Ibstock Place School
Ibstock Place School is an independent co-educational day school for pupils aged 3 to 18 located in Roehampton, south-west London. The School was founded as the Froebel Demonstration School, the name meaning that it was connected with the Froebel Institute and the demonstration of its educational principles. For many years the school educated pupils up to the age of 13, in 1976, this was extended to 16 years. In 2005, a Sixth Form was established and the age range extended to 18 years.
- 1 History of the school
- 2 Notable alumni
- 3 References
- 4 External links
Ibstock Place School was named after the original house in Clarence Lane, Roehampton where the school moved in 1946, and remains today. Nearby in Roehampton was the Froebel Education College which pioneered the educational ideas of Friedrich Froebel in Britain in 1892. At the end of the nineteenth century, the College had been established in Kensington, West London, and the first Froebel Demonstration School was founded in 1894 in Colet Gardens. The first headmistress was Esther Lawrence, and there were six pupils.
The Froebel Demonstration School
At that time, the principles of Froebel Education were considered to be quite radical. It was the educational benefactor Julia Salis Schwabe (1819–1896) who proposed the establishment of a teacher training college with a demonstration school in England. She was a strong proponent of the Froebel system of education, where the first learning experiences of the very young are seen as of crucial importance to a child’s development and, therefore, to the health of society as a whole. Having established a successful Froebel "kindergarten" in Naples, Mrs Salis Schwabe felt Froebel’s educational philosophy was the key to social progress. Her friend Claude Montefiore (1858–1938) was appointed Secretary of the inaugural Froebel Society, and as joint benefactors they met any financial deficits. The college and school finally opened in Kensington on 20 September 1894 and the Grand Opening by the Empress Frederick took place on 5 March 1895. The school flourished and many liberal intellectual families sent their children until age 13 years. One Head Girl was Iris Murdoch, renowned English author.
Evacuation in World War II
At the outbreak of World War II the school was evacuated from London to Dennison House in the village of Little Gaddesden in Hertfordshire with Headmistress, Barbara Priestman. There many lessons took place on the vast lawn outside to make as much use as possible of natural daylight. The children were taken for picnics and long rambles after their sports field was ploughed up to grow hay. Miss Priestman counted her blessings when she returned to London after the war with a full complement of children and staff.
Ibstock Place School moves to Roehampton, South West London
The Froebel Education College had moved to Grove House, Roehampton in 1922 and been renamed the Incorporated Froebel Educational Institute (IFEI). The Institute purchased nearby Ibstock Place House in Clarence Lane for the Froebel Demonstration School, renaming it Ibstock Place, the Froebel School. The house, formerly a magnificent family home, had been requisitioned during the war. When the school first moved in 1946 the grounds were dotted with army huts which were soon put to use as a dining room, library or art room. At that time the school also took boarders. On the establishment of the University of London Institute of Education, IFEI became one of the constituent colleges. Eglantyne Mary Jebb retired as the College Principal in 1955 and was succeeded by Molly Brearley who oversaw some major changes, not least the requirement in 1960 that all teachers take a three-year training course. Molly Brearley took an active role in developing trainee Froebel teachers at Ibstock Place.
In September 1978 the age range was extended to sixteen years and in July 1980 pupils sat the first ‘O-level’ examinations. The school still took a number of boarders but there were no longer dormitories in the Main House; boarders lived in nearby Templeton House (Headquarters of The Froebel Council) in Priory Lane, Roehampton. Pupil numbers grew steadily and by 1989 there was a School Roll of 370 pupils. At this time, Ibstock Place School was in the strong position of being the only independent co-educational Senior School in south West London. By 1993 the School Roll numbered 450 pupils. The school Centenary was commemorated in 1994 at a special Prize Giving ceremony in July at Templeton. The guest speaker Professor David Bellamy memorably asked the prize winning pupils to get down on their hands and knees to examine pond-life in the ornamental pool in the grounds of Templeton. In 1996 the Golden Jubilee was celebrated to mark 50 years in Roehampton, with pupils planting 2000 golden daffodils in the grounds. In 2005, a sixth form was established and the age range extended to 18 years. By 2011 the school roll numbered 880 pupils aged from 3 to 18 years.
Ibstock Place School is independent of the college but retains a link through the IFEI and the Froebel Council, the members of which are trustees of the School. The Governing Body of Ibstock Place School takes responsibility for the management of the school and the Chairman of the Governors and the Head report to the Froebel Council three times a year.
Headmistresses and headmasters
For a year after the death in 1898 of Esther Lawrence, there were joint Headmistresses – Miss Boys-Smith and Miss Hope-Wallace – and then Grace Lucknow took over until 1900. From 1900 the Headmistress was Annie Yelland. On the untimely death of Miss Yelland in 1916, teacher, Miss Wigg, took over as Head during the interregnum until the appointment of Ethel Bain in 1918. Miss Bain served until her retirement in 1933 when Barbara Priestman was appointed. Miss Priestman is the longest-serving Headmistress, remaining in post for 25 years until 1958. Miss Sheila Macleod was Headmistress from 1958 to 1974, Mr T.C. Green from 1974 to 1980, Mr Aidan Warlow from 1980 to 1984, Mrs Franciska Bayliss from 1984 to 2000. The current Headmistress is Mrs Anna Sylvester-Johnson.
Buildings and grounds
History of Main House
The main school house was built in 1913 by the architect Frank Chesterton and had sixteen bedrooms and four reception rooms. Originally named St. Serf’s, the house was lived in by the Duchess of Sutherland until 1920. In 1925, Major John Paget purchased the house, renaming it Ibstock Place after the Leicestershire village which was his ancestral home. The house was luxuriously furnished with antiques including a Louis XVI suite of Aubusson tapestries and two grand pianos. Major Paget was interested in "modern gadgets" and installed a sun-bed parlour and a telephone exchange, and one of the first private swimming pools in Britain. In 1942 the house was requisitioned by the Ministry of Supply for a military research group (AORG), composed of scientists who carried out top secret work in the field of radar development. In August 1945 the Pagets sold the house to the Froebel Educational Institute to rehouse their demonstration school which had been evacuated to Hertfordshire from Kensington during the war.
Extensive building work has taken place on the site since. Recent buildings include a new sports hall on the Lawrence House site in 2008. In 2011, the £9m "new school" building was opened, containing science laboratories, classrooms, a new library and other pupil facilities.
- Natalie Abrahami
- Emily Blunt
- Princess Hamidah of Brunei
- Imogen Holst
- Frieda Hughes
- Nicholas Hughes
- Elizabeth Jagger
- Georgia May Jagger
- Nigella Lawson
- Iris Murdoch
- Emma Townshend
- Suki Waterhouse
- Beatie Wolfe
- Jesse Wood
- Leah Wood
- Nadhim Zahawi
- Ibstock Place School Official Archives
- "Biography of Friedrich Froebel". Friedrich Froebel – Biography. Retrieved 18 March 2011.