About Sanders Draper

At Sanders Draper we value: Teamwork, Hard work and Transparency. We believe strongly in adhering to these values in all that we do.

Teamwork: The concept of teamwork is optimised by the approach of ‘Team Sanders’. We believe that everyone; a member of staff, parent or student must have the same goals and work together to achieve these. Our aims are to ensure that every student feels safe, enjoys school and makes exceptional progress. We believe strongly that there are such benefits to working as team and we encourage this through all that we do.

Hard work: is required by all at Sanders to bring about the success we desire. It is especially important in overcoming the many barriers and potential adversity we will all face. We value hard work. We instil this into our staff and students. We are clear that nothing will ever come easily and that without working hard, there will be limits to what we can achieve. We firmly believe that with hard work and determination, anything is possible.

Transparency: We believe strongly in being clear and transparent in all that we do. We aim to ensure that we are transparent in the actions we take and the expectations we have. We firmly believe in the importance of the role parents/carers play and how important it is to have effective communication between the school and home. We value the student’s voice and opinion and always take decisions with their best interests at heart.

We encourage all of our students to be honest and take responsibility. All staff, students and stake holders will adhere to these values as we look to create a culture of support, challenge and openness at Sanders. We believe, by living by these values, that all students at Sanders will grow to reach their full potential and become prepared, honest and hardworking members of our community.

Our History

When Suttons School was officially opened by Lady Simon on 2nd June 1938, it was unique in being situated only 530 yards from the perimeter of Hornchurch Aerodrome, soon to gain fame as a vital Sector Station in R.A.F. Fighter Command's elite No. 11 Group.

Built to accommodate 960 boys and girls in two entirely separate establishments. Locating the Boys' School at the southern end of the building was a major error since it overlooked the aerodrome, and teachers whose windows had panoramic views across the airfield swiftly discovered that ensuring the average schoolboy's mind upon his work instead of watching aircraft taking off and landing, was no easy task!

On Wednesday 24th March 1943 at 10.40am, a Spitfire of No. 64 Squadron piloted by an American volunteer serving with the R.A.F., Flying Officer Raimund Sanders Draper, developed engine trouble shortly after take-off. What actually happened will never be known for sure but those present believe that he intended passing to the left of the school in an attempt to land on the open ground beyond.

Realising that with reduced power he could possibly hit the school, he deliberately put the nose of the Spitfire down in the playing field, whereupon it bounced up onto the gravel drive and came to rest against the wall and windows of the two end classrooms. The noise was tremendous but mercifully the high octane fuel did not ignite and only one boy, Dick Barton aged 13, was injured.

​An R.A.F. crash tender smashed its way clean through the wooden boundary fence but Sanders Draper was dead in his cockpit. The boys were assembled in the School Hall by Mr. Ward, the Deputy Headmaster, where he told them the sad news. After the dinner break, schooling resumed as normal.

We are forever grateful to Raimund Sanders Draper for the ultimate sacrifice he made , which allows our students to study today. The Sanders community celebrates annually on the 24th March, coming together as we pay our respects to Sanders Draper.

We are delighted to have formed a special link with Avon Old Farms, a school in Conneticut, USA which Sanders Draper attended. We welcomed a visit from their Dean of Faculty, Roger Cantello who represented our American colleagues in paying respect to Smudge.

Avon Old Farm have released an article entitled 'Commemorating a Moment of Avon’s History ' and can be found via the link here.