Ranelagh Church of England School
Ranelagh School is a Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 school close to the centre of Bracknell
Bracknell is a town and civil parish in the Borough of Bracknell Forest in Berkshire, England. It lies to the south-east of Reading, southwest of Windsor and west of central London...

. It is one of the six secondary schools in Bracknell Forest
Bracknell Forest
Bracknell Forest is a unitary authority and borough in Berkshire in southern England. It covers the towns of Bracknell, North Ascot, Sandhurst, Crowthorne and surrounding villages and hamlets.-History:...



Ranelagh is a publicly and voluntary funded school. Attendance is limited to Church of England children whose parents attend church at least 12 months prior to admission. It is one of many schools criticised in the UK and was subject to former Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families
Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families
The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families is a Cabinet minister in the United Kingdom. The post was created on 28 June 2007 after the disbanding of the Department for Education and Skills by Gordon Brown. The first Secretary of State was Ed Balls, a former treasury aide to Brown...

 Ed Balls
Ed Balls
Edward Michael Balls, known as Ed Balls, is a British Labour politician, who has been a Member of Parliament since 2005, currently for Morley and Outwood, and is the current Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer....

' investigation into UK schools that operated with public funding on this basis. It is in the Diocese of Oxford
Diocese of Oxford
-History:The Diocese of Oxford was created in 1541 out of part of the Diocese of Lincoln.In 1836 the Archdeaconry of Berkshire was transferred from the Diocese of Salisbury to Oxford...

 and next to the Waterloo to Reading Line
Waterloo to Reading Line
The Waterloo to Reading Line is a National Rail suburban electric railway line running generally westwards from London, England. It is operated by South West Trains...



Cranbourne Hall was a Queen Anne style
Queen Anne Style architecture
The Queen Anne Style in Britain means either the English Baroque architectural style roughly of the reign of Queen Anne , or a revived form that was popular in the last quarter of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century...

 mansion built in 1709 just off Drift Road, Winkfield, and which was demolished in 2008. The Earl's residence was Cranbourne Lodge
Cranbourne Lodge
Cranbourne Lodge was a keeper's lodge for the royal hunting grounds of Cranbourne Chase, once adjoining but now part of Windsor Great Park in the English county of Berkshire...

 of which only Cranbourne Tower is remaining. Cranbourne (sometimes Cranborne), which was a part of Winkfield
Winkfield is a village and civil parish in the Bracknell Forest unitary authority of Berkshire, England.-Geography:According to the 2001 census, the parish had a population of 15,271...

 parish, is about two miles from Winkfield itself, and lies mainly on Drift Road and North Road.

Earl of Ranelagh

It was home to one of the oldest schools in Berkshire
Berkshire is a historic county in the South of England. It is also often referred to as the Royal County of Berkshire because of the presence of the royal residence of Windsor Castle in the county; this usage, which dates to the 19th century at least, was recognised by the Queen in 1957, and...

, established by the 1st Earl of Ranelagh, Richard Jones
Richard Jones, 1st Earl of Ranelagh
Richard Jones, 1st Earl of Ranelagh PC FRS , known as The Viscount Ranelagh between 1669 and 1677, was an Irish peer, politician both in the Parliaments of England and Ireland.-Background:...

, for 20 boys and 20 girls. The first master was William Waterson who ran the school for 50 years, he was also the vicar of Winkfield. Earl Ranelagh was a devout Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

, he required that the master was in holy orders, and insisted the Catechism
A catechism , i.e. to indoctrinate) is a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used in Christian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present...

 was taught every Wednesday and Friday. The boys were to learn reading writing and arithmetick (sic), and the girls reading, writing, spinning, knitting and sewing. A set of clothes rather like the more well-known Blue Coat School
Charity school
A charity school, also called Blue Coat School, was significant in the History of education in England. They were erected and maintained in various parishes, by the voluntary contributions of the inhabitants, for teaching poor children to read, write, and other necessary parts of education...

was provided for the children and so it became sometimes known as the Green School. Every Whit Monday the children paraded outside the lychgate of Winkfield Church to be given new uniforms. The school was then run by John Boyce from 1759-72 and later his son George from 1772-1824.

In 1709 the hours of the school were in summer 7 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. – 5 p.m., and winter 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Attendance was often poor, and many pupils were expelled for non attendance, in 1769 15% were expelled for this reason. Earlier there were no school holidays, in 1820 there were four weeks in August, one week at Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

 and Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

, and a week at Whitsun
Whitsun is the name used in the UK for the Christian festival of Pentecost, the seventh Sunday after Easter, which commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Christ's disciples...

 was added in 1824.

The front door opens into a full-height hall, originally a chapel, which has stained glass windows at the far end. The master’s rooms were at the back with rooms in each wing to house the children. In the 1830s the single storey wings were made double storey. By 1880 the school had reached a capacity of 100 and Cranbourne Hall was sold. The school expanded to a site in Lovel Road and became known as Cranbourne Ranelagh School.


In 1908 some of the proceeds from the sale of the Hall were used to establish a grammar school in Bracknell. This became the highly regarded Ranelagh Church of England Comprehensive School. Cranbourne Hall was demolished in 2008.

Ranelagh opened as a secondary school and pupil-teacher centre on its present site in Bracknell in 1908. The school was partly funded by the Ranelagh Foundation, a charitable trust, which had been involved in education in the ancient parish of Winkfield since the founding of the original school in 1709. When the school opened in Bracknell, there were four full time teachers including the first headmaster, Ernest Cleave.

By the outbreak of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 the number on roll had risen to one hundred and there were then eight full time teachers including the second headmaster, James Bury. An additional playing field had been purchased in Larges Lane. During the war there were, at one time, two schools sharing the use of the buildings.

The coming of the New Town and changes in national educational policy led to a major expansion of the school between 1953 and 1981 under the headships of Donovan Martin and Nick Dolby (Dolbs).

Grammar school

The school became a Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 voluntary aided grammar school
Grammar school
A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and some other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching classical languages but more recently an academically-oriented secondary school.The original purpose of mediaeval...

 following the Education Act 1944
Education Act 1944
The Education Act 1944 changed the education system for secondary schools in England and Wales. This Act, commonly named after the Conservative politician R.A...


Extensions were made to the buildings between 1955-64, and between 1979-81.

Comprehensive school

In 1981, it began to develop as a comprehensive school
Comprehensive school
A comprehensive school is a state school that does not select its intake on the basis of academic achievement or aptitude. This is in contrast to the selective school system, where admission is restricted on the basis of a selection criteria. The term is commonly used in relation to the United...


Since 1993, under the headship of Kathryn Winrow, the school has expanded in numbers. Additional accommodation has upgraded the site with additional classrooms, a sixth form centre, a business centre, music block, a sports hall and currently an arts-design centre.


The school was awarded Beacon School
Beacon School
Beacon School was a government designation awarded to outstanding primary and secondary schools in England and Wales from 1998 to August 2005. The Beacon Schools programme identified schools that were examples of good practice and funded those schools to enable them to build partnerships with each...

 Status and is a Specialist College in Maths, Visual Arts and Business & Enterprise. In February 2006, the school received an outstanding OFSTED
The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills is the non-ministerial government department of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools In England ....

 report and has been included in HMCI Annual Report (for the second time) as one of the most successful schools in the country.

Throughout the 20th century Ranelagh School has developed a wide reputation for high academic standards, excellence in music and drama and for providing a community in which pupils can develop their interests and talents.

Today Ranelagh has had many of talented students to go through the schools system, ranging from Nicholas Hoult (Skins & About a boy) too Lee Simmonds (West end & Nickelodeon star)

Academic performance

It gets exceptionally good GCSE results, the best for state schools in Bracknell Forest. At A level, the results are less good, just above the England average, and second best in the LEA (to Edgbarrow School
Edgbarrow School
Edgbarrow School is a secondary comprehensive school in Crowthorne, Berkshire, England. The school is the main state secondary school in the area, and includes Edgbarrow Sixth Form College...


Ranelagh Grammar School

  • Michael Alder, Controller of English Regional Television
    BBC English Regions
    BBC English Regions is the division of the BBC responsible for local television, radio, web and teletext services in England. It is one of the BBC's four 'Nations' - the others being BBC Scotland, BBC Wales and BBC Northern Ireland....

     at the BBC from 1970-86
  • Prof William Birch, President from 1976-7 of the Institute of British Geographers
    Royal Geographical Society
    The Royal Geographical Society is a British learned society founded in 1830 for the advancement of geographical sciences...

    , and Professor of Geography from 1990-4 at the University of Bristol
    University of Bristol
    The University of Bristol is a public research university located in Bristol, United Kingdom. One of the so-called "red brick" universities, it received its Royal Charter in 1909, although its predecessor institution, University College, Bristol, had been in existence since 1876.The University is...

  • Bob Edwards
    Bob Edwards (UK journalist)
    Robert Edwards is a British journalist.Edwards was editor of Tribune , a feature writer on the Evening Standard , deputy editor of the Sunday Express , managing editor of the Daily Express then its editor , editor of the Glasgow Evening Citizen , editor of the Daily Express again , editor of...

     CBE, Editor in 1961 and 1963-5 of the Daily Express, from 1966-72 of the Sunday People and from 1972-84 of the Sunday Mirror
  • Anne Snelgrove, Labour MP for South Swindon since 2005

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.