History of the School

Brief History of the St. James’ School

In 1859 a Sunday school for boys and girls was built in St. James’s parish in a lane, later Guildford Road, off East Hill. A Church day school for infants was opened c.1836 in East Street. Attendance there rose from 52 in 1839 to 95 in 1846, but the school was short of money and, although it survived in 1852, it seems to have closed soon after. A new infant school, under the patronage of Margaret Round, was opened c.1864 in a hired building in East Street. In the 1870s it was usually attended by c.140 children, and from 1878 it received annual government grants. The building was condemned in 1891, and in 1894, when the National branch school vacated its East Hill building, St. James’s infants moved there. In 1899, to prevent the establishment of a board school in the parish, the Rector, Fr C.C. Naters, started a girls school and soon afterwards a boys school in the East Hill building, and moved the infants to St. Anne’s mission, Harwich Road. In 1906 he closed St. James’s boys department, which was threatened by the building of East Ward council school, and moved the infants back to East Hill. In 1930 St. James’s Church of England school was reorganized for juniors and infants. In 1949 it was granted Aided status and moved in 1961 to a new building for 120 children, opposite the old one. Seven new classrooms were added between 1962 and 1971 to accommodate c. 345 children.