Ilford County High School
The Old Parkonians Association was originally founded by former pupils of the Ilford County High School. More than 100 years later, links with the School are still strong.
The School – History
In 1901 the world was a very different place. Queen Victoria passed away, having reigned for 63 years, and the coronation of King Edward VII heralded a new age both for Britain and the Empire. In the USA President McKinley was assassinated leaving Theodore Roosevelt to take the reins of power and lead America upon the path to becoming a major world power.
Ilford was also a rapidly changing place. In 1871 its population was 5,947 but by 1901 it had increased to 42,000. In response to this burgeoning growth, the Ilford School Board was formed in 1893 with the remit of providing a suitable education for the increasing number of children living in the area. With this task in mind the Board founded the Park Higher Grade School in Balfour Road, Ilford.
Mr C W Clayson was the first Headmaster with A E Diggens and Miss A L M Hunter in charge of the boys and girls respectively. Shortly afterwards, it was decided that the boys’ and girls’ departments should have their own dedicated staff and the three senior posts were re-designated as Organising Master, Headmaster of the Boys’ School and Headmistress of the Girls’ School. The two schools then became completely separate entities with Mr Diggens as Headmaster and Miss E E Hunter as Headmistress.
The Ilford School Board’s stewardship of the school was to be short-lived as the Balfour Education Act of 1902 abolished School Boards. Responsibility for providing secondary education was transferred to county councils and county boroughs and in 1904 Essex Education Committee took control.
With this change, the school was re-named, first as “The Essex County Secondary School, Ilford”, then “The County High School, Ilford”, and, ultimately, Ilford County High School.
The original school building on Balfour Road was home to both boys and girls until 1929 when the girls moved to a new site in Cranbrook Road (now occupied by Valentines High School). The Ilford County High School for Boys moved to the current site in Fremantle Road Barkingside in 1935.
Ilford County High School is a high achieving, specialist grammar school for boys with four forms of entry. There are 600 boys studying in the Main School and nearly 300 in the Sixth Form. Originally one of a number of selective schools in the outer London Borough of Redbridge, ICHS was retained in 1973 as the only boys’ selective school in the area. Admission at 11+ takes place through tests administered by the Local Education Authority, the London Borough of Redbridge.
To read more about the School today, visit ICHSNews, the termly newsletter of the School.
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