Welcome to St John’s. I am delighted to have returned to St John’s as Head, having previously been Deputy Head from 2014-2017. I feel privileged to be leading what I already know to be an outstanding school and to develop the vision for its future.
When families arrive at our school for the first time, it is often the beautiful architecture that makes an immediate impression. We are undoubtedly fortunate to have such impressive surroundings but we are proud that, by the time a family leaves from that first visit, it is the creative, energetic atmosphere and the warmth of our community that stays in their minds.
People are what makes this school special. From the inquisitive, happy children who grow into confident, articulate young adults during their time here, to our talented, dedicated staff who teach, care for, and guide our pupils, we know that – together – we achieve more.
We’re not afraid to be ambitious or to have high standards; these traits are fundamental to our desire to spark a lifelong love of learning and to equip our pupils with the knowledge and skills they need to realise their dreams.
Whether they are improving their teamwork on the sports field, stepping outside their comfort zone on an expedition or taking to the stage to wow an audience, our pupils learn as much outside the classroom as within it. As they prepare for life in a complex world, this genuinely rounded, modern education equips them with the emotional intelligence, flexibility and resilience they need to thrive.
At the heart of St John’s is a much-loved house system. Our houses form the pastoral foundation of our community and foster a deep sense of belonging, while also creating countless opportunities for competition, fun, friendship and a lot of laughter. The strength of relationships – between peers, year groups, pupils and staff – is characterised by an understanding that respect and responsibility work both ways. Underpinning all of this, in everything we do, we aim to be kind.
When St John’s opened its doors in 1851, it was to provide education for the sons of the poor clergy. Much has changed since then – not least that we are co-educational from 11-18 – but the School’s motto: quae sursum sunt quaerite (“seek those things which are above”) remains a guiding principle and the spiritual and moral lessons we reflect on in Chapel have a meaningful role to play.
The best way to get a real sense of life at St John’s is to come and visit us; I look forward to welcoming you.
Alex Tate MA (Oxon)