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Archbishop’s school, 300 years later

09 May 2014

marcus ascott

THE bells of Croydon Minster rang a quarter peal last Friday for a Founder's Day service to celebrate the tercentenary of Archbishop Tenison School, Croydon. It is believed to be the longest-running mixed school in the world.

The school, founded in Southwark in 1714 by Archbishop Tenison for ten poor boys and ten poor girls, has evolved into a 760-pupil comprehensive. It was "a sign of hope that a school started for those who needed it has lasted for three centuries, and still has the same values and purpose as it did when it was founded", the head teacher, Richard Parrish, said.

Led by the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, the service was part of a week of tercentenary celebrations that began with a concert, included a day-long festival at the school on Saturday, and ended with the opening, on Monday, of an exhibition at the Fairfield Halls.

Over the weekend, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and his predecessor, the Rt Revd Lord Williams, contributed to the daily 300-word messages on the school website.

Archbishop Welby's message emphasised the qualities of faith, hope, and love, and included the advice: "Only the achievements that you come by fairly will give you lasting pleasure."

Lord Williams wrote: "A good school teaches you to pay attention to your work, your needs and gifts, and those of others. Archbishop Tenison would have wanted his school to nurture just this kind of attention."

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