St. Edward's Church of England Schools
There are two Aided Schools associated with the Parish, the Primary in Havering Drive, and the Comprehensive in London Road. Both schools are now housed in modern buildings.
The school was founded as a Charity School in 1710; there were two sections, one for boys with a Master, and one for girls with a Mistress. The schools of today with almost 2000 students from nursery class to sixth form have grown from these small beginnings.
During the 18th century Charity schools were springing up all over the country. There were 32 in Essex, of which the one in Romford was the largest. It was known as the Hornchurch, Romford and Havering Charity School.
Charity Schools were founded by voluntary subscriptions from good people, in order to educate poor children in religion and a virtuous way of life. They taught the three R's. Reading was taught in order that children might be able to read the Bible and follow the Church services in the Prayer Book.
The children were provided with a uniform, which they wore every day for school and for church (compulsory) twice on Sundays.
Discipline was very strict.
It is not certain where the school of 1710 was situated. It is possible that it was above the south porch of the old Church. The first Master was Mr Samuel Hopkinson, the name of the Mistress is not known.
The school opened with 40 boys and 20 girls on the roll. The age range was from 7-14 years. There were no assistant teachers.
In 1728, the school moved to a new building at the top of the Market Place close to where Liberty 2 stands now. The cost of the building was £422. It was double fronted. The boys' room was on one side of the entrance and the girls' room on the other.
A Master's house was built a little later; adjoining the school, there is no mention of a house for the mistress.
In 1835 the Schools became National Schools. The National Society assisted them financially, a Church of England based organization. The numbers had grown and the school was overcrowded. A new building was erected at the back of the old one to house the boys. The girls now had all the Market Place building. Infants from the age of six were admitted later.
In 1870 an Education Act, which made schooling compulsory, was passed. By now, the Charity children had been phased out. The schools again became overcrowded. In 1917, the girls' and boys' schools were combined.
In 1926, a new building was opened behind the Market Place near to the boys' school. This was built around a quadrangle, and the boys' school was used as a hall. The Market Place buildings became the property of the County council, and the original school became the first Romford Library in 1928.
In the 1920's the Hadow Report stipulated that Junior Schools should be separate from Senior Schools. This meant more buildings would be needed to comply with the report. In 1936 a newly built Junior and Infant School was opened next to the 1926 building where the seniors remained.
In 1960 to mark the 250th Anniversary, an enormous cake was made and iced, and formally cut in the presence of all the children and staff of both schools, and some celebrities. There was a piece for every child in the school. Plays were performed portraying the history of the school. A service of thanksgiving was held in St Paul’s Cathedral. All
the children of both schools attended. A fleet of buses conveyed them from the Market Place to St Paul's. It was a memorable event.
In 1965 the Senior (now Comprehensive) School moved to its present site in London Road. The school is at present, 2004, being enlarged to accommodate 30 additional students in to each year group from the immediate area. Each year group will then be 210 students. Facilities for the practical subjects are also being improved.In 1976, the Primary School moved to Havering Drive. Plaques commemorating the opening of the various schools are preserved at the schools; the statues from the niches of the original school and the old school bell are at the Primary school.