There has been a school on the site of SFX for over 100 years. The first school to occupy the site was Clapham College, a fee-paying school for day boys and boarders, which became a state-funded grammar school in 1944. Another grammar school (St Gerard’s) joined Clapham College in 1975, and in 1977 the school went comprehensive along with all other schools in the Inner London Education Authority. To accommodate the new intake new buildings arrived to join the re-furbished Victorian buildings (re-furbished again in 2014!).
A photograph from the very early years of Clapham College
In 1985 Clapham College moved to another site to make way for the first-ever sixth form college in inner London, St Francis Xavier. This was at the time a revolutionary move as there was no other school or college in the area which could match the breadth of courses offered at SFX, the first college in London dedicated to the education of 16-19 year-olds across the ability range.
Photograph taken in the quad in 1986 - the very first academic year of SFX SIxth Form College
The college is named after St Francis Xavier, a Basque Roman Catholic missionary who travelled extensively (he is buried in Goa, India) and whose life is celebrated by schools and colleges named after him all over the world. He epitomises the international spirit which is the hallmark of Saint Francis Xavier Sixth Form College today, with students coming here to study from not only the whole of London, much of Europe and many countries overseas.
As early as the late 80s SFX had established a reputation for academic excellence and was sending students to top universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, but we also pioneered the development of the vocational curriculum with BTEC courses, still a strength of the college today along with traditional academic A levels.
The old entrance to SFX in the 1990s, before the building of the new foyer and LRC
On entrance to the college is the “new” entrance foyer, which came about in 2006. We also gained new classrooms, a fitness suite and the Learning Resources Centre was created on top of the foyer, giving us a fantastic library which is the envy of many other schools.