St John & St James Church of England Primary School – (previously St James) – Celebrating 160 years
In 1847 John Snell left 1 acre in his will, to the poor to be the site of a Church of England school .
A school for boys was therefore opened by Saint James’s church in 1851. The boy’s school was affiliated to the National Society. Girls’ and infants’ departments were added in 1871 and there were further enlargements in 1879, 1885, and 1893. In 1906 752 children attended the school.
The latter years of the nineteenth century saw a vast working class influx into Edmonton from the overcrowded inner suburbs, attracted by the cheap workmen’s fares. By 1914 large areas had been built over . Since the 1960s Edmonton has been transformed from a predominantly white, working class industrial suburb into a multicultural area by commonwealth immigration. Today Edmonton has a young, ethnically diverse population. The school has grown and thrived.
History of The National Society
The Society was founded on 16 October 1811. At the founding meeting, a statement about educational purpose was recorded: “That the National Religion should be made the foundation of National Education, and should be the first and chief thing taught to the poor, according to the excellent Liturgy and Catechism provided by our Church.”
The Society became highly active in many aspects of education, from the publishing of books and the provision of equipment to the training of teachers.
The mission of the Society was to found a Church school in every parish in England and Wales. By offering grants to prospective founders, on condition that development was fostered on chosen lines, the Society funded the construction, enlarging and fitting-up of schoolrooms. It was involved with the foundation of the majority of Church of England and Church in Wales schools, which were originally known as National Schools.
The Society trained teachers for these schools, starting from its Central School in London. Later the Society founded its own colleges and gave support to colleges founded by the dioceses.
From its earliest days the Society was also concerned that schools should have access to adequate, reasonably priced religious books for children.