Search this site

About Us

School History

The school’s beginnings date back to the wills of brothers Thomas and John Tiffin, two wealthy Kingston brewers who were born at Yalding in Kent. In their wills in the 1630s they left a combined sum of £150 and hoped to support ‘some honest poor man’s son’ through one of the local private schools.

The Tiffin Charity also provided £5 for each pupil to be apprenticed at the end of their education. By the mid 19th century, between 30 and 50 pupils per year were being supported by the Tiffin Charity. The Endowed Schools Act of 1869 allowed the various local Kingston educational charities to be combined and by the 1870s, and with their bequest being the largest in the borough, the decision was taken to amalgamate the charities into one Kingston Schools Endowment. Plans were drawn up for two new schools to be built, one for boys and one for girls, each taking 150 pupils. Work began to build a school in Fairfield (now St Joseph’s RC primary school) and was completed at the end of 1879. The Tiffin Girls’ School opened on 20 January 1880 under the first Headmistress Miss Rhoda Ward Fysh.


  • Miss Rhoda Ward Fysh 1880 – 87
  • Miss Elizabeth Bebbington 1887 – 91
  • Miss Amelia Flavell 1891 – 1917
  • Miss Faith Watson 1917 – 44
  • Miss Margaret Schofield 1944 – 49
  • Miss Evelyn Orford 1950 – 1964
  • Miss Brenda Weedon 1964 – 80
  • Miss Elizabeth Davis 1980 – 82
  • Dr Hilary Nicolle 1982 – 88
  • Mrs Sandra Buchanan 1989 – 94
  • Mrs Pauline Cox 1994 – 2010
  • Ms Vanessa Ward 2010 – 2015
  • Mr Ian Keary 2016 –


Significant Dates

1880 Tiffins’ Girls’ School was established, and housed with the boys’ Tiffin School in the Fairfield.
1899 Tiffins’ Girls’ School moved to its new premises on St James’ Road, and the old Fairfield site was given to the boys’ Tiffin School.
1910 The school’s name was changed slightly from Tiffins’ Girls’ School to The Tiffin Girls’ School, in recognition of the problematic double apostrophe. The front cover of a new school magazine, published annually from 1908 until 1913, included Tiffin Girls’ first motto Virtute ad Astra, ‘With courage to the stars.’ Subsequently, in 1917, under Miss Watson’s headship, the school adopted Horace’s confident maxim Sapere Aude, ‘Dare to be wise’, which continues to this day. Miss Watson also introduced the first house system and the school song, which is also still sung today.
1931  The school birthday candle lighting tradition began.
1937 The Tiffin Girls’ School moved to a new two-storey building with a quadrangle on Richmond Road, the site of the current The Kingston Academy.
1987 The school’s final move to the current school site, the former Rivermead (Tudor) School building, took place. Under Mrs Cox’s headship, the current house system was introduced, named after four previous headmistresses – Miss Bebbington, Miss Flavell, Miss Watson and Miss Schofield.
2003 A major fire led to the creation of the Holdsworth Wing. The wing was opened in 2006 and named after Mrs Holdsworth, the Chair of Governors at the time.
2011 The school became an academy on 1 April.
2016 Six forms of entry were introduced, and with it, two new houses also named after previous Headteachers Miss Orford and Dr Nicolle.
2020 The Rivermead Building opened in February 2020 and accommodates 3 classrooms, a Design Technology suite and Drama Studio.
2022 Our new Sports Centre opened in September 2022.