St Michael’s School, 1852 to the Present.
In 1852, St. Michael’s opened as a Victorian Farm School with the ambition ‘to create an effective school for the poor’. This was both inspirational and ambitious – children did not have to go to school and many could not afford to do so.
The school’s mission was, ‘to render the Boys and Girls generally handy and industrious and they should be employed as much as possible in general work and jobbing in about the schools.’
Today the same school is still a landmark with its stone walls, steeply pitched roofs, belfry and large playground at front.
Developing the school premises
The school has gone through many changes since then.
In April 1972, the new junior building was finished. It was officially opened in June by Margaret Thatcher, then Secretary of State for Education. The opening was celebrated with a special opera performance. The Junior Hall continues to host many exciting plays, concerts, pantomimes, assemblies, fairs and workshops.
The infant children are still taught in the original buildings, which in 1979 were connected by another new hall. The Infant Hall is dedicated to Richard Grout, head teacher from 1968-1981, who instigated many of the modern additions to the buildings.
More recently, a room devoted to science and technology was created as well as a computing room, Green room and Art room. The Art room is dedicated to Barbara Smith, head teacher from 1997 until 2009. Plans are underway to convert a former teacher’s living quarters on the school grounds into a dedicated space for music.
A legacy of space
Thanks to our beginnings as a farm school, we are situated on four acres of land – a unique feature for a London school. This legacy of space left by the pioneers of 1852 gives the children an enviable environment. They are surrounded by fields, trees, gardens and allotments, which are used daily for outdoor learning, sports, events – and of course, play.
The uniqueness of St Michael’s setting and facilities allows us to bring to life our new vision: