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What Makes Us Different?


The Foundation and Ethos of St Joseph's College

St Joseph’s has evolved from humble beginnings and is championed as an inclusive educational establishment with Christian values. The College is highly regarded for its caring ethos and for a rich curriculum that encapsulates creativity with academic rigour whilst always maintaining a child-centred approach. 

Every organisation has a unique ethos, usually derived from its heritage, and St Joseph’s is no different. That ethos sets us apart from other schools and makes us distinct, known and loved. Whilst our heritage grounds us, we also embrace the future and pride ourselves on nurturing curiosity that seeks truth and wisdom. Our community is dedicated to educating and safeguarding young people and collectively we ensure each member of the College fulfils their true potential.

The St Joseph’s College ethos is based on the values and teachings of St Jean-Baptiste de La Salle (1651-1719), patron saint of teachers. Despite La Salle having been born into the wealthy Moët (champagne) family, he decided to eschew personal wealth and enter the priesthood, dedicating his life to service and to teaching the poorest boys in his home town of Rheims. 

La Salle’s influence led to the creation of many similar schools around the world. His commitment to a high-quality education for all that touches both the minds and hearts of young people provides the keystone of the College’s present-day ethos. 

Our patronal saint is Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary and stepfather of Jesus Christ. He also lived a life of service and as the patron saint of manual workers and stepfathers, he epitomises the College’s core values of aspiration, respect and confidence

Our Latin motto, ‘Fides, Labore et Tenacitate’ (Faith, Hard Work & Tenacity), is reflected in the lives and work of both St Jean-Baptiste de La Salle and St Joseph. 

Today, St Joseph’s College is a vibrant co-educational community for 2-18 year olds, adjudged ‘excellent’* for day and boarding students alike. It has a dynamic alumni association, the Old Birkfeldians , many members of which demonstrate the positive, life-long impact of a St Joseph’s College education.  


*Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) judgement in the College’s most recent inspection – March 2019