St John's College
Catchment Area, Reviews and Key Information

Primary & Secondary
Post 16
School Guide Rating

This school has 6 parent reviews

Grove Road South
+44 (0)23 9281 5118
4 - 18
Other independent school
Full Report
Independent Inspection Report
5+ GCSEs grade 9-4 (standard pass or above) including English and maths
GCSE Grade 5 (strong pass) or above in both English and maths
GCSE results at grade 9-7

Secondary Data
Explained for parents
A level average point score
Average A level result
Day, Weekly and Full Boarding
Boarding Type
Scholarship Status
Day Fees Per Term

School Description

Situated in the small town of Southsea in the naval city of Portsmouth, St John’s College is a Christian co-educational day and boarding school for ages 4-18 years. We pride ourselves on being a wide-range ability school. Founded in 1908 by a Lasallian community of Catholic Brothers established by John Baptiste De La Salle, we aim to follow his vision in both our academic and pastoral care. We are well-regarded locally for our pastoral ethos and our strong sense of community.

Our prospectus

St John's College Reviews

Average Rating:


“Holistic approach”
I was searching for a school with a holistic approach to learning for my son when I found St John’s College. As a concerned parent, I read through the aim and objective of the school including the pastoral care and I was impressed so I decided to visit. I am so glad I did and that we chose St John’s College because our son’s progress is such a commendable one. It's tutoring at its best. Teachers in St John’s College have been so supportive and encouraging to see that our son succeeds as a young man. With a well equipped boarding facility which creates the home away from home atmosphere has made adaptation very easy for our son. Finally St John’s College has helped our son to discover his potentials and how to use it to make a difference in the ways that matter to him most.
“Wish my children had joined sooner”
My children joined St Johns College in years 5 and 6 in the Junior school to give them the opportunity to settle into school life before Senior school. My only regret is that they didn’t start at SJC earlier. Both my son and daughter have been encouraged to develop to the best of their ability with the opportunity being provided to excel if they are able to. In particular the schools' attention to music, art, drama and sport in class and across Houses has enabled both my children to unfold layers of their character that have truly enhanced their lives. I have found the staff both approachable and helpful and prepared to use all the resources available to them to ensure each child develops positively. Their commitment to both child and parent is impressive. St Johns College has a ‘triangular’ approach, placing the staff, the children and the parents at each point, creating a community, and encouraging the children and parents alike to take a pride in the school and all it offers.
“Our daughter enjoys every day by Mr and Mrs J”
Our daughter loves being at St John's College. We have never had a day where she does not want to attend. She likes that her individuality is appreciated, as is her attendance at school events that she may not be involved in, since she is not always chosen for teams to represent the school. This appreciation means that she still wants to attend and support her school or House, whether it is outside school hours or not. She also likes that the school applauds the out-of-school achievements of the children in exactly the same way as those in school, so that those who follow different clubs or activities than those supported by the school are still recognised. She feels that this is very important to her and her friends. Before choosing St John’s College Junior School we considered several schools in the area. We liked the smaller size of St John's, especially the class sizes, and that the school buildings are on a single-site, so that older and younger children are together. We liked the ethos of the school as compared to others. The approach of locating some classes in Year 6 in Senior School buildings is proving very effective. There are fewer nerves around 'getting lost in the buildings' and 'not knowing who the teachers are'. From a personal point-of-view, St John's were flexible in the approach for our child. We felt that even after a short period of time (a taster day and a brief interview with Mr Shrubsall) the school understood the needs of our child and were prepared to work with her particular needs as an individual, rather than just as another child in a class.
“You won't be disappointed”
You never really know for certain what a school is like until something goes wrong and then you find out! St John's College gave exceptional pastoral support to my family in a way that was above and beyond what we expected. I believe we would not have received this level of support and understanding anywhere else.
“The right choice”
We found looking around a school was like looking around a new home - it either feels right or it doesn't. SJC simply felt right from the outset. We have been delighted ever since. Our boys have made some terrific friends and have been given some great opportunities. Unlike some Hampshire private schools it is not a sausage factory, but values the individual. The students are happy, confident, well-rounded individuals. A quiet revolution has been taking place at SJC in recent years and the school is picking up a lot of coverage. It is worth looking early to secure a place.
“Hidden gem”
We have found St John's College Portsmouth to be a first-rate private school, providing a tailored education, combined with a supportive pastoral environment. Although some guides suggest it is a Catholic school, which historically it was, it now caters to all faiths. Its modern management continues to develop the College, with the College becoming more select and mainstream in recent years. Class sizes tend to be kept to 20 or less. It offers an extensive sporting programme and a variety of other extra curricular activities which help develop the talents and creativity of its students. Its pastoral care goes beyond the norm, focusing on developing and nurturing the individual, which in turn provides them with both confidence and an appetite for life. Its urban setting sets it apart from many of the main independent Hampshire schools, but don't judge this school by that particular cover, as its well-known alumni may suggest, this school is definitely worth a look.
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School Noticeboard

News & events from St John's College

Last update: 04 October 2021


We believe a visit and tour is the best way to truly appreciate what St John’s College can offer you and your family.


View Open Days



At St John’s College, we pride ourselves on the academic success of each individual student and our outstanding pastoral care. We are a Christian school but an inclusive community, welcoming students of all beliefs.

We are not selective by academic ability and are able to offer a rounded education, providing opportunities for students through an extensive range of activities. We are also proud of our international links and, as the only independent Boarding School in Portsmouth, we offer a truly international education experience from which all our students, day and boarding, benefit.

One of the most outstanding aspects of the College is the quality of community spirit, based on positive relationships between students and staff. We passionately believe that we develop the talents of our students and create confident young people for the future, and this is a vital ingredient of our success. This ties in with our College motto – Per laborem ad Honorem (through work to honour), where all members of our community are encouraged to give their best in all activities.

The College was founded in 1908 by a Lasallian community of brothers and established according to the principles of John Baptist De La Salle, the Patron Saint of Teachers. Today, although we are no longer part of the De la Salle Trust, we remain true to our Lasallian values, providing an education based on respect for all, quality relationships and an inclusive, collaborative community.

There are many unique elements to St John’s College and you will get a good sense of our academic results, facilities and co-curricular opportunities from reading our prospectus. However, truly to appreciate what we can offer and to experience the inclusive community in which our students thrive, I invite you to join us at our next Open Morning or alternatively book a private tour.

Mrs Mary Maguire
Head of College 

More about St John's College


The last week of the Spring Term saw schools’ transition to a new phase of learning, where technology and teaching skills were tested as never before. However, as always, students and staff at St John’s College in Southsea were up to the challenge!


Following the announcement of school closures, teachers at St John’s College are now taking full advantage of Microsoft Teams to provide remote learning and virtual classrooms. Students from Year 3 to 13 can join their normal timetabled lessons from any mobile device, laptop or desktop and discuss work, speak to their classmates and ask teachers questions at any time through the chat feature. They can also submit work, have it marked and returned as if they were in the classroom.


Marisa Elder, Head of MFL at St John’s College, commented “Students have been very mature with the approach to the new style of learning. It’s been nice to see and hear them even though we are not in the same room – I love that they can ask questions either verbally or in the chat function.”


Mary Maguire, Head of College, commented, “Microsoft Teams allows for not just classroom style learning, but also collaborative learning. It has allowed the transition to remote teaching seem simple and seamless for both staff and students.” Younger students at the College (Reception to Year 2) have been provided schoolwork packs and staff on hand to support them. 


Penny Jones, a Year 6 parent, commented, “St John’s College’s support for the children’s learning has been amazing! My son is really enjoying his online classes – I heard him on a Spanish lesson the other day and it was fantastic!”


The College also remains open to students of key workers, given them on-site timetabled lessons, activities and support. Mary Maguire added, “The country’s priority is to protect the health of the population and we have been given a role to provide a safe and secure environment for children of key workers and our boarding community. We have all day provisions available and our School Matrons are on site to provide support and spread tranquillity in these anxious times. By giving our students the support from staff, the normality of being able to talk with their friends (online) and a routine of a normal school day, we hope this will help any anxiety or worries they are feeling and we look forward to welcoming them back on campus soon.”




At St John's College we are extremely proud of our Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) inspection which has confirmed and reinforced our strong reputation as an independent school with a good academic record and an outstanding reputation for pastoral care. The report not only comments on our pupil's excellent attitudes towards learning, they have also highlighted the inclusive and supportive ethos of the College, making note of how supportive and tolerant pupils are of each other – essential in a diverse community such as ours.

The College was inspected in January 2017 and we gained the highest possible achievement, meeting all eight areas of relevant legislation. The inspection rated the College ‘Good’ for its academic achievement and 'Excellent' for personal development.

Some highlights from our ISI Report:

‘Pupils of all ages develop good knowledge, skills and understanding in accordance with the school’s aims to foster the spirit of endeavour.’ 

‘Throughout the school, pupils display excellent attitudes to learning’

‘Pupils are very well prepared for the next stage in their education.’ 

‘With the through school ethos, staff work diligently to support individuals as they progress upwards through the school.’ 

Our Admissions Process

A boarding community has been integral to the life of St John’s ever since the School’s foundation in 1908; currently approximately 100 students board with us. Boarders range in age from Year 4 (aged 8/9 years) to Year 13 (aged 17/18 years), and come from a wide variety of backgrounds – including some from overseas and some from service/military families.

The sense of continuity, community and common purpose which characterises the boarding community benefits greatly the boarding school as a whole. In turn, the boarders benefit from their interaction with the day pupils who help to bring something of the local community into school.

In addition to full and weekly boarding, we also offer flexible boarding. 

More About Boarding >>

"My son has very much enjoyed his time at St John's College, specifically the after school and weekend activities.  Staying in West End, he says, was like being at home.  I would like to thank you very much for all your support given to the boarders.  We really think you and your team have done a very good job and we appreciate it very much."
Mr F Marti, Parent 





College Gains Official Beach School Status 

Nursery and Pre-Prep pupils are now able to enjoy regular, educational trips to the seaside, thanks to our official Beach School status.

Run by qualified Beach School Practitioner, Miss Gemma Hitchcock, the status allows our  Early Years Department to make learning in the outdoors a motivational experience, which can be linked with every aspect of the curriculum. Miss Hitchcock commented, “We are extremely fortunate to have Southsea Beach in such close proximity to our school and use it regularly as a fantastic learning resource for our children. Our Beach School gives our young explorers the opportunity to grow and develop self-esteem, creativity and confidence through exploring and learning in a natural, marine environment.”

Beach School has a holistic, kinesthetic approach to learning and is widely recognised in education as one of the most exciting ways to engage children in long-term learning and achieving positive outcomes. The outdoor environment also stimulates their physical and emotional health, alongside spiritual wellbeing.



Excellent GCSE and A level Results 2019

A level results for 2019 saw a 100% pass rate in many subjects, including Maths and English and 100% A* - A grades for History. Students and staff were jumping for joy at another set of outstanding results –– and over 90% of students were offered their preferred place at university. Mrs Mary Maguire, Head of St John’s College, and the Sixth Form staff, said: “Yet again, our results clearly demonstrate how well our staff know the students and have supported them to fulfil their potential, resulting in a positive ‘value added’ set of results." 

A week later, the College was celebrating GCSE success in 2019 with an overall pass rate of 84.5%. Particular highlights were the 47% 9 to 8 grades in History and 100% pass rate in Computing. 






More News

St John's College Catchment Area Map

This school is independently managed and its admission criteria may be selective. There is no set catchment area as pupils are admitted from a wide variety of postcodes and, in the case of boarding schools, from outside the UK. Contact the school directly or visit their website for more information on Admissions Policy and Procedures.

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