The John Fisher Old Boys Association

For former pupils and staff of The John Fisher School, Peaks Hill, Purley

School Newsletter March 2017 

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Headmasters Update

We are now reaching the final run towards the finishing line which is the examinations. All year, we have been motivating the students to reach above expected levels

of progress, to exceed beyond their target grades and to reach beyond themselves to achieve something truly special. Students are aware that they have their own race to run and some are making huge strides towards achieving their desired outcomes. For those students who are still falling short it is important to appreciate that there is still some time to make the difference. Students have to make a conscious decision to make some sacrifices, to demonstrate a dedication and be prepared to engage in serious study.

Unfortunately, there is no magic wand or tricks which students can play to improve their performance in examinations just solid preparation. Students have to be willing to accept the critical feedback from their teachers and to show a passionate attitude towards their education if they hope to unlock their God given potential. Parents/carers have a significant role to play in supporting their sons through what can be a daunting experience. Nevertheless, with sound preparation and through demonstrating resilience we are confident that The John Fisher School students can be successful.I would like to thank the teaching staff and support staff who have worked so tremendously hard over the last two terms to help ensure that the students are fully prepared. I hope that the students take some of the Easter break to have some rest and then to use this time out of school effectively so that they can perform to their best when they return to sit their examinations.

Mr P E McCullagh

31 March 2017 17:16:00

50 Years of Rugby 


The John Fisher School Sports Dinner

Friday 26th April
The John Fisher School Sports Hall, CR8 3YP

Tickets £50
Compere: Scott Charlton
After Dinner Speaker: Alex Goode
Dress Code: Black Tie / Cocktail Dress
Start: 7 for 7.30pm
Carriages: 12:30am
Tickets from: Mike Davies / 07742676474
School Office (cheques payable to ‘The John Fisher School’) or Parentpay.
Early Bird Booking until 8th March 2013: £450 per table of 10

Open Poster

03 March 2013 10:15:00 Categories: Rugby Sports The School

75th Anniversairy Dinner 

Over the past 70 years or so there have been a number of memorable dinners held at the School, some which were marking special occasions and some which just turned out to be highly enjoyable for no special reason. The Old Boys’ Association, formed in 1933, immediately began organising Annual Dinners until the War intervened in 1939. When the Association was revived in 1947 the Annual Dinner was undoubtedly the high spot of the Association year. Its attraction has waned in recent years for a number of reasons, but perhaps it will undergo a resurgence following the School’s 75th Anniversary Dinner held on the 5th October. This was a truly memorable occasion which has put all previous dinners held at the School very much into the shade and demands our deep appreciation and admiration for the host of people responsible for its organization. This was a combined School/Old Boys function with the major organisation being undertaken by the School and parents. Neil Ockenden and Michael Thelwell acted for the Old Boys, for which warm thanks are given. Of the parents involved, two ladies in particular shouldered the lion’s responsibility, and on the night were presented with bouquets in recognition for their sterling work. The ladies were Mel Gillam and Helen Mackenzie and they most certainly deserve our congratulations and thanks. Many thanks are also due to members of the 6th form who acted as car-park guides and provided general stewarding.

The Dinner was held in the School’s brand-new magnificent Sports Hall, which had been transformed for the event. The wooden floor had been completely covered with an underlay and a carpet on top, the cost of which must have been eye-bulging. There were tasteful decorations in the School colours around the walls, balloons galore, and flowers everywhere. At one end were displays of photographs of bygone days featuring the School and The Old Boys including a section showing the various sites that had served as the School Chapel prior to the present fine building.

When not in use as a restaurant, the Sports Hall provides three full-size Basket-Ball pitches and can accommodate virtually all sports, including Badminton and Indoor Cricket. The School, which is now designated as a Sports College by the Department of Education, is obliged to allow the Sports Hall to be used by the local community, and this it does by welcoming the local Catholic Primary Schools to enjoy its facilities, with a Member of Staff on hand to provide all the necessary coaching.

It was good to see Bishop Howard Tripp, an Old Boy, of course, obviously thoroughly enjoying the evening and welcoming us all as he introduced Grace. It was a very good meal and we were provided with ample time to digest one course before the next was placed before us.

I have no doubt that one of the reasons for the declining in the attraction of the Association Dinners in recent years has been because of certain speakers who have used the occasion to demonstrate their lack of affection for the School and, in effect, have taken the opportunity to settle old scores. There was no risk of this happening on the 5th February when one glanced at the list – thoughtfully short – of speakers:- Professor Jack Scarisbrick (Old Boy), Jim Buttress (Old Boy) and the Head Master, Jack Scarisbrick brought to life those masters of the early years whose eccentricities, foibles and famous sayings have passed into history, including Father McCarthy, (Lousy), Father Duprez (Dippy), Father Compson (Compo) and, of course, J.H.B., Father Byrne. All was recounted with great affection and a sense of gratitude. James Buttress regaled us with an account of his interview for admission with the Canon which made us wonder how he ever got into the School. He described how his love of Mother Earth was first awakened by the many times when a master, to gain some relief from James’s non-scholastic activities in class, would despatch him to the playing field to fill in the holes made in the turf by shot-putters and javelin throwers. From such humble beginnings to Superintendent of the Royal Parks. Robin Gregory dwelt on the successes and achievements of the School, stressing how the traditions of the School played a significant part in determining its welfare, progress and success. They were three speeches which I could have happily listened to all over again.

There have been so far two major events which have been arranged to celebrate the School’s 75th Anniversary: The concelebrated Mass at St George’s Cathedral on the 3rd October, and the Anniversary Dinner at the School on the 5th February. Both these occasions have been most successful and significant in recognising the School’s Jubilee.

03 October 2008 13:39:00 Categories: Jubilees

Retirement of the Head Master 

Soon after his appointment as Head Master of the School, and having apprised himself of the way things were done at the John Fisher together with its deeply-seated traditions, Robin Gregory exclaimed to himself, ‘What on earth have I let myself in for?’ A lesser man might have decided that after a couple of years or as a quiet resignation would be in order and the taking-up of a post in another school where the challenges were no so forbidding. Fortunately for the School, Robin was not a lesser man and he settled down to immerse himself in the Fisher ways, methods and traditions and the School soon realised that there was an inspiring leader at the helm. Before long he had obtained the respect and affection of the Staff, and the boys appreciated that although Robin built up a friendly relationship with them, he was, nevertheless, someone you would not be advised to mess with. The parents, too, appreciated his friendly and co-operative attitude towards them, and gave him and the School their full support. Robin’s interest in, and support for, the Association was soon apparent and remained so throughout his term of office. Life at the School was not easy, with major building projects interrupting the normal school life, and the pupil roll continuing to expand – there are now approaching 250 boys in the 6th form. (When I left in 1940 there were 3, but that’s another world.) Yet with all the problems, standards have continued to rise, and the School has received glowing OFSTED reports, which did not fail to refer to the positive influence which the faith had on all its activities.

The high quality of the School’s sporting activities has earned it an impressive reputation that reached far beyond the local area, and has moved the Education Department to grant it Sports college status.

Looking back over the past 11 or 12 years, Robin should feel more than a little content over the task which he has performed with great ability, understanding and devotion, and his successor will require great efforts to maintain the present standards. Thank you, Robin, for a job carried out so magnificently. You’ve earned your rest – if you intend to indulge in one.


03 September 2005 14:26:00 Categories: Headmaster

The New Sports Hall 

Bobby Robson from Bobby Robson, former England and Newcastle Football Manager, recently officially opened the School’s magnificent new Sports Hall. It was hardly a flying visit as he spent some three hours at the School before unveiling a plaque commemorating his visit. Before that, he tried his hand at, to him, a few new sports including badminton with an admiring audience of pupils. Robin Gregory in his speech of welcome said that the visit was a memorable occasion and a fitting way to mark the outstanding range of activities now on offer at the School. The Department of Education made a grant of £810,000 towards the cost of the Hall, the total cost being £1.5 million, thus leaving a sizeable sum for the Governors and School to find. Because of the School’s achievements and facilities it has been awarded Sports College status. If there’s a break in the conversation these days I don’t hesitate to mention, casually of course, that I’m an Old Boy of the John Fisher School .

03 September 1999 13:47:00 Categories: Notable Visits Sports
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