Sarah Bonnell School
||This article possibly contains original research. (June 2012)|
|Motto||laborare est orare (to work is to pray)|
|Headteacher||Ms S Jacobs|
Greater London (former Essex)
|DfE URN||102785 Tables|
|Colours||Sky blue, navy blue|
|Former name||Sarah Bonnell Grammar|
|Former name of building||Deanery High School|
Sarah Bonnell School is one of the oldest girls' school in England, as it was unusual for benefactors to view girls' education as important in the 18th century.
The school began as a charity school in 1777, after Sarah Bonnell left £3,500 in her will for the setting up of a school for poor girls in West Ham. Sarah was the only daughter of Captain John Bonnell (1659-1703), a London merchant, by his second wife Margaret Waterson (d.1736). Sarah Bonnell's family had a grand house in Walthamstow, and she was buried in 1766 in Walthamstow's St. Mary's Church, where there exists a monument to her father's first wife Mary Morice (d.1691) and some of his young children. The school was made for poor girls (in that time) so they could have an education like boys could, only girls who were rich got to go to school, but in that time it was very unusual. Today the School is a Girl's school for ages: 11-16
The first school was housed in a building opposite West Ham Church. It was known as Mrs Bonnell’s School and consisted of one schoolroom, one teacher and 40 girls. All the girls’ uniforms were paid for by the school. The Vicar of West Ham Church chose which girls would be allowed to attend the school and also the woman teacher, who had to be “of good character”. The school was run by a Board of Trustees.
West Ham High School for Girls
By 1834, there were 140 pupils and the school continued to expand. However, in 1873 the name of the school was changed to West Ham High School for Girls and it also moved into a new building in West Ham Lane. It now became an independent, fee-paying school and there were still 40 free places for poor girls, so that the school could continue to receive the funds from Sarah Bonnell’s will.
Later in 1905 it moved to a large, impressive building in The Grove in Stratford. During the 1920s the school stopped being an independent school and it was during this period – in 1938 - that George Lansbury, a former Labour M.P., opened the new school library. The Second World War brought aerial bombing to West Ham because of its proximity to the docks. Therefore, to protect the girls, the school was evacuated out of London, first of all to Brentwood and then to Truro in Cornwall.
Sarah Bonnell Grammar
In 1944 the school once again used their founder's name to become Sarah Bonnell Grammar School and moved, this time to St. George's Road, Forest Gate (now part of the present-day St Angela's Ursuline School). As this was a grammar school, girls had to pass the 11-plus examination to gain a place at the school.
In 1972 comprehensive education was introduced in Newham and the school gained the title Sarah Bonnell Comprehensive School. It moved to its present site in Deanery Road, taking over the buildings that had previously been called Deanery High School for Girls and Stratford Green Secondary School.
On 15 December 1993, the Technology Village was opened by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales. There have been other well-known people who have visited the school, including Arthur Scargill and Glenys Kinnock MEP.
The school library was opened by Sidney Smith in 2004.
The history of the school has been recorded on a tapestry, created by past pupils, which is housed in the main hall of the school. This tapestry was made by all the students at the school during the schools 200th birthday celebration. In the same hall is a display of photographs about the history of the buildings, both present and past, which have housed the school. Visitors who wish to view these historical displays may do so by contacting the school to make an appointment.
- The school has kept its ongoing tradition of head girls and game captains from when it first opened.
- Every year at the end of November the school's birthday is celebrated; on this occasion awards are presented and students raise money for different charities. Students have generously donated outstanding sums of £3000 to charities such as: Breast Cancer Research UK, NSPCC, British Heart Foundation, RSPCA, Women's Aid, Barnardo's, Gaza Crisis and also to global earthquake and tsunami appeals. Large donations have been given to less fortunate countries in Africa to help provide a sustainable life for the people.
Sarah Bonnell Grammar School
- Maureen Duffy, author
- this information was given by S.M from Sarah Bonnell School in 2007. (information sourced from Sarah Bonnell website)