A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.

Marcus Garvey

The History of All Saints School

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The All Saints Secondary School (now known as Sekolah Menengah All Saints) was opened in 1903 whereas Kota Kinabalu was Jesselton at that time. It is one of the three oldest schools in Sabah that was established before 1920. The other two (2) are SM St Michael of Penampang and SM St Mary of Sandakan.

Inspired by foreign settlers to provide education to their children, the was once named King Edward VII School after His Excellency Birch and Lady Birch declared the school officially open on 22 December 1903.

The All Saints Secondary School is a part of the Anglican Diocese of Sabah but it began humbly in a borrowed government building that served as an office. The school started out with 30 students, and the students studied simple arithmetic, English grammar, reading, writing and the scriptures. On 25 May 1905, the boys of the school were invited to participate in sports events organized by the Police Department. This marked the beginning of sports in the school. Since then, the school grew in strength and size.

During World War One (WWI), school operations through the British Empire had to be halted, and this included the All Saints School. The lack of financial assistance to administer daily school operations was cited as the reason for the closure of the All Saints School. Several years later, on February 1923, with the financial support elsewhere, the school was renamed and reopened as All Saints School by Rev. C.J. Collis. That year, besides academic studies and sports, the first Jesselton Patrol (scout) was formed. Boarding facilities were made available seven (7) years later on 1 May 1930. In December 1934, Cambridge University Local Examinations was held in All Saints School for the first time in Jesselton, and the school grew from that.

World War Two (WWII) descended on Sabah. As a result, the All Saints School had to be closed again as a result of the Japanese Imperial Army occupation of North Borneo. When the war ended, and North Borneo was liberated, the school reopened.

After WWII, in October 1947, All Saints’ School registered itself as a primary school with secondary classes (19 students in secondary one and 7 students in secondary two) with the education authority of North Borneo was registered. In that same year, it was reopened as a co-educational school with boys and girls. Later in 1951, it was reverted 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, Sir Ralph Hone the Governor of North Borneo laid the foundation stone for building All Saints one-storey block. By the year 1954, girls were admitted to the secondary classes.

The period between 1958 and 1967, the school had better facilities like laboratories, a new double-storey Domestic Science Block, classroom and a library. The school was the first to have a pure science laboratory which is the Chemistry Lab. Concurrently, as the Kota Kinabalu town grew, enrollment into the school also grew. Demand for classrooms and facilities increased. These improvements gave strength to All Saints School the strength to be the first school in Sabah to start teaching pure science for Form 4 and 5 back in 1958. Eventually, in 1959, All Saints School became the first school in Sabah to be granted an ‘A’ status and the right to conduct its own practical examination in science by the Cambridge Local Examinations Committee.

In 1962, a bridging class was introduced and a few places were made available for those who had a Chinese primary education. The bridging class aka Bridge Class was added at the bottom of the school in order to also provide an opportunity for children from vernacular schools who had done their primary education in Malay but wished to continue in an English-medium school as there are at present no secondary Malay language school. In that year also, double streaming was made right through to Form 4 and 5, and a form six class were introduced. In relation to form six, All Saints School was the first school to start the Form 6 Arts class, and it was to enable pupils to complete their schooling in the Arts subjects. As a result of all these development, the number of students increased.

Because of the school’s contribution, its physical development continued. A new multi-purpose hall was envisioned and this came into existence in 1986, three (3) years after its ground-breaking ceremony by Rev. Cannon E.C.W. Rusted. On top of its impressive physical development, the school wrote history in having its first lady principal, Datin Lorna Mathews. Datin Lorna served as the school’s principal from 2003 up until 2011. In the year that she was appointed, year 2003, All Saints School reached marked a century of service. To celebrate its 100th year anniversary and thereafter, Datin Lorna envisioned and aspired to elevate the school to greater heights through discipline and academic achievement. Datin Lorna had successfully made changes in the administration and management of the school through her encouraging leadership. Datin Lorna managed to upgrade several school facilities during her period of service, including the renovation and expansion of administration office and the staffrooms. Apart from 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, as well as the installation of the closed-circuit television (CCTV). She also successfully upgraded all of the students’ and teachers’ washrooms, the classrooms, the floor tiling and improved the school landscape. In addition, she initiated the Sixth Form Graduation Ceremony and made the Prefects Installation Ceremony a special function on its own. During her office, All Saints also forged its international link with the Arima Senior High School, in Sanda City, Japan through the Global Generation Programme that has started since 2005 biennially till today. From the aspect of Sports and Co-curricular activities, the school has participated in many games and competitions at the district, state, national and international level, including SUKMA and ASEAN games. Also known 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. On 16 December 2008, All Saints was made proud when Pos Malaysia Berhad acknowledged and featured it in the Premier Schools Stamps.

Madam Tiong Ai Ping became the second lady principal to take the helm in All Saints in 2011 ( 2011-2016 ) ( Figure 18.0 ). With her vision for the school as “All Saints Shines in Glory by the Year 2016”, she continued and improved the excellent tradition of the school. In lieu to that, facilities such as the Archives, School Office roof, students’ and teachers’ toilets, air-conditioning in the school hall as well as the pavement for morning assemblies had all been upgraded and improved on during Madam Tiong’s period of service. Efforts put in upgrading the library had borne when All Saints’ library was awarded a 5-star grade in “The 2012 School Library-Index Quality Management Rating Status” (Status Penarafan Pengurusan iQ-PSS) by the Technology Education Division under the Ministry of Education, followed by The School Library award in the category of 2013 Pre-State Kota Kinabalu Division. In the State Level competition, the school library was evaluated by the Sabah State Library and the Sabah Education Technology Division. It was said to be on par with the standards of a State-Level Library.

The year 2017 sees the introduction of the school’s third lady principal, Dr Mary Gambidau whose vision is to further enhance the school’s legacy of excellence ( Figure 19.0 ). The school is indeed very privileged to have her at All Saints. With her leading at helm, the school will definitely reach greater heights of accomplishment.

Today, the school serves the government policy in providing a single school for 1553 students with 84 teachers. Striving to fulfill the government’s aim of producing students skilled in Science and ICT, All Saints is known as a scientific educational centre offering 60% of scientific studies and 40% of literature study.

The All Saints School has been providing quality for the past 115 years, and would continue to do so for the betterment of the people of Sabah (formally known as North Borneo).


Jalan Teluk Likas,
88400 Kota Kinabalu,
Sabah, Malaysia.

Tel: +60 88 428 610
Mail: pibg@allsaints.edu.my

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