Prendergast Hilly Fields College
thumbPrendergast Hilly Fields College (formerly Prendergast School) is a Comprehensive girls' secondary school, located on Hilly Fields, Brockley, in the London Borough of Lewisham. It has an independent board of governors. It was awarded specialist status in Music and Languages, and has recently received further such status in Maths and ICT. The Headteacher since 1998 is Erica Pienaar, BA, MBA, FRSA. The school motto is from Chaucer's Prologue to The Canterbury Tales: "Trouthe and Honour, Fredom and Curteisye". (In Middle English and in this context, "fredom" is generosity, not liberty.)
Prendergast Grammar School was founded as a fee-paying grammar school in Rushey Green, Catford in 1890 under the will of the late Dr. Joseph Prendergast, DD (Cantab), 1791–1875, Headmaster of Colfe's School 1831-1857. His endowment was supplemented from several quarters, including some ancient charities associated with the parish of Lewisham.
In the first half of the 20th century the school accepted an increasing number of scholarship girls from LCC Elementary schools. Following the Education Act 1944, the school became a maintained grammar school with voluntary aided status.
In the 1970s, with the abolition of the grammar school system in the inner London area (i.e., under ILEA), the school became Comprehensive. In 1995, for reasons of space, the school moved to its present site following extensive refurbishment. The site had previously been occupied by the West Kent Grammar School, which closed in 1905 and the building was bought by the London County Council for the Brockley County Grammar School which opened in 1907.
The School today
Prendergast Hilly Fields College is a voluntary aided, non-denominational Comprehensive school of about 770 girls in the 11-18 age range (Year 7 to Year 13), including 180 in the sixth form (Year 12 and Year 13). In the 2007/2008 academic school year, there was a small intake of boys into the sixth form. In Year 7 it accepts applicants of all abilities and the admissions policy is largely based on proximity, but, as a specialist school in music and modern foreign languages, up to 10% of its intake can be determined by aptitude in these subjects. In recent years, official KS2-KS4 value-added indicators  have consistently put the school in the top 10%-15% of maintained schools. The Ofsted report of March 2003 noted, however, that attainment on entry to the school was higher than the national average. In the subsequent Ofsted report of March 2007, the school was awarded Grade 1 (outstanding) in overall effectiveness.
The school is very closely linked with the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers, a City Livery Company, which gives occasional financial support, mainly for capital projects. It also awards three bursaries each year to leavers who are going on to university. Four members of the Company are foundation governors. Although secular, the school also has historical links with the parish of Lewisham.
In 2008, there was a proposal , subject to consultation, to involve the school in a federation with Crofton School and a new 3-16 school in Lewisham.
As of September 2009, Prendergast School became Prendergast Hilly Fields College, having become part of a Federation with Crofton School - now called: Prendergast Ladywell Fields College. Prendergast Vale College joined the federation in 2011.
Site and buildings
The school is split over two sites spaced about two hundred metres apart. The upper site (originally the home of the West Kent Grammar School) was built in the 1880s and commands fine views over London, Kent and Surrey. It is a Grade II listed building and the main hall contains some attractive, early 20th-century murals, together with stained glass panels, salvaged from the Catford site. It also houses most of the classrooms and administrative offices. Adjacent to this, a new music block was neatly incorporated into the southern perimeter wall in 2005. thumb The lower site on Adelaide Avenue contains an assemblage of post war buildings comprising science laboratories, a sports hall, a modern languages block, an examination hall (The Leathersellers' Centre), art studios and facilities for design and technology.
The sports ground is located in Bellingham, about 3 km to its south.
- Prendergast Hilly Fields Website
- Lewisham: Prendergast School Information
- Lewisham: The Prendergast School building
- DfES: Prendergast School Profile