The school was founded in 1862 by the Reverend Edward Sherman Venn.
In 1872, the Colonial Chaplain Canon J.A. Beccles applied to the Government for financial aid, which was granted, so that in May 1872 St. Andrew's School became a grant-in-aid institution. The growing school moved from Upper Hokkien Street to Victoria Street and then in 1875 to a four-acre site on Stamford Road.
By the 1920s the school's enrolment had reached 800 boys. In the 1930s a system of prefects was instituted, and the school in this period became known for its boxing and Rugby.
A new, larger campus was opened in Woodsville in 1940. More buildings were added in the 1950s, housing both the Junior School and the Senior School.
In 1986 the secondary school moved from Woodsville to a site in Potong Pasir across the Kallang River after the Woodsville buildings were deemed inadequate for the running of both the junior and senior classes. In mid-2003, the school moved temporarily to the old Victoria School building at Kallang Bahru before returning to new buildings opposite SAJS (Junior School) in 2005 as part of the St Andrew's Village project, which brings together in one complex the Junior, Secondary and Junior College campuses.
Meanwhile, the old school buildings have been conserved and strengthened for re-use as a church, winning an Honourable Mention in the UNESCO Heritage Awards in 2007.
Mrs Belinda Charles took over as Principal in 2001 at the request of the Board of Governors. Previously she was Principal of Saint Andrew's Junior College. She was also the President of the Academy of Principals, Singapore. Mrs Charles retired in December 2010 and was succeeded by Mrs Lucy Toh in 2011. Mrs Lucy Toh is the School's 15th Principal. She is the daughter of the late Senior Minister of State for Education, Dr Tay Eng Soon, and she was also a President's Scholar.Mrs Toh left the School in December 2016, and is succeeded by Mrs Marion Tan, a former Principal of St Margaret's Secondary School - a sister school of St Andrew's.
The St Andrew's Village has the first artificial rugby pitch in Singapore, shared between the secondary school and the Junior School. It opened in January 2008 at a cost of SGD 1 million and provides an all-weather surface.
In 2008, St Andrew's was one of eight schools in Singapore to begin offering three new subjects at GCE O Level: Creative 3D Animation, Fundamentals of Electronics, and Introduction to Enterprise Development.
In 2009, St Andrew's gained an Academic Value-Added Sustained Achievement Award from the Ministry of Education.
In 2010 the school was commended for including the St Andrew's River Programme in its Science curriculum. Students investigated the impact on the Kallang River eco-system and water quality of the building of the Marina Barrage and the enclosure of the Marina Basin.
From 2011, St Andrew's offers enhanced enrichment courses for upper secondary students taking GCE O level in art.
In 2011 the school won the Special Lee Hsien Loong Award for Innovations in Normal Course.
"Saints" is one of the traditional "Big Three" rugby schools in Singapore, along with Raffles and Anglo-Chinese. The School has won a total of 66 National School Titles for Rugby since the late 1960s (based on available records). It has also held the Kiwi Cup from 2007 to 2013 inclusive.
It has been awarded Niche Status in rugby by the Ministry of Education.
The school is also strong in hockey. The B Division Hockey Team emerged champions of the B Division Competitions in 2005 and 2008, as well as the C Division Hockey Team who emerged champions in 2010, 2012 and a recent win over Raffles Institution gave them another national title in 2014. The B Division Hockey Team also recently emerge as champions in the 2016 B Division Hockey Competitions after edging their opponents, Sengkang Secondary, in the finals with a score of 2-0. In cricket, St Andrew's were under-17 champions in 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002 and 2003.
St Andrew's is known for its military band, which achieved Gold with Honours in 2005, 2009 and 2011 for the Singapore Youth Festival, and a Gold in 2007. The Drama team achieved Gold for the Singapore Youth Festival in 2007 together with a Silver in 2009, and performed for the combined Founder's Day with the Junior School and the Junior College on 25 August 2007.
The school won the Sustained Achievement Award for Uniform Groups and the Value-Added Award for Academic Achievement in 2005.
The Saint Andrew's School Military Band, previously a brass band, was renamed SASMB in 1978. In June 1990, Mr David Anthony Glosz took over the role of bandmaster.
The band has staged public performances at local venues such as the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the Istana and the World Trade Centre (Harbour Pavilion). The band visited Hawaii in 1992, 1994 and 2000, California in 1994, Perth in 1996, Melbourne in 1998, Brisbane in 2002 and 2005, and was a guest of the California Band Director's Association in Fresno, California in 2004. The band went to Perth, Western Australia, in June 2008, and to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in March 2009 and March 2011, and Taiwan in December 2012.
With Mr Glosz as Bandmaster, the band has won 10 consecutive Gold awards at the Singapore Youth Festival Central Judging of Bands from 1990 to the present. The band received the Gold with Honours award at the Singapore Youth Festival Central Judging of Bands in 2005, 2009, as well as in 2011.
Recently, Mr Brando Tan has stepped up as the Band's new Bandmaster.
Although St Andrew's is an Anglican school, it is not a requirement for students to be Christian.
The school crest includes the cross of St Andrew (the Scottish flag). The school motto is "Up And On", a phrase also incorporated in the School Song, the final words of which are "Up and On! Up Boys! truest fame/ Lies in high endeavour;/ Play the game! keep the flame /Burning brightly ever!"
St Andrew's students are known as "Saints", and the school newsletters is called Saints Times. Every year, the school also produces a school magazine which was called '"Up and On" in the earlier years, after the school motto.
There are five Houses: Gomes, Hose, Loyfatt, Romanis and Venn.
All students wear white shirts bearing the school badge. Lower secondary boys (Sec 1 and Sec 2) must wear dark blue short trousers with white socks; Bermuda shorts are not permitted. Upper secondary boys (Sec 3, 4 and 5) now wear long trousers, although Secondary 3 students have been allowed to do so only since the 1990s. The prefects in sec 3&4 wear long white pants. The school tie is to be worn on Mondays and at special events.
The school regards its system of Prefects as an important element in maintaining an ethos of service and high standards of conduct.
The school's Pupil Welfare Department aims to create a sense of belonging and promote moral education and community service.
Saint Andrew's maintains strict rules for behaviour inside and outside school. There is a new system of demerit points, used in combination with the school's long-standing policy of corporal punishment in the form of strokes of the cane. For 3 or 4 demerit points the penalty is Corrective Work Action or caning on the hand. Five or more demerit points mean a caning across the seat of the trousers.
Students who are late to school four times in a term receive caning, and are caned again on each subsequent lateness for that term. Students caught smoking or in possession of tobacco products are referred to the Health Science Authority to be fined and counselled, as well as being caned on the buttocks. For very serious offences such as drug abuse, or a second or subsequent offence of fighting or gangsterism, the caning is delivered in front of the school body ("public caning"), otherwise it may be carried out in class, such as for a first offence of fighting or bullying. Public caning on the buttocks is also administered whenever a case is referred to the police. For a repeat serious offence the student may be publicly caned and then either suspended or expelled.
After a series of bullying cases attracted attention in 2003, the school stated that the situation at St Andrew's was no worse than at any other school, adding that bullies receive a stern warning; repeat offenders or those who injure others are caned and, ultimately, expelled. An SASS student bringing pornography to school would be caned either in public or in class, depending on the seriousness of the case.
For cases where the offence has a victim or where there is conflict to be resolved, a system of Restorative Practices is in place. "In the process of resolving the conflict, the offenders are asked to suggest the appropriate consequences for their action, which may include any form of punishment. However, any students who fail to cooperate with the teacher will be dealt with differently."
The Saint Andrew's logo bears gold keys and a white cross. The keys refer to Saint Peter's Key, while the white cross is that of Saint Andrew. They symbolize righteousness. The tiger is a signature trademark of Saint Andrew's, signifying ferocity and endurance. The crest "UP AND ON" is the name of the school song.Benjamin Sheares, 2nd President of Singapore
Frank Benjamin, founder of fashion retailer F.J. Benjamin
S. Iswaran, Minister, Prime Minister's Office
Eddie Teo, Permanent Secretary, Prime Minister's Office
J.B. Jeyaretnam, opposition politician
William Lim, Chief Executive of food and beverage group Old Chang Kee
Kenneth Low, founder, Sports Management Group
Kishore Mahbubani, Professor in the Practice of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, and former Permanent Representative of Singapore at the United Nations
David Saul Marshall, lawyer, founder of the Workers' Party, first Chief Minister of Singapore (1955)
Leow Kim Liat, First Asian Captain of the First Singaporean National Rugby team
Brandon Wade, founder of online dating websites
Saint Andrew's Junior School
Saint Andrew's Junior College
Column on Elizabeth Choy - "She paid 40 cents for me to have this picture" by Koh, Buck Song (St Andrew's School 1970-79), The Straits Times 11 September 1995.