2016 – the 90th Anniversary of the Founding of the School
On our return from the Christmas Holidays in January 2016, we began celebrations to mark the 90th anniversary of its founding by Canon Clement Henry 'Pop' Parsons in September 1926!
The origins of the school we know and love today can be traced back to a small hall behind the presbytery in Dale Grove where Canon Parsons began teaching a group of 18 boys. It was at this point that the school motto, “Da nobis recta sapere” and the school colours of azure and gold were established.
The school was officially opened in June 1927 by Cardinal Bourne and the move to the current site took place in 1928 after intense negotiations with the seller of the White House and grounds who refused to sell to Catholics. Finally, he agreed and possession was finalised on 6th December of that year and December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, was declared Foundation Day.
By 1930, the number of students had risen to 108, including the first Sixth Form, and House teams were introduced - Vaughan, Wiseman, Newman and Bourne.
The first block of three classrooms was built during 1931-32, opposite the White House, largely through the generosity of Cardinal Bourne after whom it was named. A further four classrooms were added in 1934, together with the picturesque tower which faces the White House.
Canon Parsons continued to expand Finchley Grammar School for those who had passed their 11+ exams but also opened two further schools on the site - St Alban's Preparatory School and Challoner School which offered more technical courses.
On Foundation Day 1956 the chapel which now serves as the school hall was opened by Cardinal Griffin for use by the three schools.
The late 1960s and early 1970s saw the unification of Finchley Grammar School and Challoner School into Finchley Catholic High School. The gyms and Stephenson Block were also built at this time.
In more recent years, the school has seen many changes, including the construction of the Technology Block, the Performing Arts Centre and most recently the Canon Parsons Sixth Form Centre as well as the introduction of technological equipment such as the automatic gates, finger print payment system and computer systems.
2016 was a year of celebration of the school’s history and successes.