Welcome to The Grey Coat Hospital. It is a great pleasure as Headteacher of this wonderful school to introduce you to life in our community.
The Grey Coat Hospital, founded in 1698, is a Church of England school for girls aged eleven to eighteen which is mixed in the Sixth Form. We are a school with strong values, committed to ensuring that each student is known as an individual, develops the knowledge, skills and personal qualities to lead successful and fulfilling lives, and is empowered to do so.
The aim of The Grey Coat Hospital is “to enable students to take charge of their learning, make decisions based on Christian values, live in the world as independent women and men and meet the challenges of the twenty-first century”. We aim for excellence both in and out of the classroom, seeking to develop the qualities of inquisitiveness, resilience, independence, humility and kindness.
We emphasise the learning of languages as we believe that it is important to develop the linguistic skills to communicate with people from around the world as well as to gain an understanding and an appreciation of other countries and cultures. As a community we want to be the very best school for our students, one which ensures each student experiences a challenging learning journey and learns in a reflective, creative and vibrant atmosphere in which all our students may thrive. The GCH is a unique school. I very much hope that you will visit the school at one of our events and I look forward to meeting you then.
History of the School
In 1666, after the Great Fire of London, many inhabitants of the Old City of London moved to the medieval town of Westminster.
[Sketch of St Andrew's front entrance from March 1975]
With its congested and squalid alleys, the area was the home of many criminals who, until 1623, had the right of sanctuary in the Abbey. It was in the first seedy area – home to every type of vice and depravation - that The Grey Coat Hospital was founded.
On St Andrew’s Day in 1698, eight parishioners of the parish of St Margaret’s each invested 12/6 (65p) towards the founding of the school. The aim of the founders was to give an education to the poor of the parish so that they could be ‘loyal citizens, useful workers and solid Christians’. In 1701 the Governors purchased the old workhouse in Tutle fields (Tothill Fields) from Westminster Abbey and established a school for both girls and boys. St Andrew’s stands on the original site of the Elizabethan workhouse, the flagstones of which are walked over daily. After a colourful history which included a murder in 1773 and a rebellion in protest against the dreadful conditions of the school in 1801, the school became a day school of girls in 1874. The Headmistress at that time was Elsie Day, one of the great pioneers of girls’ education.
The hospital has undergone continuous development over the last few years and is provided with excellent facilities in all spheres. In 1998 The Grey Coat Hospital celebrated its tercentenary with the opening of a brand new replacement building for the Upper School, St Michael’s in Regency Street.