St stephens 1


During Victorian times, the Church of England pioneered the building of schools for those who could not afford the fees of independent schools. The school was built during this time, founded in 1840s, ‘for the poor and manufacturing classes of Beacon Hill’, says its trust deed. The church was built at the same time, and the two institutions have been deeply connected ever since. The Rector of the church, and the churchwardens, were to be the trustees of the school - and the same is still true today.

In 1920 a hall was built on the site for the church to use as a parish facility. The school, desiring VA status, needed it to fulfil the criteria. The church sold it to the school for half price. A parishioner, Joan Cottrell, who died aged 99 in 2011 having lived her whole life in Richmond Place and Summerfield Road, remembers having to take in a penny a week to save for the hall. In those days, the people who lived around the green, called ‘Brinkers’ were allowed to graze their sheep on what was then ‘common land’. (The term ‘Brinkers’ comes from them being on the brink of Mt Beacon, and was a derogatory term by those at the other end of Richmond Place, who considered themselves decidedly superior…)

During the 1980s the numbers at the school were far more than the space needed to accommodate them.  The Rectory was used as an extra classroom. There was a gate in the fence between the playground and the garden for easy access. In 2005 the school underwent expansion and improvement to be the building it is today, including the levelling of the playing fields in 2009.

Throughout the history of the school, our Core Values of love, creativity, courage and joy have always been central to its ethos.