Independent day and boarding school for girls and boys aged 3 to 18 in Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire.
Nursery – Junior School – Senior School – Sixth Form
Every parent wants their child to do well in life. We know that means finding a school that will prepare them exceptionally well for their future, in every sense.
Naturally, this means achieving strong academic results. These should be personally ambitious for every individual.
They also need something arguably more important too.
They need a core confidence in themselves as young people, a sense of their own worth and responsibility.
At St Chris, each child is here to meet their personal potential and they do so in a relaxed but purposeful atmosphere.
It is a school where the shared values and sense of purpose are palpable, and an environment where humanity, compassion and healthy doses of laughter are evident together with an expectation that each child should be hungry to learn and participate.
For the people that know it, it’s the only way to run a school. For people used to a more conventional approach, it’s a lovely surprise when they walk through the gates.
We look forward to being able to meet you and your family in person soon to show you around our school, so that you can experience for yourself the St Chris difference.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy exploring this Virtual Open Day. Our Admissions team are available to speak to by phone or email if you have any questions at this stage.
Once you have attended our Virtual Open Day, we’d be delighted to invite you to come and see St Chris in person.
During November and December 2020, due to the national restrictions to combat the spread of coronavirus, we are unfortunately unable to offer physical tours of St Chris. We are however able to offer families a Zoom call with either the Head, Emma-Kate Henry, or the Head of the Junior School, Katie Wright.
From January 2021 onwards, we are arranging a limited number of socially distanced tours of the school to take place, once the national restrictions come to an end.
Tours will be led by the Admissions Department and will follow a set route. They will also include a meeting with the Head if this hasn’t already taken place via Zoom. Parents are very welcome to bring their children on the tour, but all visitors must wear masks during the visit in line with Government guidelines.
Please note that, due to the limited availability of tours, we are only able to offer one tour per family at this stage, so please ensure everyone that you would like to see the School comes on this first visit.
If you wish to see boarding, please let us know ahead of time, as we will need to prepare accordingly.
You can register your child for a place at St Chris by completing our online application form (click here to visit our admissions portal and click the ‘Apply Online button’). Making an application for a place includes payment of a Registration Fee of £100.
At this stage we also ask for submission of your child’s most recent school report and for you to declare any Individual Needs that your child may have, or any additional support that they will require. We will also contact their current school for a reference.
We accept registrations up to three years before entry. We aim to be as open as possible about how many places are available in each year group, running a waiting list system for those year groups that are full.
St Chris has a selection procedure that is designed to identify pupils who are able to benefit from our balanced and well-rounded education, and to make a positive contribution towards the life of the School.
Below is an overview of the assessment steps for each area of the School from September 2020 onwards, based on the latest Government guidelines in relation to social distancing, and on the basis that your health and wellbeing, and that of our pupils and staff, is our main priority.
Our assessment procedure for these years will involve an informal meeting with the Head of the Junior School, a call to your child’s previous education setting and a review of your child’s latest school report where applicable.
Under normal conditions we would offer families a Stay and Play Tater Session (Nursery) or a Taster Day (Reception to Year 4) but we are unable to do so at the moment until at least January 2021 due to social distancing guidelines.
Assessment involves an online CAT (Cognitive Ability Test) which takes approximately 1.5 hours, and have an informal interview with the Junior School Head or the Deputy Head. Assessments and interviews will run from October 2020 at St Chris, and will adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Under normal conditions we would offer a Taster Day to all pupils spent in class, however we are unable to do so at the moment until at least January 2021 due to social distancing guidelines.
Applicants for the Senior School are invited to an Assessment Morning in the school year before they start. Assessments are in small groups and candidates sit an online CAT (Cognitive Ability Test), English paper (30 minutes’ creative writing) and have an informal interview with a member of the Senior Management Team.
From October 2020 Assessment Mornings will be run in person at St Chris as socially distanced events.
In-year applications are subject to the same process as above but in addition, the Head will contact the Head of the child’s current school.
Sixth Form applicants are invited for an interview with the Head or the Head of Sixth Form which will be conducted by video call.
Normally we would consider the candidate’s projected or actual GCSE results. Generally, we expect candidates to obtain at least five GCSEs at grade 5 and above in order to follow an AS/A-level programme, with at least grade 6 in the subjects selected for studying at A-level, or in relevant subjects where a student is starting a subject from scratch (such as Psychology or Business Studies).
St Chris has an excellent reputation for supporting students with Individual Needs and we are proud to do so. However, it is only possible for us to support a small proportion of our student intake each year.
For candidates with Individual Needs, we ask for additional information to ensure that we can reasonably meet a child’s needs before assessing them formally.
At the point of making an application, we ask parents to disclose any known or suspected difficulties or diagnoses relating to their child’s health, wellbeing, abilities or behaviour.
Our Head of Individual Needs considers the information submitted by parents alongside the current school report and reference in order to clarify access arrangements and discuss any additional support required. She may also contact the current school’s SENCO.
Where we conclude that we can reasonably meet a child’s needs, we invite them for interview and assessment; where we do not, we inform the parents at this early stage to enable them to consider other options.
The registration deadline for applicants with Individual Needs who wish to join St Chris in September 2021 is Friday 6 November 2020.
St Chris offers a range of scholarships and fee assistance.
Scholarships are merit-based and involve an assessment such as an entrance exam or an interview and portfolio assessment. We offer both art and academic scholarships for entrants to the Senior School in Year 7, Year 9 and Year 12. The deadline for applying for an Art Scholarship for September 2021 entry is Friday 6 November 2020. Please click here for further information.
Fee assistance is available, through our bursary scheme, to those families with children joining St Chris who have need of it. Bursaries are means-tested awards for financial assistance and are made at the School’s discretion.
All bursary awards are based on an assessment of how much a child will be able to benefit from attending St Chris, their family’s financial circumstances and the degree of assistance required.
The deadline for submitting bursary applications for September 2021 entry is Wednesday 9 December 2020.
Applicants complete a Bursary Application Form, which is confidential, that is then assessed by the School’s Bursary Committee.
St Chris fees are as inclusive as possible and reviewed each year. The day fee includes tuition, most activities at school, games, textbook loan, and internet access.
Full boarding fees aim to be inclusive and include all tuition, accommodation, meals on campus, the majority of evening and weekend activities, group EAL lessons, laundry, wi-fi and study books.
Individual EAL lessons (one to one) and some activities (for example scuba diving,
An up to date schedule of fees can be found on our website here.
In the Nursery school starts at 8.30am and runs until 1.30pm. Children can also book into afternoon sessions until 3.20pm and make use of our wraparound care provision from 7.30am to 6.30pm, five days a week.
In the Junior School the school day runs from 8.30am to 3.20pm. Children can be dropped at school from 8.00am onwards. Clubs run after school until 4.30pm. Families can also make use of our wraparound care provision from 7.30am to 6.30pm, five days a week.
The core Senior School and Sixth Form day runs from 8.30am to 3.55pm with after school clubs or day boarding options available to extend the school day.
The St Chris Nursery – which we call the Monte because of its Montessori origins – is a special place where children grow in confidence, develop a love of learning, show their care for themselves and each other, make friendships that continue on into school, and have huge amounts of fun!
The Nursery is divided in to two year groups:
All children come to the Nursery five mornings a week. If needed, we can arrange for a staggered start during the first month, so children build up to the full hours.
The day starts at 8.30am and ends at 1.30pm, and includes lunch. Parents can also book for their children to stay for the afternoon session which runs until 3.20pm. They can do as many afternoon sessions as you choose each week.
St Chris also offers Wraparound Care to support parents’ working hours which runs from 7.30am to 6.30pm, five days a week.
St Chris has been a boarding school since it opened in 1915, and the school has a thriving, friendly and homely boarding community.
Pupils can board from Year 7 in the Senior School through to Year 13.
We offer full boarding, where pupils stay every evening of the week, weekly boarding, where pupils board for five nights a week and flexi boarding, where pupils stay up to two nights a week.
During the week there is a programme of weekly evening activities which fits alongside the school day and at weekends, for our full boarders, there are weekly trips and activities to take part in which are lots of fun.
Flexi boarding enables pupils to spend two nights at school during the week, which can be useful to cut down on commuting time, during exam years, or if a pupil is involved in lots of activities after school on certain evenings.
Our boarders come from the UK and from countries all over the world, creating a diverse and welcoming community where friendships are made that will last for many years.
A network of St Chris school buses run from North London (Highgate or Cockfosters), St Albans and Harpenden, Welwyn Garden City and Hadley Wood with several stops en route. There is also a bus from Hitchin railway station to school to meet trains from London, Cambridge and Peterborough.
Children are welcome to take the school bus from Year 5 in the Junior School and upwards.
For more information about bus routes and prices, or to find out more about booking a place, please visit the website of our school transport provider.
St Chris is set on a spacious 25-acre campus on the edge of Letchworth Garden City.
The green and leafy grounds provide a wealth of space for students to take part in a wide range of outdoor sports: football, netball, hockey, rugby, cricket, archery and athletics are all part of the curriculum.
As well as ‘traditional’ sports, the playing fields are used for a range of activities including camp outs, art festivals and maypole dancing, to name but a few, and pupils enjoy using the gardens to play hide and seek in their breaks!
As well as playing fields, there are also tennis courts, AstroTurf pitches, an outdoor climbing wall, skate park, indoor swimming pool and multi-purpose sports hall.
St Chris Junior School, for children aged 3 to 11, is comprised of a Nursery, a Reception class, and Years 1 to 6.
Play is an essential part of the day in the Junior School. There are many opportunities and spaces for individual or group play – the grassy area in front of the school is great for all kinds of games!
Behind the school there is also a large playground with play area, courts for ball games, marked out play areas, an adventure trail and a quiet garden. We also have an orchard where the children are encouraged to climb the trees.
The Junior School is housed in a light, airy and modern building.
There are two Nursery classes (Half Monte for children from the term they turn three, Top Monte the following year), a Reception class and Years 1 to 6.
There is one class in each year until Year 5, where the year divides into two. Small classes are supported by a teaching assistant in each year group and class sizes are around 20.
In addition to classrooms, facilities in the building include a School Hall with multi-purpose sports equipment, a music room, a book den, a drama studio, ICT area and a dedicated wraparound care area for before and after school care.
St Chris Junior School is centred on your child’s learning journey. It is an environment where the focus is on the development of learning habits to encourage children to become lifelong learners.
Children are given opportunities to develop their creativity, curiosity and compassion. Our topic-based approach facilitates learning that is centred within a context from which literacy; maths; science; art; humanities and personal social, health and economic (PSHCE) education is developed.
Our Junior School classrooms have all been recently refurbished and provide the ideal environment for learning to take place. All have high ceilings, plenty of natural light, access to outdoor space and plenty of room for our class sizes of around 20 pupils. Each class has a cloakroom for their bags, coats and wellington boots!
The Nursery is a special place where children grow in confidence, develop a love of learning, show their care for themselves and each other, make friendships that continue on into school, and have huge amounts of fun!
The Nursery is divided in to two year groups: Half Monte (from the start of the term that a child turns 3) and Top Monte (aged 3-4).
It is located in the main Junior School building in a dedicated area that includes outdoor and indoor play areas, and access to the main school facilities including a book den, music room, indoor swimming pool, PE and Games facilities and a Forest School.
On a normal week in the Junior School, children spend time covering all three core subjects in-depth (English, maths and science) with the curriculum also covering art and design; music; French; humanities; PSHCE; computing and Physical Education including weekly swimming lessons.
Children from the Nursery to Year 4 participate in weekly Forest School lessons. Forest School offers children the opportunity to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland environment.
The Junior School has a thriving extracurricular programme of activities to inspire and empower children to play, work and have fun together. There are a wealth of activities on offer in the Junior School both before and after school, as well as longer trips and visits each term.
Swimming plays a large part in the life of the School, with all students having weekly lessons from the Nursery to Year 9 in the Senior School.
Our 25-metre indoor swimming pool is also used for school clubs such as scuba diving, kayaking, water polo and aqua play, with older pupils having to chance to complete their national lifeguarding qualifications. The school swim team travels to a number of local meets, and we also host competitions at St Chris.
St Chris boarders have access to the pool on a number of evenings a week, and St Chris families are invited to join one of our free community swim sessions at the weekend or before school during the week.
The St Chris Music Department is a welcoming and creative space where pupils are encouraged to take part and where we enjoy making music together. It consists of teaching, practice and performance spaces set around a central courtyard.
There are many co-curricular opportunities for pupils including the School orchestras; jazz band; choirs and other singing groups and a number of small ensembles for example our weekly string group. In Year 2 of the Junior School, all children learn either the violin or ‘cello as part of our Strings Programme.
A team of experienced instrumental teachers delivers a diverse range of individual lessons and is fully involved with many aspects of the School’s rich musical life.
St Chris benefits from a purpose-built theatre and a fully-equipped drama and dance studio.
The theatre seats more than 200 people and hosts school and professional productions; Morning Talks, our name for assembly; and events such as talks by visiting speakers and careers evenings, as well as it being used as a teaching space.
There are regular school productions: Each year there is one main musical production which involves a large number of pupils both on stage and behind the scenes. Recent productions have included Legally Blonde; Grease; and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
There is also a busy programme of plays and performances for the whole school, as well as for smaller groups and individuals.
The Theatre also plays host to the School’s annual Inter-school Recycled Fashion Show which has been running for 25 years.
The multi-purpose Sports Hall means that students can take part in a range of sport and fitness activities whatever the weather! From basketball and badminton to trampolining, gymnastics and cross training there’s lots to try and get involved with.
The Sports Hall is also used for larger events such as the School’s recent Higher Education Conference.
St Chris Sixth Form is an inspiring and challenging place to learn. During the two years of Sixth Form pupils grow and develop both academically and socially, making the most of the unique environment and many opportunities available at St Chris.
As well as following a rigorous academic programme, we encourage pupils to play an active part in wider aspects of school life – whether that be through a position of responsibility on the School Council or by taking part in the wide range of extracurricular activities on offer.
The St Chris Sixth Form is based in its own Sixth Form Centre, which includes common rooms for Year 12 and Year 13, study areas, a garden, kitchen area and classrooms for specific A-level courses
The Centre is the hub of Sixth Form life with registration and tutorials held there, and it’s the place where students can study, socialise and seek support.
There are a number of dedicated ICT suites at St Chris – three in ICT, one in the Art & Design Faculty with additional software to support graphic design, animation and 3D design, and one in the Music Department to support music tech.
St Chris offers both GCSE and A-level Computer Science, and robotics and programming are a key part of the extra curricular offer in both the Junior and Senior schools.
In 2019 the School’s robotics team won a prestigious national robotics championship, the FIRST® Tech Challenge UK Championships, and went on to represent the United Kingdom at the international tournament in Detroit, the world’s largest student robotics competition, where they competed against 30,000 and won the World Championship Judges Award (and also the ‘’World’s Friendliest Team Award’!)
The Art Department contains art and ceramic studios, a photography dark room, a dedicated multimedia centre, Sixth Form studio spaces and a gallery.
Our aim is to encourage children to be curious about the world they live in, to look at it with fresh eyes and to develop their ability to think and act creatively. We aim to encourage exploration and discovery by creating an environment where personal growth and individuality are valued.
Art and design are popular and well established at St Chris and pupils regularly achieve entry to the most prestigious art colleges and design degree courses.
There are a host of regular extracurricular activities including pottery, enamelling, mosaic and photography clubs. A particular highlight in the calendar each year is the St Chris Inter-School Recycled Fashion Show which has been running for 25 years. Each year the show follows a theme, with pupils, designing and making their costumes out of recycled materials.
The 3D Design Department is based around a well-equipped design technology workshop; this includes facilities for laminating, brazing, welding, laser cutting, forming, etc. There is also a design room with a suite of computers.
St Chris strongly values creative design and skilled craft and we support pupils to develop a high level of practical skills across a wide range of materials.
SHED is our 3D Design club which takes place several times each week in support of exam candidates and younger pupils. It is an opportunity to use the supervised workshops to carry on with class practicals, work on other small scale projects or, for older pupils, the chance to work on their coursework practicals.
Biology, chemistry and physics labs are housed in their own building on the St Chris campus.
St Chris has a strong pedigree in STEM subjects, with pupils obtaining excellent results at GCSE and A-level in the sciences and heading to a host of top-flight universities to continue their studies.
St Chris has been a boarding school since it was founded in 1915. It is a thriving, friendly community which feels like a home away from home.
There are two boarding houses: Arundale, in the main School building, and Arunside, on the edge of the School campus.
Boarding is co-educational, with separate bedrooms and areas for girls and boys, and shared common room spaces such as this in Arundale boarding house.
There is also a kitchen for making snacks, games rooms and a laundry in each boarding house.
St Chris has a range of activities for boarders in the evenings and at weekends: there are plenty of opportunities to get involved! In the evenings during the week most time is spent in the boarding accommodation and local area, as students have school the next day. Regular activities include a quiz evening, film and pizza night and cookery with the Houseparents.
Boarders have use of many of the School’s facilities in the evenings and at weekends, such as the swimming pool, tennis courts, skate park and playing fields. In addition the ICT suite and Library are open late into the evening for study.
In our boarding houses there are a range of individual and shared bedrooms, with shared bathrooms and communal social areas.
We aim to locate boarders close to other pupils of the same or similar age. Male and female pupils’ bedrooms are located in separate sections of the boarding houses.
Each student has a comfortable single bed, a desk, a wardrobe and drawers. Students are very welcome to personalise their rooms, and large pin boards are provided.
Our students each lunch together in the St Chris Dining Hall, with boarders also enjoying breakfast and dinner here.
Our experienced on-site catering team ensures that our students are given a balanced, nutritious diet. Our Chefs understand what children like to eat and enjoy finding new recipes for our seasonal, tasty and healthy menus.
All meals are cooked from fresh ingredients in our kitchens, and we offer a nutritious and varied selection of hot and cold dishes, including 18 salads, a sandwich bar and a number of hot items each day.
During the week, at lunchtime, the School offers a vegetarian menu. In the mornings and evenings, and at weekends, meat and vegetarian options are available for boarders.
We cater for a wide range of dietary requirements and the catering team know all of our students, ensuring that everyone is well looked after.