St Francis’ College marks 85 years of teaching

PUBLISHED: 10:31 23 September 2018

Letchworth's St Francis' College science class 1951. Picture: St Francis' College

Letchworth's St Francis' College science class 1951. Picture: St Francis' College

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Letchworth’s St Francis’ College celebrates its 85th anniversary this month, with the headteacher at the helm confident the school “remains true to its founding ethos”.

St Francis' College will celebrate its 85th anniversary this week. Picture: St Francis' CollegeSt Francis' College will celebrate its 85th anniversary this week. Picture: St Francis' College

In 1933 a number of members from Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary travelled to Letchworth from Ghent in Belgium to open the girls school.

Now, 85 years on, the school “continues to thrive” and is celebrating 85 years since the special opening.

The college opened its doors in September 1933 – the kindergarten and preparatory department began on September 4, while the residential and senior school opened on September 20, 85 years ago to the day.

Headteacher Bronwen Goulding said told the Comet: “We remain true to our founding ethos, to help each girl find herself through opportunity and challenge while offering support and conviction in her ability to succeed.

In1933 a number of members from Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary travelled to Letchworth from Ghent in Belgium to open St Francis' College, and continued to run it until 1983. Picture: St Francis' CollegeIn1933 a number of members from Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary travelled to Letchworth from Ghent in Belgium to open St Francis' College, and continued to run it until 1983. Picture: St Francis' College

“Each girl is unique and valued as such. St Francis’ College is a very special place.”

When opening, St Francis’ College had just 29 students – however, numbers soon increased to 200 by the end of the 1930s.

Just nine years after opening, plans were quickly drawn for a new building which would overlook Broadway. The large Broadway building was opened just as the Second World War began.

Over the last 85 years there have been many changes at the college, including physical improvements and additions to the building.

St Francis' College opened its new building overlooking Broadway in 1939. Picture: St Francis' CollegeSt Francis' College opened its new building overlooking Broadway in 1939. Picture: St Francis' College

Teaching in the 21st century bears no resemblance to what took place in the early days, but the college continues to offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities – as well as encouraging girls to do their best in their academic studies just as they did in the 1930s.

The Sisters continued to run the college until 1983, when they decided they wished to focus their attention on other areas of work.

The management of the school was handed over to St Francis’ College Trust and the college became, and still is, a multi-denominational Christian community that welcomes pupils of all or no faith.

St Francis’ College librarian and archivist Mrs Purchon said: “In 2018, St Francis’ College can be proud of its achievements over the last 85 years.

“It is a happy, successful school where pupils thrive in an environment that recognises the unique qualities of each individual.”

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