Bancroft's School

Bancroft's School is a co-educational independent day school located in Woodford Green, London Borough of Redbridge. The school currently has around 1,000 pupils aged between 7 and 18, around 200 of whom are pupils of the Preparatory School and 800 of whom are pupils of the Senior School.

Bancroft's School
Bancrofts School.svg
High Road


Coordinates51°36′17″N 0°01′39″E / 51.60482°N 0.02742°E / 51.60482; 0.02742Coordinates: 51°36′17″N 0°01′39″E / 51.60482°N 0.02742°E / 51.60482; 0.02742
TypePublic School
Independent day school
MottoUnto God Only Be Honour and Glory
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
Established1737; 285 years ago (1737)
FounderFrancis Bancroft
Local authorityRedbridge
Department for Education URN102875 Tables
Chairman of governorsEd Sautter
Head masterSimon Marshall
ChaplainRev I. Moore
Staffc. 90
Age7 to 18
Enrolment1100 (including 260 in the preparatory school)
Houses  North
Colour(s)Navy blue, black
Former pupilsOld Bancroftians

The school's alumni – or "Old Bancroftians" – include naturalists, poets, academics, politicians, authors, sportsmen, actors, and military figures. These include two recipients of the Victoria Cross – Britain's highest military award for gallantry. They are Robert "Eddie" Cruickshank and Augustus Charles Newman.

In recent years these have included David Pannick, Alan Davies, Hari Kunzru, Russell Lissack and YolanDa Brown


Bancroft's School in Woodford Green

The school was founded in 1737, following the 1728 death of Francis Bancroft,[1] who bequeathed a sizeable sum of money to the Drapers' Company, which continues to act as trustee for the school. Bancroft's began in the Mile End Road in London's East End as a small charitable day school for boys, with an attached almshouse.

The foundation was originally known as Bancroft's Hospital and until the late 19th century also acted as home for almsmen who had been freemen of the Company of Drapers.[2] In 1884 the almshouse was abolished and the school moved to a new site at Woodford Green and the original buildings were demolished; the site is now occupied by Queen Mary, University of London.

A school cricket match in front of the prep school

The current school location in Woodford Green occupies four and a half acres, and the main buildings were designed by Arthur Blomfield, who was also responsible for Selwyn College in Cambridge. Originally there were just a hundred pupils, including sixty boarders. The numbers grew steadily during the twentieth century until there were nearly one thousand on the roll. The buildings were also extended, with the original Science Block (1910) then further extended (1969/70 and officially opened by Sir Solly Zuckerman), new Assembly Hall (1937), the Adams Building (1964), a new Gymnasium Block (1975), the Preparatory School (1990), the Courtyard Building (2006), new Sports Block (2007), and Preparatory School Extension (2009).

Following the Education Act 1944, Bancroft's became a direct grant grammar school. However, the removal of this status in the 1970s prompted the governors to decide on three courses of action: to discontinue boarding, to admit girls for the first time and become fully independent. Some years later the decision was also taken to build a new preparatory school. These were all completed by 1990; the school now takes half its pupils from age 7, and half the pupils are now girls. In 1997, the government abolished the Assisted Places Scheme, which had helped children from poor families to attend the school; the governors replaced these by Francis Bancroft Scholarships, which were supported by the Drapers' Company and by the residue of Francis Bancroft's original will. These awards are means-tested, and can be worth the entire school fee.

In 2004, a new major building programme began. The Courtyard Building, consisting of new kitchens, a communal atrium, staff offices, further teaching rooms and a new Sixth Form Centre, was opened by Chris Woodhead in February 2006, and a new large Sports Hall was completed at the beginning of the Summer Term 2007. In 2009, a conversion of the old gymnasium into a modern Drama Centre was finished with students enjoying the new facilities available. A large new building for the preparatory school and a second floor in the historic library for additional computer usage was completed in 2010. In 2011, an extension to the recently built 6th form block comprising a number of new facilities including a separate 6th form library was completed. The school also continues to invest heavily in its IT infrastructure with the roll-out of new hardware and software systems in 2007.

Mary Ireland became headmistress in January 2008, succeeding Peter Scott. She last worked at Christ's Hospital, where she was deputy head to Peter Southern, himself a previous headmaster at Bancroft's. It was announced in October 2015 that Mary Ireland would be succeeded by Simon Marshall as Head following the 2015–2016 academic year.[3]

The school team, led by English teacher Kevin Gallagher, won the Kids' Lit Quiz in 2009 at the world final in South Africa.[4]

Year groupsEdit

Preparatory School
Year Name
Year 3 Alpha
Year 4 Beta
Year 5 Prep 1
Year 6 Prep 2
Senior School
Year Name
Year 7 Thirds
Year 8 Removes
Year 9 Lower Fourth
Year 10 Upper Fourth
Year 11 Fifth Form
Year 12 Lower Sixth
Year 13 Upper Sixth

Preparatory SchoolEdit

Bancroft's Preparatory School
TypePreparatory day school
Department for Education URN132134 Tables
HeadJoe Layburn
Age7 to 11

The Preparatory School was founded in 1990 after the senior school had converted from a direct grant grammar to an independent school. Unlike most traditional preparatory schools, the final year is Year 6 (age 11) and not Year 8 (age 13).


For the first two years, students study the following subjects: English, Maths, Spanish, German, Combined Science, Drama, Religious Studies, Geography, PSHE, History, PE, Games, Music, Technology and Art.

In the Removes year (Year 8), students choose two languages to study out of French, German, Spanish, and Russian, and also study Latin.

In the Lower Fourth year (Year 9) students choose three subjects from Latin, Classics, Ancient Greek, Russian, French, Spanish and German and two creative subjects from Art, Music, Design Technology, Drama and Computer Science.

At GCSE level, all pupils take the following core subjects: English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. Four additional subjects are chosen from the following, one of which must be a language: Art, DT, Music, Spanish, German, French, Russian, Latin, Classical Civilisation, Classical Greek, Religious Studies, Physical Education, Drama, Computer Science, Geography, and History.

The school follows the IGCSE syllabi in Mathematics and English. Around a third of pupils take Mathematics a year early, going on to do an FSMQ in Additional Mathematics in the Fifth Form.

A-Level students choose three, four, or sometimes five of the subjects offered by the school: Art, Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Classical Civilisation, Classical Greek, Computer Science, Design Technology, Drama, Economics, Electronics, English Literature, French, Geography, German, History, Latin, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Music, Politics, Physics, Religious Studies, Russian and Spanish.


Grading systemEdit

Pre-GCSE students (Thirds, Removes and Lower-Fourths [up to the last half-term of the year]) are given grades with A to D measuring effort (With A representing the highest level of effort given) and 6 to 1 measuring achievement (With 6 representing the highest level of achievement). GCSE students receive a number grade for achievement ranging from 1 to 9, 9 being a high A*, 8 being an A*, 7 being an A/A*, 6 being an A, and so on, along with three separate letter grades, which are based on a student's attitude, classwork and homework. Students who achieve 8A* or more (usually around 2% of a cohort), will be awarded an honorary scholarship. In the sixth form years, grading is carried out using the same letter and number grades as those used for GCSE students, but numeric grades correspond to expected AS or A Level results instead.


Name Joined Left
Herbert Clement Playne 1906 1931
Thomas Grantham Wells 1931 1943
Sydney Adams 1944 1965
Ian MacDonald Richardson 1965 1985
Peter Campbell David Southern 1985 1996
Peter Scott 1996 2008
Mary Ireland 2008 2016
Simon Marshall 2016


Notable alumniEdit

Name Born Died Known For
Connop Thirlwall 1797 1875 Bishop of Saint David's, 1840–1874, and historian
Sir Allan Powell 1876 1948 Chairman of Governors of the BBC, 1939–1946
Sir Reader Bullard 1885 1976 Ambassador to Iran, 1943–1945
Robert "Eddie" Cruickshank 1888 1961 World War I Victoria Cross
Gilbert Waterhouse 1893 1916 Trench poet
Sir Kenneth Peppiatt 1893 1983 20th Chief Cashier, Bank of England, 1934–1949
Victor Purcell 1896 1965
Anthony Jacques Mantle, DFC 1899 1988 World War I Distinguished Flying Cross
Sir Wilfrid Percy Henry Sheldon, KCVO 1901 1983 Consulting physician; physician-pediatrician to Queen Elizabeth II
Lieutenant-Colonel Augustus Charles Newman 1904 1972 World War II Victoria Cross
Norman Suckling 1904 1994 Biographer, composer, pianist, writer on music, and educator
Sir Frederick Warner 1910 2010 Chemical engineer
Denis Quilley 1927 2003 Actor
Sir Neil Macfarlane 1936 Member of Parliament for Sutton and Cheam 1974–1992
John F. Dewey 1937 Structural geologist, authority on the development and evolution of mountain ranges
Colin Barker 1939 2019 Marxist sociologist
Martyn Turner 1948 Political cartoonist
Peter Perrett 1952 Lead singer "The Only Ones"
David Pannick 1956 Barrister
Michael Richard Lynch 1965 The first British-based internet billionaire entrepreneur
Alan Davies 1966 Comedian, writer and actor
Samantha Spiro 1968 Olivier Award-winning actress (Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick)
Hari Kunzru 1969 British Indian novelist (The Impressionist)
Samantha Smith 1971 Former British No. 1 ladies tennis player
Anita Anand 1972 Radio and television presenter and journalist
Adam Foulds 1974 Novelist and poet
Neg Dupree 1979 Comedian
Russell Lissack 1981 Lead Guitarist, Bloc Party
Ayesha Antoine 1981 Actress Grange Hill and Holby City
YolanDa Brown 1982 Musician, Double MOBO winning saxophonist

The Old Bancroftians AssociationEdit

The Old Bancroftians Association (OBA) was founded in 1892 when the Old Bancroftians' Football Club was formed, although there were already a few unofficial groups which had been around since the 1860s. The first meeting was held in 1896 at the Haunch of Venison in Fleet Street. However, a constitution was not agreed until 1909, when the first President, H.C Playne[7] (who was also the school's Head Master), was appointed. The idea of the association was to keep young and old members together.

The association grew rapidly over the years, to a size of 3175 members in 2005, when membership for life was introduced for all Bancroftians.[8]

The association provides a range of services for former members of the school, including the organisation of reunions and sports activities, including cricket, rugby golf, and football.


  1. ^ The Drapers' Company – Francis Bancroft's Trust. Retrieved May 2008 Archived 15 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Low, Sampson (1862). The Charities of London in 1861: Comprising an Account of the Operations, Resources, and General Conditions of the Charitable, Educational, and Religious Institutions of London. S. Low, son, & Company. p. 248.
  3. ^ The Guardian {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Kids' Lit Quiz 2009". Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  5. ^ Kitchen, The Web. "Bancroft's School". Bancroft's. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  6. ^ "The Bancroftian Network". The Old Bancroftian's Association.
  7. ^ "The Old Bancroftians Association". Archived from the original on 23 October 2009. Retrieved 23 December 2007.
  8. ^ "Bancroftian Network: A Brief History of the OBA". Retrieved 3 June 2019.

External linksEdit