Royal Liberty School
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|The Royal Liberty School|
|Department for Education URN||102343 Tables|
|Age||11 to 16|
|Houses||Voyager, Endeavour, Discovery, Challenger, Apollo|
The school is situated on Upper Brentwood Road about 400 metres north of Gidea Park railway station, and approximately halfway between Gidea Park and Ardleigh Green to the north-east of Romford. It is in the parish of St. Michael & All Angels, Gidea Park.
The school's houses were previously known as Danes, Normans, Romans and Saxons. Then there was a period where they were known as Darwin, Newton, Rutherford and Salk. They are now known as Discovery, Challenger, Endeavour, Voyager and Apollo to reflect the school's status as a Science College.
The Royal Liberty was the first school in Europe to install an electronic computer (an Elliott 903, similar to the 920 military version) in 1965.
As a grammar school, it operated a squadron of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF), incorporating basic, army, navy, and air cadets (including a training glider).
- 1974 – In accord with government policy, and in spite of manifest opposition, the school converts from a grammar to comprehensive school.
- 1988 – J. P. Coles, retired as headmaster after 25 years of service, with L. B. Thomas subsequently promoted from deputy head to headmaster.
- 1990 – The sixth form was twinned with the nearby Frances Bardsley Academy for Girls.
- 1992 – The sixth form was abolished.
- 1996 – School was placed into Ofsted special measures. L. B. Thomas left and S. Berwitz was appointed head.
- 2000 – School removed from special measures.
- 2001 – School cited by Ofsted as "one of the most improved schools in the UK".
- 2003 – Julia Deery was appointed head.
- 2004 – Bid launched for specialist school status, hoping to attract additional government funds.
- 2006 – School wins bid and becomes a Science College.
- 2014 – Julia Deery leaves, with April Saunders becoming head.
Notable former pupils
- Norman Baker, Lib Dem MP for Lewes from 1997 until 2015
- Graham Bond, rock musician
- Nick Butterworth, author and illustrator of children's books
- Andy Day, actor and children's TV presenter for Cbeebies. Star of Andy's Wild Adventures
- Ken Farnes, England cricket fast bowler
- Doug Fisher, actor, Man about the House, London's Burning, The Bitch
- Mick Inkpen, author and illustrator of children's books
- Sir Alex Jarratt CB, chancellor from 1983 to 2002 of the University of Birmingham and president from 1979 to 1983 of the Advertising Association
- Francis Jones MBE, president from 1977 to 1981 of the Engineering Industries Association, co-developer of OBOE bombing system.
- Arthur Latham, Labour MP from 1969 to 1974 for Paddington North and from 1974 to 1979 for Paddington
- Sir Timothy O'Shea, principal and vice-chancellor from 2002 to 2018 of the University of Edinburgh
- Jeff Randall, journalist and business editor of the BBC from 2001 to 2005
- Prof John Saville, historian, professor of economic and social history from 1972 to 1982 at the University of Hull
- Michael Ward, Labour MP for Peterborough from 1974 to 1979