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.

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

President of the Sir John Staples Society

Gregory Jones QC

Gregory Jones QC

Gregory Jones QC is an Associate Governor of the Leathersellers’ Federation, having served previously as a Governor. Gregory attended Pelham Road Primary School, Bexleyheath, passing the 11 plus before going on to Colfe’s School (Exhibitioner). He studied law at New College, Oxford and University College, London. Called to the bar in 1991, he took silk in 2011. Gregory practices from Francis Taylor Building, Temple where he specialises in planning, environmental and EU law.  He lives in Lewisham. His daughters were born in Lewisham Hospital. Gregory is a liveryman of the Leathersellers’ and Butchers’ Companies and is the elected Alderman for the City of London ward of Farringdon Without. He is also on the Governing House Council of St Stephen’s House, Oxford University.

Patrons of the Sir John Staples Society

The Society has attracted high profile Patrons:

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


Prof Mark d'Inverno

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


Bishop of Woolwich

Bishop of Woolwich

Dr Karowei Dorgu was ordained Deacon in 1995 and Priest in 1996.  His curacy was at St Mark, Tollington Park followed in1998 to building the community of faith at St John, Upper Holloway, before being consecrated Bishop of Woolwich in 2017.

Born and brought up in Nigeria, Dr Dorgu worked as a medical doctor before ordination. He has a deep concern for mission and regularly led open-air evangelism in his parish which saw his church grow remarkably. His post-graduate theological research is in Missiology and is keen about sharing the good news of Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. 

He was a Prebendary of St Paul’s Cathedral before his appointment as Bishop of Woolwich.  He was involved in the life of the Church Primary School in the parish where he had been Chair of Governors and supported staff and pupils. He is married to Mosun who is a Consultant Child Psychiatrist.

His interests include personal fitness, reading and cooking for others. He enjoys travel and discovering new places and cultures. He plays tennis, cycles and visits the gym. He is a keen supporter of Arsenal Football Club.


Vicky Foxcroft MP

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


Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC

His Honour 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.