History of Coloma

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History of Coloma 2019-09-03T09:13:20+00:00

The Very Reverend Canon Van Crombrugghe, one of the greatest Belgian educationalists of his time, founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Mary and Joseph in Belgium in 1817. A bronze bust of Van Crombugghe can be found in the school’s Main Hall. In 1867, at the celebrations commemorating the Golden Jubilee of the foundation of the Congregation, it was announced that a convent was to be opened in England. On 17th June 1869 three nuns arrived to take up residence in two semi-detached houses called, Poplar Villas in Wellesley Road, Croydon.

On 2nd August 1869, the school opened with one pupil. Two years later, a larger property was found in Tavistock Road and named Coloma.  

The name owes its origins to the Spanish Count of Santa Coloma, former owner of the Daughters of Mary and Joseph’s property in Malines in Belgium, which is named after his estate in Spain.

Through the late 19th, 20th and the early years of the 21st century the school has experienced many changes, in step with developments in the education of girls and young women.

In July 1965, Coloma moved from Tavistock Road to the site in Shirley. Coloma became a Voluntary Aided Grammar School as soon as it could after the 1944 Act. In 1978, it changed from a Grammar school to a Comprehensive. In April 1994, Coloma gained Grant Maintained Status. Following Government reforms Coloma once again became a Voluntary Aided Catholic Comprehensive Girls’ School on 1st September 1999. In September 2000, Coloma changed from four forms to five-form entry and opened a new Sixth Form Centre. There are now 1,065 girls on roll, with over 300 in the Sixth Form.

Headteachers through the Ages 

 Headteacher  Timeline
 Madame Helene  1869-1892
 Sister Ediltrude  1892-1919
 Mother Winefride, M.A  1919-1945
 Mother Marie Winefride, M.A  1945-1948
 Sister Mary Cuthbert  1949-1980
 Sister Mary Gabriel  1980-1989
 Miss M Dolan  1990-1994
 Sister Sheila Moloney (Acting Head)  1994-1995
 Mrs Maureen Martin  1995-2017
 Mrs Jackie Johnson  2017-2019
 Mrs Sue Collins  2019-present


Celebrating 140 Years of our History

In 2009, Coloma celebrated 140 years since the school was opened with one pupil in 1869 by three Sisters of the Congregation of the Daughters of Mary & Joseph. The anniversary was launched with the cutting of a special anniversary cake by the youngest Coloma student and oldest known local ‘old girl’, Kathleen Des Moulins.  This was followed by many events including Mass at Westminster Cathedral where more than 700 guests made up of parents, old girls, ex staff and other friends of the school joined with the existing pupils to celebrate and give thanks, and a superb concert, reunion and celebration of Coloma pupils current work held at the Royal Festival Hall, London in March 2010.