Our History

Down Memory Lane: The School History

All Saints’ School, built on 1 April 1903 is one of the earliest schools in Kota Kinabalu (Jesselton). Its humble beginning started in a borrowed government building that served as an office. It was officially declared open by Governor E.W. Birch on 22 December 1903 when he visited the school. It was named King Edward VII School, after the former British king.

It started with only about 30 students, mostly Chinese boys under the administration of Mr. Chai Ah Soon. As the principal and class teacher, his main concern was undoubtedly on the academics. But the school was multifunctional. It was also used to hold divine services. Besides, meetings and social functions were held in King Edward VII School as it was difficult to find suitable premises in Jesselton for these purposes. Later, on 1 September 1909, King Edward VII School was moved to a land at Karamunsing, granted by the Court of Directors of the British North Borneo Company.

World War I (1914-1918) had left a big impact on King Edward VII School schooling system. The government had to stop its financial assistance and parents were unable to pay for the schooling expenses. Thus, the School Board had to close the school temporarily. By 1 February 1923, Rev. C.J. Collis reopened the school and renamed it as All Saints School, after the church where he served. He was the principal then. In 1923, the 1st Jesselton Patrol (scout) was formed by Rev. C.J. Collis in All Saints School. Boarding facilities were available in All Saints on 1st May 1930. In December 1934, Cambridge University Local Examinations was held for the first time in Jesselton in All Saints School.

During World War II (1939-1945), All Saints School had to be closed again. But later, it was reopened in 1947 and received many enrolments from other towns. In October 1947, All Saints’ School was registered as a primary school with secondary classes (19 students in secondary one and 7 students in secondary two). In that same year, it was reopened as a co-educational school with boys and girls. Later in 1951, it was reverted back to become a boys’ school. With the growing number of students, All Saints had to move again to a new location in Likas. In June 1953, the Governor of North Borneo, Sir Ralph Hone laid the foundation stone for building All Saints one-storey block. By the year 1954, girls were admitted to the secondary classes that were otherwise monopolized by the boys.

The boys’ hostel was built in 1955 and a second hostel was built in 1963 for a growing number of students from other parts of Sabah.​

The first school magazine, The Saint, was published in 1952. In 1957, the Rotary Club of Jesselton donated a second hand printing press to the school and a large quantity of type blocks was donated by a firm in Sheffield, England. The school had printed its own magazine since then till 1969.

All Saints was the first school in Sabah to start teaching pure science for Form 4 and 5 in 1958 and thus the first to have a pure science laboratory which is the Chemistry Lab. In 1959, the Cambridge Local Examinations Committee granted the school ‘A’ status; this gave it the right to conduct its own practical examination in science. It was the first school in Sabah to attain this status. In 1962, Bridge class and sixth Form were introduced. All Saints was the first school to start the Form 6 Arts class while Sabah College the Science class.

The period between 1958 and 1967, saw addition of better facilities like laboratories, a new double-storey Domestic Science Block, classroom and a library.

Meanwhile, there was a growing demand for classrooms and facilities, as the enrolment of the school increased substantially each year. On 15 August 1982, Mr. Teo Then Wah the new Principal started office. In his time of service, a new multi-purpose hall was envisaged. The ground-breaking ceremony was held on 28 August 1983 by Rev. Cannon E.C.W. Rusted, OBE, MA. On the same day, the foundation stone of the new multipurpose hall was laid by Rt. Rev. Luke H.S. Chhoa. On 8th November 1986, the occupation certificate of this hall was handed to Rev. Canon Lee by the president of Multiple Council of Kota Kinabalu, Mr. Peter Chong. During Mr. Teo’s time in office, another gigantic step forward was taken for All Saints’ School – the implementation of the 5-storey block. Fund-raising activities were initiated by the school’s Alumni Association to raise the building. On 14 October 1992, the ground-breaking ceremony was officiated by Datuk Wilfred Bumburing. Datuk Rev. Bishop Yong Ping Chung laid the foundation stone for the new building. On the same day, Datuk Wilfred and Datuk Rev. Bishop Yong unveiled a plaque, to mark the start of construction work on this building. The five-storey classroom block was completed in June 1995. It was named Wisma All Saints. It houses a staff room, a library on the top floor, a canteen on the ground floor and science laboratories on the first floor. The handling of Occupation Certificate was held on 18 December 1995. Mr. Teo Then Wah retired on 10 September 2001. He will always be remembered as the longest serving principal in All Saints’ history. His immense experience in the field of education proved invaluable as he led All Saints into the 21st century.

The new principal, Mr. Ronnie Khoo came into office in the year 2001. He had an unending capacity for new ideas, fresh challenges and a raw determination to succeed. Under his term, All Saints had risen to the challenge to produce winners as in many inter-schools competitions such as the Sabah Inventors Exhibition, National Science Quiz and Inter-Schools Science Competitions. A strong believer of character building and good morals, Mr. Khoo has returned the school to its traditional past, reintroducing the school song and emphasizing English as the medium of conversation.

The school created a milestone in having its first lady principal, Datin Lorna Mathews (2003-2011) who served the school in 2003 when it celebrated its 100th year anniversary. She was a visionary woman who aspires to elevate the school to greater heights through emphasis on discipline and academic achievement. Under her leadership, Datin Lorna had made changes in the administration and management of the school.

During her term of service, she has upgraded several school facilities. Among them were the renovation and expansion of administration office and the staffrooms. Other than that, she also developed new facilities for the school such as the Sixth Form Block, the Centenary Workshop, the School Archive, the Conference Room, the School Chapel, the new Grand Stand, the covered walkway, the workstation, the installation of the closed-circuit television (CCTV). She had upgraded all of the students’ and teachers’ washrooms, the classrooms, the floor tiling and improved the school landscape. In addition, she had initiated Sixth Form Graduation Ceremony and made the Prefects Installation Ceremony a special function on its own.

All Saints also had international links with the Arima Senior High School, in Sanda City, Japan through the Global Generation Programme that has started since 2005 bi-annually till today.

On the Sports and Co-curricular activities (participated in many games and competitions at the district, state, national and international level), including SUKMA and ASEAN games. Some of the highlights are:

English Drama for Secondary Schools 2007 – National Champion

English Language Parliamentary Debate Competition 2009 and 2010 Sabah State Level Champion

Anugerah Serasi 2009/2010

Anugerah Wira Harapan

ASEAN Schools Swimming Competition 2010(1 gold)–Paderewski Pan

Participated in the Olympik Remaja (Renang) – Lai Wen Li

Participated in ASEAN Schools Games (Golf) – Vivienne Chin Ven Ni

Participation-International Junior Open (Squash) – Affeeq Abedeen

For its academic achievements, All Saints was ranked 3rd best secondary school in Sabah and 238 out of 2098 secondary schools (daily schools) in Malaysia in 2009. All Saints was proud to be acknowledged and featured in the Premier Schools Stamps on 16 December 2008 by Pos Malaysia Berhad.


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