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The history of St Edward’s

St Edward’s is looking forward to celebrating its 310th anniversary in 2020, making it the oldest school in the local area.
The school underwent a name change in April 2018 to St Edward’s Church of England Academy. This marked an exciting stage in the school’s long history, the point at which St Edward’s joined the highly successful Unity Schools Partnership (formerly the Samuel Ward Academy Trust).

Romford has many historical associations with St Edward the Confessor so it’s natural that the school’s name is St Edward’s. The royal summer residence was at nearby Havering-atte-Bower. St Edward the Confessor would have spent much time in the local area – he might have even spent time on the land where St Edward’s now stands. Our school church, St Edward the Confessor, stands in the heart of Romford. There has been a church on this site since 1410 and the present church, closely linked to our school, was opened in 1850.

During the 18th Century, the Church of England opened many schools for children with parents who could not afford to pay any fees. St Edward’s School was founded in 1710 as a charity school to educate the poor children of Romford. Children were taught how to read and write and learnt basic number skills, all in a Christian setting.

The vestry book for St Edward’s Church in Romford records this entry on 5th September 1710:

“Whereas a Charity School is erecting or setting up with all possible speed to be set up and opened in this town of Rumford… for the educating of poor children and teaching them to read and write and instructing them in the knowledge and practice of the Christian religion as professed and taught in the Church of England.”

For the first 18 years after St Edward’s school was opened, the school was accommodated in two houses in Romford. In 1728, St Edward’s moved to a new building in the Market Place in Romford. The school remained there until the mid-1960s. It was then that the primary and secondary classes separated to create the two schools that we know today. St Edward’s primary and secondary schools moved to their present sites and the next stage of their modern history began.

2020 will be a significant year for St Edward’s Academy as we celebrate our 310th anniversary. Special events to mark this occasion will take place throughout the year. To mark this event, St Edward’s Academy plans to open a school museum. The museum will commemorate the 310 years of history of the school. If you have any artefacts, photographs or memories that you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you. We want to include as much of the school’s long and varied history in our school museum as possible.

Please contact me with any information that you would be happy to share. We look forward to hearing from you.

Jodie Hassan
JHassan@steds.org.uk