worth remembering that mathematics results at Common Entrance last year were 93% A* to A. This is proof that good guys win.

This week, Form 8 were to be found flying through their work as their final lap approached. There were even some GCSE-level problems being tackled. citius!

Cross country – it’s the new rugby

Cross country

Thank you to all the boys who ran cross-country during Games on Wednesday 15th January. All were the unfortunate victims of bad luck as an extended afternoon of sport – usually a welcome addition to the week – clashed with a downpour in the morning that put the Barn Elms rugby fields out of action. Mr Darling and the merry band of St Philip’s games staff rose to the occasion and put on a rotation of cross-country and a rugby tactics video session in the pavilion. The boys all chipped in, too, and the new course down by the river was tackled with consistent enthusiasm if variable pace. Meanwhile, Mr Harvey-Kelly reports that the atmosphere in hockey training has been first-class with a few boys making a strong case to be made Captain of Hockey. Two season unbeaten, it is quite the job for the new skipper and I gather that early signs are very promising indeed.

School charity

School charity

The school’s main charity this year will be Carney’s Community Centre in Battersea. At the end of last term, the boys heard George Turner from Carney’s explain how the charity works to develop life skills, discipline and self-respect for young at-risk members of the Battersea community through mentoring and special projects. We are delighted to be able to support a local charity and will be challenging our boys to develop their own charitable iniatives to this end throughout the year.

Games fields, classrooms, garden


We are fortunate to be able to send the boys outside several times per day to take in some air in our lovely garden at Wetherby Place. Table-tennis and the unfathomable ‘basketpong’ are the most popular pursuits, but boys can also sit and take in the air amongst the trees. It’s not a bad life!

Week 1

Get set…go!

Get Set Go

The new term opened at 8.30am on Tuesday 7th January with the first assembly of 2020 and just after 9.00am it was down to Latin (Form 8), French (Form 8), Mathematics (Form 7), English (Form 6), RS (Form 5), and Mathematics and English (Forms 4 and 3). By break time at 10.25am, it was as if nobody had ever been away.

Clubs begin


It was straight from lessons into clubs on the first day with fencing, model-making, chess, Ancient Greek, LAMDA, coding, table tennis, Mandarin, judo, science and others all having met by the end of the first week. Debating, art and Italian will join in the fun next week.

Barn Elms – St Philip’s sports HQ

Our boys are extremely lucky to have several acres of drained games fields to themselves at Barn Elms every Wednesday and Friday afternoon. As founder-members of the Barn Elms Sports Trust, in partnership with the ECB and other national sports organisations, St Philip’s enjoys exceptionally generous provision to host fixtures and training for all its pupils and our opponents. Grass wickets, professionally-maintained rugby and football fields, a tartan athletics track and a fine pavilion are the canvas on which scenes of athletic triumph and disaster are painted. Sport is always the winner and the match teas are legendary.

Annual cross-country championships

Cross country

One tends to imagine cross-country races being greeted with moans and grimaces but, as evidenced by the pictures below, that was not the order of the day at St Philip’s as the annual cross-country championships took place on Wednesday 8th January. The whole school fronted up and put on a brave show in chilly conditions on the famously hilly Barn Elms championship course. Thank you to Mr Tanna and Mr Whittock for acting as hares.

Thank you to Ampleforth


We are grateful to Ampleforth College and to its Head of Rugby, Mr Will James, in particular for leading a training session at Barn Elms on Friday 10th January. Our 1st XV were the fortunate recipients of the wisdom of Mr James, who played top-flight rugby for several years with Gloucester RFC. In their first session of the season, he was able to lay down some firm foundations in relation to the basics that are the bedrock of any successful team.


On Thursday 9th January, Mr Walters and Mr Schirone went up to Harrow School Chapel to attend the memorial mass for Mark Keffer, an old boy of St Philip’s, who died tragically last year. In his homily, Fr Stuart Seaton remembered Mark as a happy, loving and kind young man who always filled a room with his beaming smile. That is exactly how Mark is remembered in his St Philip’s blazer. Many St Philip’s old boys attended the service. We pray for the repose of Mark’s soul, for his parents, and his brother, Peter, who is also a St Philip’s old boy.

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