Coopers' Company and Coborn School

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The Coopers' Company and Coborn School is a secondary school and sixth form with academy status, located in Upminster area of the London Borough of Havering, England.


The school is (since 2005) a non-selective school described by Ofsted as "an exceptional school of real excellence". The school excels at Performing Arts and Sports. In 2004 as part of the European Year of Education through Sport it won the award of "Europe's most sport minded school".

There have been no tests since 2001 nor interviews since 2004 for admission. Current applications are made via application form completed by the prospective students' parents and, months later, by a second form completed by the students themselves. This is not an examination but is heavily scrutinised. The school is heavily oversubscribed with approximately 5 applicants for each of the 180 places.

It is situated on St Mary's Lane (B187) about half a mile east of Upminster tube station, just over a mile west of the M25, and two miles from junction 29 (A127).

General Information

The school is divided into 5 years, similar to other secondary schools in England. It is one of only a few schools in the London borough of Havering to also have a Sixth form. Other schools nearby, such as Gaynes and Sanders Drapers do not have this feature. The Sixth form building was built from the ground up, and opened in 2011. The Sixth form is primarily supplied with students from the years below who have graduated in Year 11. However it does allow external candidates from local schools without a sixth form to apply, and a minority of these students are accepted.


The Nicholas Gibson Free School was founded in 1536 by a prominent citizen of the City of London who earned his living as a grocer. On his death in 1549 Gibson's wife, Avice, took over the running of the school which could take up to sixty boys. In 1552 she asked the Coopers' Company to undertake the management of the School for her and thus the school included the Company's title in its name. The school was situated in Ratcliff, now present-day Stepney.

Prisca Coborn, the widow of a brewer, established a coeducational school in Bow in 1701 as a result of the terms of her will, published in the year of her death.

The school was first housed in a site east of Bow Church, quickly moving to a site between the church and Bow Bridge. In 1814 the school moved to a site which later became part of the Bryant and May match factory. In 1870 the school moved to a site in Tredegar Square, later to be occupied by the Coopers' Company's Boys' School.

In 1891 the two foundations were united with the boys moving to Tredegar Square; Coborn, now an all-girls school, moved to 86 Bow Road. In 1898 Coborn School was moved to 29-31 Bow Road where it remained until the move to Upminster. As a result of the amalgamation of the two schools to form the then voluntary aided school, the new site was first occupied in Upminster in 1971 and by 1973 the whole school had moved into these new premises.

The school converted to academy status on 1 April 2011. thumb

Notable former pupils


  • Elizabeth Kucinich, (née Harper), wife of US Congressman and former Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich
  • Lorne Spicer, journalist and TV presenter
  • Jenny Watson, Chairman of the Electoral Commission since 2009, and from 2005-7 of the Equal Opportunities Commission
  • Rochelle Wiseman, singer, S Club 8 and The Saturdays

Coborn High School for Girls

  • Dora Gaitskell, Baroness Gaitskell wife of Hugh Gaitskell, leader of the Labour Party 1955-1963
  • Elsie & Doris Waters The sisters of Jack Warner (see below). Their stage names were Gert & Daisy and were said to be as big as Morecombe & Wise in their time [1]

Coopers' Company's School

  • Sir William Sydney Atkins CBE, founder of WS Atkins, one of Britain's largest civil engineering companies
  • Peter Belton, Professor of Biomaterials Science from 2001-8 at the University of East Anglia, and President from 2003-5 of the Institute of Food Science and Technology
  • Bernard Bresslaw, actor. Appeared in a number of comedies including some of the Carry On film series.
  • Alec Burden, Actor. Producer & Host BCTV's travel show "Alecs Best Bets" 1993 - 2003
  • David Brewerton, journalist and former City Editor of The Independent
  • Arthur Godman, former PoW
  • Prof Tim Holt CB, Director from 1996-2000 of the Office for National Statistics and Registrar General for England and Wales, President from 2005-7 of the Royal Statistical Society, and Leverhulme Professor of Social Statatistics from 1980-2005 at the University of Southampton
  • Prof Anthony Legon FRS, Professor of Physical Chemistry from 2005-8 at the University of Bristol and from 1984-2005 at the University of Exeter
  • Prof Monty Losowsky, expert on liver diseases, Professor of Medicine and Head of University Department of Medicine from 1969-96 at St James's University Hospital, Leeds, and President from 1993-4 of the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG)
  • Richard Madeley, TV presenter
  • Sir Allen Mawer, Baines Professor of English Language from 1921-9 at the University of Liverpool, President from 1936-7 of the Philological Society and of the Modern Language Association from 1932-9
  • Ronald Richardson CBE, electrical engineer and Chairman from 1969-70 of the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting, and of the North Western Electricity Board from 1964–71
  • Arnold Shaw, Labour MP for Ilford South from 1966–70 and 1974-9
  • Prof Michael SpyerTemplate:Dead link, Sophia Jex-Blake Professor of Physiology since 1980 at the UCL Medical School
  • Michael Stewart, Baron Stewart of Fulham, Foreign Secretary (twice) under Harold Wilson (Labour Party) Michael Stewart, Baron Stewart of Fulham
  • Eustace Turner, Professor of Chemistry from 1944-60 at Bedford College (London)
  • Jack Warner OBE, actor, Dixon of Dock Green (1955–76)
  • Jack Watling, actor
  • Christopher Wicking, screenwriter
  • R. D. Wingfield, radio dramatist
  • Harry Fox and Charlie Fox, swam the English Channel in 2013. The Killerwhales Channel Swim Team.



External links

News items

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