Our History


Reverend Mother Clare
- our first headteacher.
Reverend Mother Clare - our first headteacher
  • 1474           Angela Merici was born in Desenzano del Garda in Italy
  • 1535            Angela Merici founder the Company of St Ursula in Brescia
    By the end of that century the Order had begun to spread to other countries and became educators of young women. Over the next 400 years they spread all over the world.
  • 1851            The Ursulines first came to England from Tildonk in Belgium.
  • 1854            They established a free school for the poor at Upton (Forest Gate) near Stratford.
  • 1859            Cecilia Arthur (Mother Clare) was born and at the age of 12 became a boarder at Forest Gate.  She then entered the order and in 1886 became a headteacher of the Elementary school at Upton.
  • 1900            Mother Clare, with two other Sisters, came to Brentwood to open a school at the request of Father Norris.  The school opened on 23 April 1900
  • 1904            Mother Clare became the first "Superior" of the newly established Order the " Brentwood Ursulines"
  • 1918            Initially there were two schools: St. Philomena's, for the daughters of the poor, and St. Mary's for those of the "well-to-do".  They merged in 1918. As the school grew new buildings were added.  As the school grew so did the Order and there were many vocations to the Brentwood Community.  During the Second World War pupils from other Ursuline schools were evacuated to Brentwood.  However the Trinity building was badly damaged by bombing.
  • 1954            Mother Clare died but the vision and values had been firmly established and over time the community and school flourished under the leadership of Mother Superiors and headteachers.
    • 1900-1915            Mother Clare Arthur
    • 1915-1925            Mother Scolastica Mead
    • 1925-1947            Mother Ursula Schoenen, B.A (London)
    • 1947-1969            Sister Joseph Howley M.A (Oxon)
    • 1969-1977            Sister Gabriel O'Driscoll B.A (London)
    • 1978-1980            Sister Jude Conway M.A (Oxon)
    • 1980-1983            Sister Gabriel O'Driscoll B.A (London)
    • 1983-1984            Sister Brigid Cunningham B.A (Hons) (London)
  • 1975            The Ursuline Sisters founded the Sacred Heart school at Kyeni in Kenya.  Although the Community does not run the now the links are still very strong.
  • 1984            The first lay headteacher was appointed. Since 1984 Sisters have taught in the school and have assisted with the running of the school. They have been the Trustees of the school.  They are there for us on a daily basis helping in all the ways they can and remembering us in their prayers.
  • 2012          The Ursuline sisters handed over management of the school and it became an academy. The Bishop, the Chair of Governors and the Diocesan Director of Education are the Trustees.