Our first Headteacher
Reverend Mother Clare
Angela Merici was born in Desenzano del Garda in Italy
Angela Merici founded 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.
The Ursulines first came to England from Tildonk in Belgium.
They established a free school for the poor at Upton (Forest Gate) near Stratford.
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.
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.
Mother Clare became the first "Superior" of the newly established Order; the "Brentwood Ursulines."
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. The Order expanded too and there were many vocations to the Brentwood Community. During the Second World War, pupils from other Ursuline schools were evacuated to Brentwood. The Trinity building was badly damaged by bombing.
Mother Clare died, but her vision and values had been firmly established. Over time, the community and school flourished under the leadership of Mother Superiors and Headteachers.
The Ursuline Sisters founded the Sacred Heart School at Kyeni in Kenya. Although the Community no longer runs it, the links are still very strong.
The first lay Headteacher was appointed.
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 Trustee Members.