|Trumpington Local History Group
Education and Schools in
This page is an introduction to education and schools in Trumpington,
based in part on presentations given at a meeting of the Local History
Group, Slates to Computers, 22 April 2010. In addition to this page, see:
|Schools in the
|The former Church School, from
Grantchester Road. Photo: Andrew
Roberts, August 2008.
At the Local History meeting, Howard Slatter, Shirley Brown, Edmund Brookes and Ken
Fletcher talked about the history of education in Trumpington and these notes are based in part
on their contributions. Other sources for the early history of education in Trumpington include
the Victoria County History and Widnall's Reminiscences of Trumpington in the 1830s.
The first schools in the village were funded by bequests from individuals such as William Austin
(1679) and Thomas Allen (1681). The Austin bequest was for four poor children to be taught
free of charge until they could easily read the Bible. This took effect in 1708, when the parish
appointed a School Dame and it was possible to support 11 poor children. By the 1780s, there
were c. 25 scholars out of 80 children in the parish and the Pemberton family had taken
responsibility for the endowment. James Cuming was appointed Master in 1783 and remained
in office until at least 1837. Girls as well as boys were enrolled from 1786. From the 1790s,
education provision became more complex, with Cuming also running a boarding school and the
vicar (Thomas Heckford) running a grammar school, while in the 1810s there were four dame
schools, evening classes and a Sunday school.
There have been a number of education establishments in Trumpington since the early 19th
century and the map shows the key locations. This growth reflects national developments in
education, summarised by Howard Slatter.
There were other educational establishments in the historic parish of Trumpington, to the east
of the railway line: Cavendish College (a site taken over by Homerton College in 1894), the
Perse Senior School, and the Cambridgeshire High School for Girls which became Long Road
Sixth Form College in 1974.
After the Second World War, there was also a Farm School in Trumpington. Michael Hendy
was told about this by Joe Clarke, who attended the school in the early 1960s. The Church Hall
was used as a classroom and tractors and equipment were kept and used at Anstey Hall. Anstey
Hall was at that time the HQ for a lot of the Ministry of Agriculture's advisors as well as having
the workshops for the experimental drainage unit, so it had a good resource for training
purposes. The Farm School provided training to apprenticeship level, very much targeted on
practical skills, ploughing, sowing, spraying, harvesting, as well as workshop skills including
welding and general mechanics. Tom Parsons was farming Anstey Hall Farm, and allowed it to
be used for examinations and tests; he also undertook some of the examining duties. The late
Ken Benfield was the main lecturer specialising in engineering. He later became the principal of
the much expanded farm school when it moved to its current site at Milton, now a branch of
West Anglia Agricultural College.
Fawcett Primary School was established in 1989 by the combination of the infant and junior
schools. The school has continued to extend and there are plans for further expansion as new
housing developments are built in the southern fringe of Cambridge. A Children's Centre was
formally opened within the site on 13 November 2010. The original infants area is now the
Cambridge Professional Development Centre (CPDC).
|Entrance to St Faith's school with St
Faith's house in the background.
Photo: Howard Slatter, 2010.
|Perse Preparatory School in the
2000s. Photo: Edmund Brookes, 2010.
Samuel Page Widnall described his experience at Cuming's school, which was on the site now
occupied by St Mary's House (the corner of the High Street and Alpha Terrace). Shirley Brown
said that the headmaster lived to the north of the school in Alpha Cottage and there was a
playground between the two buildings. Widnall described the village children as being at the
back of the school room and how all the children would stand in silence in the dining room.
The Victoria History of the Counties of England (1982). A History of Cambridgeshire and the
Isle of Ely, Volume VIII. Armingford and Thriplow Hundreds. Edited by C.R. Elrington.
Oxford: Oxford University Press for the Institute of Historical Research. ISBN 0-19-722757-0.
Widnall, S.P. [Samuel Page] (1889). Reminiscences of Trumpington Fifty Years Ago.
Grantchester: the Author.
Howard Slatter describes the history of St Faith's School, which moved from Belvoir Terrace,
Cambridge, to Trumpington Road in 1894. Edmund Brookes gives his recollections of being a
pupil at the Perse Preparatory School, which moved from Bateman Street, Cambridge, to
Leighton House, Trumpington Road, in 1954.
The Church School was affected by the boundary change in 1934, when 'Eleven Plus' pupils
had to transfer to St George's School in Cambridge. The Church School was superseded by
Fawcett Infant and Junior Schools which opened at the east end of Alpha Terrace in 1949-50.
Ken Fletcher describes the history and expansion of this school. Shirley Brown said that many
of the parents did not want their children to transfer, but the Church School finally closed in
In 1842, the parish and Trinity
College purchased land on the north
side of Grantchester Road/Church
Lane for a National School, built in
1843 with two classrooms for 100
pupils. Subsequently known as the
Church School, this grew in size
over the years and played a pivotal
role in the education of village
children up to the 1940s, particularly
under a highly respected master,
Percy Robinson (master from
1908-43). David Stubbings
remembers that his sister was in the
class where Mr Robinson collapsed
and died: she remembered being
terrified and not knowing what to do.
|Print of the National School, built 1843. From a
photograph used by Percy Robinson during lectures in
|The middle/top class at Trumpington Church of England School, c. 1947. Photo from David P.
Back row left to right:
Muriel Elbrow, Hazel Griffiths, Noel Cheesely, Elaine Tudor, - -, - -
First standing row, left to right:
David Stubbings, Raymond Cousins, Peter Edwards, Francis Shipp, - Michael? Carter, Stuart
Mellany, Nigel -, - -, Terence Bates
Seated row, left to right:
Olive -?, - Warboys, Janet Shanks, Michael Shipp, Enid -, Mr E.G. Youngs (Headmaster),
Richard? Cleeves, - -, Brian -, - -
Front row left to right:
Stanley? Chapman, Michael Cleeves, - -, Christopher Kite, Alan Wilson?, Nigel -, John Pitman,
|Children running along Shelford Road,
on their way to school, Trumpington,
c. 1947. Photo: Reg Clarke.
|Outside the gate of Trumpington
Church School, 1948, Dianne Camps
on left, June Newell on right. Photo:
Dianne Fraser (née Camps).
|Fawcett School Sports Day, 1982.
Photo: Peter Dawson.
Two additional primary schools are planned within the housing developments. Trumpington
Meadows Primary School opened in September 2013, as part of a federation with Fawcett
School. A further school will be built at a later date on Clay Farm. Fawcett School will also
increase in size.
There has been no secondary school within Trumpington and secondary pupils have travelled to
Sawston Village College or schools elsewhere in Cambridge. This will change in September
2015, when Trumpington Community College will open on Clay Farm, to the south of Long
|Fawcett Primary School. Photo: Andrew
Roberts, August 2008.
|Entrance to Fawcett Children's Centre,
November 2010. Source: Clare Wilkinson.
Margot Andrews describes her experience of being a pupil at the Church School in the 1930s.
David Stubbings also remembers his time at the school in the 1940s. He says "I was taught by
both Miss Burgess and Miss Lister. The former was lovely. After dinner she put the "babies",
i.e. the youngest infants, down for a sleep, and at afternoon break on a sunny day there would
be an occasional bed propped up outside to dry! The beds were a simple metal frame
supporting a canvas, embroidered hammock. Miss Burgess had a pre-war Morris 8 and a gang
of us had to push start it at least once. Miss Lister would "rabbit punch" your upper arm if she
was angry, very painful. With the advent of the new council houses, the number of children in
the school increased and another teacher was employed. One was a stunning young lady who
wore peep-toe high heeled shoes, and whose partner brought her to school each morning and
kissed her passionately goodbye, as a row of heads rose above the school wall, and disappeared
when they stopped! We were not used to public displays of affection in those days! The next
teacher was Mrs Barnes who took the "top" class, whilst Mr Youngs did less teaching and more
head masterly administration. He moved the top class to the rear room and the infants to the
|Julian Huppert MP at the opening of Fawcett
Children's Centre, 13 November 2010. Source:
|Councillor Linda Oliver (Chair of
Cambridgeshire County Council) at the
opening of Fawcett Children's Centre, 13
November 2010. Source: Clare Wilkinson.