Sir John Staples Society

The Sir John Staples Society was established in the Federation by the Governors of the Leathersellers' Federation of Schools.

Sir John Staples was Lord Mayor of London and the Master of the Leathersellers' Company when it funded the setting up of Prendergast School in 1890 thereby fulfilling the dying wish of Dr Joseph Prendergast [former headmaster of Colfe's School (also run by the Leathersellers)] that girls as well as boys should receive an education. Prendergast School is 125 years old and formed the nucleus of the Leathersellers' support for state education in Lewisham. The Leathersellers' have supported charitable works and education in Lewisham in particular since 1562.

The aim of the Society is to create a body across the Leathersellers’ Federation of Schools for those students aged 14-18.  Its function is to foster amongst the students an interest in the arts, music, commerce, politics, religion and science by facilitating events such as talks, cultural events, debates, discussions, visits etc. It will act to develop social mobility by providing opportunities and access which will be developed through the Federation’s outreach to Russell Group Universities. We will increase the number of ‘disadvantaged pupils’ (DfE Categorisation) gaining places in such Universities. Governors are anxious that it builds on the excellent good work done in schools in musicianship, debating, performance, public speaking and media production.

Young students will be involved in introducing and meeting guest speakers and performers, and in reporting and publicising events, and participating in the activities themselves. This will help in the development of the students’ social skills and confidence as well as socially and spiritually enriching them. An intended outcome is that the Society will play a part in helping students secure future employment and in enhancing university and further/higher education opportunities.

The Society will serve to promote the Federation ethos across the individual schools and reinforce the schools links with the City of London in general and the Worshipful Company of Leathersellers' in particular.

The Society has attracted high profile Patrons:

Lord David Blunkett

David Blunkett Best known as a British politician having represented the Sheffield Brightside and Hillborough constitutency for 28 years through to May 2015 when he stepped down at the general election.  Read Bio


Margaret Casely-Hayford

Margaret Casely-Hayford A lawyer of over 30 years. Appointed Chair of international development Charity ActionAid UK. Black British Business Awards 2014 Business Person of the Year. Appointed Trustee on the Board of the Radcliffe Music Foundation.  Read Bio


 Professor Mark d'Inverno

Prof Mark d'Inverno Pro-Warden of Goldsmiths, one of Europe's leading computer scientists and a renowned jazz pianist.


Vicky Foxcroft MP

Vicky Foxcroft MP     Member of Parliament for Lewisham Deptford.  Read Bio  


His Honour Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC

Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC     Recorder of London (the senior judge at the Old Bailey).  


Melly Still

Melly Still Director, choreographer, designer and adaptor for many companies including the National Theatre of Great Britain (Coram Boy), the Royal Shakespeare Company (Shakespeare's Cymbeline), the Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Tremendous success most recently with the epic tetralogy of Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante, Mr Brilliant Friend, at the Rose Theatre. Nominated on Broadway for four Olivier and and six Tony awards including Best Director.


The Inaugural launch of the Sir John Staples Society took place on 28th February 2017 at which Lord Blunkett gave an address to students, parents and guests. The event was held at Prendergast School and was a great success.