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A long-term commitment to education and social mobility

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Colfe’s is one of London’s oldest schools and has been closely linked with the Leathersellers’ Company since the 17th century when the Founder of the school, Abraham Colfe, entrusted the school to the Company.


Since the school’s incorporation in 2004 the Leathersellers’ Company has served as its sole corporate member and nominates a number of members to the Governing Board in order to support continued excellence at the school. The Master serves as an additional ex officio Governor.

The current Chair of Governors is Matthew Pellereau, a member of the Leathersellers’ Company’s Court of Assistants.

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Leathersellers’ Scholarships and social mobility

In support of social mobility, the Leathersellers provide a number of fully funded Sixth Form scholarships to pupils from neighbouring boroughs who would otherwise not have access to the opportunities offered by the school. In 2023–2024 15 Sixth Form students were supported by the Leathersellers in total across both years of Sixth Form.

Since 2010 the Leathersellers’ Foundation has given £2.6 million for the scholarships with a further £883,000 committed over the next five years.  We also provide match funding to encourage students to take part in charitable fundraising at the school each year. In 2023–2024 financial support for scholarships and match funding totalled £244,000.

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“We want to be a school that reflects its geographical location and our Leathersellers’ scholars bring another dimension to the Sixth Form. They are incredibly ambitious to seize the opportunities opening up to them and they raise the intellectual horsepower of the school, besides enhancing its social dynamic.”

Headteacher Richard Russell

Match funding

We also offer Colfe’s the opportunity to encourage fundraising by their pupils, by having it match-funded by the Leathersellers’ Foundation up to a total of £5,000 each year.

We do this to encourage pupils to engage in fundraising for charities as a key element of their development, recognising their civic responsibility in wider society. The school designates a teacher each year to lead this endeavour and administer the process, and interested students or parents should contact the school directly.

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The will of Abraham Colfe is retained in the Company archives. Most of the text concerns the school and the way in which Colfe wanted it to be managed in perpetuity.

The future of the school was guaranteed by an Act of Parliament in 1664, the original text of which was rediscovered in the Leathersellers’ archives in 2014.

Abraham Colfe himself had an advanced sense of social purpose. This can be seen in his opposition to the “enclosures” in Sydenham which would have restricted common grazing rights for local residents. After a turbulent youth, which included a brief spell in Newgate Gaol, he devoted most of his adult life – which encompassed the English Civil War – to his vocation as Vicar of the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Lewisham.

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Leathersellers’ Scholarships at Colfe's School

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Misha Patel - Turning the Tide

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