History of the School

With over 640 pupils, St. Teresa’s is the largest Catholic independent girls’ school in the country. It is a strong caring community based on Catholic traditions. We offer an inclusive environment welcoming pupils from all backgrounds, open to pupils of all faiths and none.

Our core values of Faith, Character, Community, Compassion and Intellect knit the school together, resulting in an atmosphere of mutual support, vibrancy and kindness.

St Teresa’s is a dynamic school which has embraced the challenge to modernise and update, whilst holding true the values and philosophies which define its character and spirit. At St Teresa’s, the emphasis is very strongly on encouraging confidence.

With recognised strengths spanning academia, sport and the creative and performing arts, we focus on the individual, allowing girls to achieve their best and enabling them to follow their own unique path to happiness and success.
But results are only part of the story. At St Teresa’s, the emphasis is very strongly on encouraging confidence without swagger, recognising achievement and success but, crucially, tempering these with modesty, kindness, good humour and a sense of humility so that your daughter is not only a highly capable individual, but also an immensely likeable young woman.

‘The land upon which St. Teresa’s School now stands has an ancient history and was, in 493 AD, given to Aeffa by Ella, the first king of the Saxons, hence the name Effingham, home to Aeffa’s people.
By 675 AD, Effingham had become the property of the Abbot of Chertsey; four centuries later in 1086 AD in the Domesday Book, two manors in Effingham are recorded, one of which is the site of Effingham Golf Club and the other the site of St. Teresa’s School.

Effingham Hill House, the oldest part of the school, dates from 1799. It, and the substantial estate that went with it, passed into the hands of a Mr R.R. Claburn, a family man with four children. In 1928, he decided to have a new house built for himself and his family, putting up for sale part of his land together with the house.

Mother General Christine, while on a visit to England from Belgium, read the advertisement in a Catholic newspaper. She had always wanted to begin a foundation in England and on her return discussed the possibilities with two other nuns. The purchase was made, and Mother Teresa set out with four colleagues to found the school.

The school was founded by the Religious Order of Christian Instruction in 1928 with four pupils. The main house forms the centre of the Senior School, and has been greatly extended to provide the modern facilities needed for the 21st century.