History of the School
We are currently researching the history of our school and over time we will be adding information to these pages. Please keep an eye on this page.
We believed our school was about to be celebrating 135 years in 2018 but our research so far has shown us the foundations of our school were established in 1815 by Rev Thomas Helmore - Founding father of The British School.
Rev Thomas Helmore was a non-conformist minister who married Olive Holloway daughter of Capt Joseph Holloway RN, a well-known family in Hampshire. Olive had opened her own small school for girls in Hampshire. It was very popular.
'The children, delighted with their charming teacher, induced their mothers to ask leave to come ; and soon, applications from the fathers being accepted, the crowded state of the room rendered it desirable to build the small meeting-house mentioned above, in which to assemble her converts for admonition and prayer.'
When the couple married they moved to Kidderminster where the Rev was beginning a new post
as minister. From there they moved to Stratford:
'When Mr. Helmore came, to reside at Stratford, not more than forty children were being educated at the only National School, which was situated in Bull Lane. Finding such a lack of opportunities for teaching the poor, Mr. Helmore founded and organized British Schools, in connection with the Independent Meet- ing, in the Rother Market, of which he was the Minister. '
The active founder of the British Schools not only visited, but taught daily in them, until he trained his schoolmaster, Mr. William Pardoe, to take sole charge. He drilled the boys, taught them to sing, drew and coloured large maps which he mounted on frames, crossed with a network of twine and pasted over with several layers of paper. When complete, these " blank" maps could be seen at the other end of the schoolroom. An infant school — quite a novelty in those days, if we except the good old-fashioned dames' schools — was a source of great delight to those who watched its development under the loving care of good little Mrs. Corbett, directed by the indefatigable minister, who taught the tiny creatures to sing and act their school songs and to do a variety of useful exercises
which have now become familiar to educationalists. '