Christ’s Hospital is a remarkable school, it is the UK’s leading charitable school and largest bursary charity. The School was established in 1552 and provides free or substantially reduced cost places to over 630 of its 900 pupils each year – this is more than any other organisation in the UK. Through first-class education and exceptional pastoral support, Christ’s Hospital provides each pupil with stability and the opportunity to thrive and fulfil their potential. 98% of pupils go on to university and leavers take with them the confidence and resilience they will need to achieve success at university and beyond and to make a meaningful contribution to society.
CHRIST’S HOSPITAL, PAST & PRESENT
Christ’s Hospital (CH) is one of the famous Royal Hospitals of London, whose foundation marked the beginning of the social services in Tudor England. Inspired by a sermon by Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London, the young King Edward VI instructed the Lord Mayor, Sir Richard Dobbs, to appoint a committee of leading citizens to consider remedies and relief for the City’s homeless poor. Their work, and subsequently their philanthropy, led to the founding of the five great Hospitals all supporting different needs. CH, established in the monastery of the Grey Friars in Newgate Street, embraced the task of educating and nourishing the destitute children of the City and took children of all social backgrounds and ages.
In November 1552, CH opened its doors to 380 pupils and, within a year, the number had increased to over 500.
Christ’s Hospital Today
The School moved to Sussex in 1902. Its rich history is evident in many facets of school life. The most obvious is the Tudor uniform which is worn with great pride by the pupils. For all that, CH has a decidedly modern outlook and our focus is very much on providing pupils with the best possible preparation for the future.
Christ’s Hospital prides itself on delivering a vibrant curriculum that has both challenge and opportunity at its heart. The CH curriculum is made up of three interwoven parts: a stimulating academic curriculum which covers everything inside the classroom; an extensive broader curriculum which encapsulates everything outside the classroom; and a pastoral curriculum which has deep roots in the boarding house system complemented by a dynamic learning for life programme which teaches personal development. All three complement and support the progress of our pupils at every stage.
Pupils’ experiences outside the classroom are challenging, varied, and rewarding. They are about discovering and developing new and lifelong interests and talents. The School’s diverse curriculum encourages life-skills and is devised to take the pupils out of their comfort zone. An enormous range of Music, Art, Drama, Sport, and outward-bound activity is offered, including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Young Enterprise, Model United Nations, chess, debating, public speaking and so many more.
Christ’s Hospitals commitment to its core goal of social responsibility helps to enhance pupils understanding of and appreciation for diversity. This commitment encourages the School to make a difference in the local community as well as further afield. The School offers its amenities, engages with organisations and welcomes members of the local and wider community to enjoy the School’s grounds and facilities. A diverse range of events, including lunchtime concerts, plays, historic tours and community lunches are regularly organised. An extensive community action programme enables pupils to develop their communication, leadership and other interpersonal skills.
The Community Action programme at CH was started in 1987 and involves over 200 pupils each week. Pupils visit local nursery schools, primary schools, special needs schools, residential homes, hospices and charity shops as well as helping with a Ready and Able Sports Club at CH.
The Christ’s Hospital band dates back to 1868 when some of the pupils requested that instruments be purchased to enliven their marching drill. The Treasurer of CH agreed and, with money from his own pocket, purchased a few instruments and paid the salary of the first Band Master. Over the years, the Band has grown into a highly-trained group of musicians with an impressive record of engagements. It accompanies the School on its annual parade through the City of London on St Matthew’s Day and also takes part in the Lord Mayor’s Show each autumn and rounds off the academic year with an hour-long display of marching and counter-marching as a tribute to those who are leaving.
Since 1552 the generosity of supporters has been fundamental to the continuation of Christ’s Hospital.
Why we are called Christ’s Hospital
Christ’s Hospital’s name derives from being founded in the parish of Christchurch, London. During the Middle Ages, hospitals served different functions from modern institutions. Medieval hospitals were alms houses for the poor, hostels for pilgrims, or hospital schools. The word “hospital” derives from the Latin noun hospitium and came to signify hospitality.
Alumni (Old Blues)
With a history as long and a rich as ours, it is not surprising that there are many famous alumni (known as Old Blues). From the 19th and early 20th Centuries, writers and poets including Charles Lamb, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Edmund Blunden. From the world of music, conductors Sir William Glock, Sir Colin Davis and Charles Hazlewood. From academia, we are proud to have educated recent principals of Oxbridge colleges – Elizabeth Llewellyn-Smith (St Hilda’s), Ruth Deech (St Anne’s), and Alan Ryan (Warden of New College, Oxford).
Journalists Bernard Levin and Con Coughlin; trade unionist John Edmonds; aviation engineer Barnes Wallis; senior members of the military including General Sir Garry Johnson and from the world of politics Michael Stewart (former Foreign Secretary).
A number of Old Blues have gone on to make a career in sport, most notably former Sussex and England bowler John Snow and of course the current England rugby player Joe Launchbury and more recently cricketer Stuart Whittingham. Theatrical Old Blues include Olivier Award winners Howard Davies (stage director), Roger Allam (actor) and Michael Wilding (actor). Film actors and directors such as Jason Flemyng, James D’Arcy, Susannah Fielding and Peter Hewitt, screen writers for television including Clive Exton, and comedians who include Mark Thomas and Holly Walsh have all benefitted from a Christ’s Hospital education.