St Andrew's Secondary School > About SASS > Our School > Our School History

Our School History

About SASS -_ Our School History.jpg


Perhaps the beginning of St. Andrew's School could be traced back to the 1850s when a private institution was set up in Chin Chew Street by two Anglicans - Mr Sim Quee and Mr Tye Kim. As a result of the sermon on Whitsunday 1856 by Rev Humphreys, a group of laymen formed themselves into a committee for the spreading of the Gospel in the then 37-year old Singapore.


One of the steps taken was to seek a missionary and this resulted in the arrival of the Rev Edward Sherman Venn in 1861. The private institution of Chin Chew Street had no connection with the Anglican Church at that time - this was only brought about on 8 September 1862 when it was adopted by the Anglican Church because of the work and influence of Venn. Thus St. Andrew's School was founded on 8 September 1862 by Venn.

One year later, on 10 September 1863, the School moved to Upper Hokkien Street because of the need for a better building and more space for the growing School. Soon after, Mr Cheok Loy Fatt was appointed the Headmaster and he proved to be the excellent choice.

For some years, the mission had serious financial difficulties, resulting in their withdrawing its financial support for the School in 1866. The School suffered an even greater loss with the passing away of her Founder and friend. In spite of these losses, Loy Fatt carried on managing the School by himself.


In 1872, the Colonial Chaplain Canon J.A. Beccles successfully applied to the Government for financial aid. Thus, on 22 May 1872, St. Andrew's School became a grant-in-aid institution.
In the same year, Canon Beccles was succeeded by the Rev George Frederick Hose as Colonial Chaplain. Meanwhile, the growing School shifted to Victoria Street. Hose did a great deal for the School. One of his first acts was to invite the Rev William Henry Gomes from Borneo to act as School Superintendent. Under the wise and capable guidance of Gomes from 1872 to 1902, the School prospered and grew.

02.jpgEven as early as 1873, both Hose and Gomes knew that the growth of the School would be hampered by poor accommodation. Their hard work was rewarded by the Government giving the School a 4-acre piece of land on the then Government Hill with a frontage on Stamford Road. The first building to go up was the Chapel in 1875 and in that same year, the School vacated its cramped premises in Victoria Street and moved into the Stamford Road site. Classes were held in the Chapel which also became an important centre of public worship.




In 1888, Loy Fatt resigned as Headmaster and he was succeeded by Mr D.S. Ponniah in 1890.


The School suffered a severe loss in 1902 when Gomes died after having been the superintendent for 30 years. He was succeeded by the Rev R. Richards who served from 1902 to 1934.


Ponniah was succeeded by the Rev J. Romanis Lee as Principal in 1912. Romanis ranks as one of the greatest benefactors of the School for his time saw many significant changes. In fact, it can be said that St. Andrew's School acquired many of its modern characteristics during his period as Principal. He set about expanding the premises of the School. Next, he proceeded to raise the status of the School from a second grade school to top grade in 1914. He helped to establish another tradition when he started sports and games in the School. Our 1st Athletic Sports Meet was held in 1913.


Because of ill health, Romanis was forced to resign in 1921. He was succeeded by Mr H.A. L. Orchard in 1922, then Rev V. Clough soon after and Mr Joseph Lee in 1924.

With Joseph Lee as Principal, the enrolment increased to 800 and the School progressed along the lines started by his predecessor. He successfully instilled into the boys the sense of belonging to the School. It was Joseph who establish John Oxenham's poem "Up and On" as the School Song. The first issue of the School Magazine aptly called "Up and On" made its appearance, fittingly enough on St. Andrew's Day in 1928. Interest in sports, games and societies grew by leaps and bounds during this period.

The Rev R.K.S. Adams succeeded Joseph as the next Principal on 1 October 1934. That same year, together with the Rev A.C. Parr, they instituted the Prefectorial System. By that time, St. Andrew's became famous for its boxing and rugby. St. Andrew's School owes Adams most for the part he played in the building of the School at the Woodsville site. He was assisted by Archdeacon Graham White.

The need for a bigger area than the cramped site at Stamford Road had become a pressing problem by the early 1930s. There were scarcely enough classrooms and there was no playing field for the School which showed so much enthusiasm and aptitude for outdoor games.

The new two-storey building with its sprawling campus was officially opened on 29 July 1940. Then followed the war years.

Immediately after the war, St. Andrew's School was the first to re-open. Until the arrival of Adams who had just been released from internment, Dr D.D. Chelliah acted as Principal.

In 1946, the Continuation School was started by Dr D.D. Chelliah. The Junior School grew rapidly and in 1950, Mr Dong Chiu Sing was made Principal of the Junior School. He was succeeded by Miss Beeston four years later.

1950s As the School population grew, the need for more classrooms became more pressing. This resulted in the addition of another floor so that the 2-storey building became a 3-storey School in 1952. The Lim Teck Kin Tower was also added in that year.

In 1955, the Junior School was divided into Junior I and Junior II headed by Mr Goh Soo Toon and Mr Kiong Woon Kew respectively. Kiong was succeeded by Mr S.K. Bandara.

Adams continued to serve the School after the war, leading the School from glory to glory. In 1956, he retired and was succeeded by Mr Tan Lye Whatt.

T04.jpghe school community had grown so big that upon Lye Whatt's shoulders was the heavy responsibility of the overall charge of the Senior School, the Junior School, the Continuation School and the Boarding House.

He was therefore appointed Warden of St. Andrew's in addition to being Principal of the Senior School. It was during the Wardenship of Lye Whatt that the Church of Ascension and the Science Block were added to the campus.

In 1960, after the tragic death of Bandara, the two Junior Schools came under one Principal - Mr Goh Soon Toon. He was succeeded by Mr Quahe Beng Chuan on 1 September 1964.

Lye Whatt retired in 1963 and he was succeeded by his Senior Assistant, Mr Francis Thomas whose love for community service was second to none. The Clinic Club which later evolved into the Social Work Group bears testimony of Thomas's genuine feeling for the needy and the less fortunate.

Thomas retired on 14 March 1974 and he was succeeded by Mr C.D. Jansen whose stay was short.

Upon Jansen's resignation in June 1976, his Senior Assistant Mr Ong Soo Kiong acted as Principal while a search began for a new Warden for St. Andrew's and a Principal for the Senior School.

Fortunately, the Ministry of Education was prepared to loan to St. Andrew's the services of Mr Harry Tan Ho Swee, an Old Boy but nevertheless a civil servant, to head the St. Andrew's Family with effect from 15 December 1976.
The School continued to grow and we would have suffered a split at the seams in 1978 if it had not been for the establishment of the St. Andrew's Junior College and the subsequent removal of our Pre-University classes in Woodsville.

As a school that stubbornly refused to stop growing, we were breaking at the seams again by the late 1980s. Fortunately for the School, Potong Pasir was being developed and a 4.18 hectare site across the Kallang River was earmarked for education. With the prompting of the Lord, the nudging of the School Supervisor Mr David Chelliah and the blessings of Bishop Chiu Ban It, the School went in faith in 1981 to the Director of Education to request that the site for education be the Senior Wing of the School with the subsequent plan to upgrade the Woodsville site with full facilities for a growing and vibrant Junior School.

Upon Beng Chuan's retirement in 1981, another Old Boy - Mr Chin Wai Fah became the Principal of the Junior School. He was succeeded by Mr Tan Cheng Lim as Principal of the Junior School in January 1985.

Physical work on the new Secondary School together with a Chapel-cum-Counselling Centre started on 3 Nov 1984

The new Secondary School opened its doors in July 1986.

With a service of blessing on Friday 1st August1986, the new buildings were taken possession of.

The new school was officially declared opened by the Minister for Education on 17th September 1988 in conjunction with the 126th Founder's Day Celebrations.

Two blocks were extended in 1994 to make it possible for the Secondary School to go single session; hitherto the School had been operating as a double session school. The blocks so extended were the Chapel View Block and the Technical Block and allowed the School to have an increase of 17 classrooms, special rooms including a Band Room, and a lecture theatre.

Mr. Harry Tan left St. Andrew's on 31 December 1994 to become the Principal of Whitley Secondary School. He was succeeded by Ms Priscilla Krempl on 1 January 1995.

In 1997, Mr David Lau joined the school as vice principal. He left in 1999 to become principal of Queenstown Secondary School.

In 2000, Mr Ang Chee Seng joined the school as vice - principal.
Mrs Krempl was primarily responsible for the Saints Charter that saw an explicit verbalisation of what a St. Andrew's boy should be. She also initiated the strategies for moving the secondary school forward. During her term, she oversaw the initial planning of facilities for the secondary school in St. Andrew's Village.

In December 2001, Mrs Krempl was moved to head Bedok Town Secondary School as part of MOE's rotation of principals. She was succeeded by Mrs Belinda Charles on 15 December 2001.

Mrs Charles, formerly principal of St. Andrew's Junior College was requested by the Board of Governors to head St. Andrew's Secondary School as part of the larger vision of setting up St. Andrew's Village, bringing back the junior college to Woodsville and living out the dearest wish of many former students for one family unbroken.

Mr Ang Chee Seng left to become principal of Christ Church Secondary School in October 2002.

In June 2003, the school moved to a temporary holding site in Geylang Bahru. While there, Mr Francis Foo joined the school as vice principal.
In December 2004, the school moved back to Woodsville as part of St. Andrew's Village at 15 Francis Thomas Drive.

On 14 February 2006, the Swimming Pool was declared open by Old Boy Mr Wee Kok Wah of Stamford Tyres, a former school swimmer. In the same year, the Minister for Education, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam officially declared open St Andrew’s Village on 26 August and laid the Time Capsule at the Jacob Ballas Bridge.

In 2006, Mr Goh Boon Pin, then Larger HOD, was appointed Vice Principal. He was joined by Mrs Joyce Ang, as the second vice principal, in 2007. This is the first time that the Secondary School has been given two vice principals.
In 2007, the CCA Complex moved from the Boarding House to its more permanent home next to the field, below the cafeteria.

In 2008, the school field was laid with synthetic turf to become one of the first of its kind for competitive rugby in Singapore. It was declared open by Old Boy Mr Leow Kim Liat, a former rugby captain who became the first Asian to lead a Singapore rugby team.
For other fascinating historical facts about St. Andrew's School, please look up our Alumni homepage at