Cherry Hinton: Education

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (North-Eastern Cambridgeshire). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.

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A F Wareham, A P M Wright, 'Cherry Hinton: Education', in A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (North-Eastern Cambridgeshire)( London, 2002), British History Online [accessed 18 July 2024].

A F Wareham, A P M Wright, 'Cherry Hinton: Education', in A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (North-Eastern Cambridgeshire)( London, 2002), British History Online, accessed July 18, 2024,

A F Wareham, A P M Wright. "Cherry Hinton: Education". A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (North-Eastern Cambridgeshire). (London, 2002), , British History Online. Web. 18 July 2024.


In 1807 there were no schools in the parish, but in 1818, as in 1825, the vicar supervised two schools supported by subscription. (fn. 1) It had c. 60 children, some from poor families. By 1833 one of those schools had closed, and the second had only 24 children. (fn. 2) The creation of a National school in 1832, endowed with £1,000 by the vicar, yielding then and later £35 a year, provided schooling for c. 100 pupils c. 1833-47. Being a fellow of Peterhouse, the vicar vested the freehold of the school site in the college. (fn. 3) The school was staffed in the mid 19th century by a schoolmaster and schoolmistress, with a house for the master attached to the school. (fn. 4) Between 1851 and 1881 enrolment increased from c. 98 to 107. (fn. 5) In the late 19th century the school was funded by voluntary contributions, government grants, and its endowment paid through the National Society, with a voluntary rate supplying any deficiency. (fn. 6)

In 1884, when the National Society asked for greater prominence to be given to religious education, its proposals were modified upon the insistence of the nonconformists on the managing committee. Population growth made conditions cramped, and in 1884 the school building and playground were enlarged. The school was altered again in 1891 to accommodate 250 pupils. (fn. 7) By 1895 the school roll had an average of 228 pupils, with a school income of £194. (fn. 8) Numbers attending had fallen marginally by 1910, but between 1919 and 1932 remained at 242. (fn. 9) In 1938 the school was reorganized as a junior and infants school, with the seniors being transferred to Coleridge School. (fn. 10) During the Second World War the children were taught in the parish room, as the school was taken over by the Air Raid Protection Service. In 1945 a nursery class was added to Cherry Hinton school, and in 1957 the juniors were transferred to Colville school. In 1998 Cherry Hinton Infants School had 220 children aged 3 to 7, with 8 teachers. (fn. 11) The school, which remained a church school, was rebuilt in 1937-8, and again in 1970. (fn. 12)

In new Cherry Hinton two schools were opened at the turn of the 20th century. An infants' school attached to St. John's church, opened in 1897, was closed in 1903. (fn. 13) Its 50 pupils were transferred to the Morley Memorial School opened in 1900 on Blinco Grove as a nondenominational school to provide teaching practice for Homerton Teacher Training College. (fn. 14) In 1905 the school had on average 210 children, and by 1919 that figure had risen to 296, one third of whom were infants. (fn. 15) In 1912 responsibility for its management was taken over by the borough education committee. (fn. 16) Its buildings were altered in the 1930s, and in 1938 the seniors were transferred to Coleridge School. In the 1940s the head teacher left her house to the council for use by the school. The house was pulled down in the 1960s for an extension, including a school hall. In the 1960s the juniors' and infants' schools were combined into a primary school.

Two schools established in 1952 on the north side of Queen Edith's Way for infants and juniors were amalgamated in 1989 into Queen Edith's Primary and Junior School. (fn. 17) In 1998 it had 476 pupils and 15 teachers. In 1957 Colville School was opened for juniors aged 7 to 11, but subsequently took infants as well. In 1978 Cherry Hinton Junior School was founded, taking infants who had formerly been sent to Colville School, and in 1989 Spinney primary school was established.

In 1938 Coleridge Boys School and Coleridge Girls School were built at the north-east corner of Radegund and Perne Roads. In 1966 they were merged to form a mixed comprehensive school, and in 1979 Coleridge was designated as a community college. It still occupies its original buildings of 1938, with an extension added in 1997.

The Netherhall School was created in 1974 through the amalgamation of the Grammar School for Boys and the two Netherhall Secondary Modern Schools, off Queen Edith's Way. Until 1958 there were no schools on that site, but the history of the Grammar School began in 1871. It started as the Cambridge Higher Grade School, at the initiative of Dr. W. M. Campion and two other Cambridge academics. (fn. 18) Following the 1876 Act which forbade child labour, numbers increased from 50 to 232, but levelled off to c. 200-20 in the 1880s. In 1902 it passed under the control of the borough council, and in 1913 moved to new buildings in Melbourne Place. It became the Central School for Boys in 1919, the Technical Central School in 1953, (fn. 19) and the Central Grammar School in 1956, when it was decided to move the school to a larger site in Cherry Hinton. The new building to the south of Queen Edith's Way, designed for 540 pupils on a 14 a.-site, was completed in 1958 and opened in 1959. In 1957 a Boys' and a Girls' secondary school were opened off Tillards Way north of Queen Edith's Way, for around 500 pupils each. They were run as separate schools, but shared a dining hall and sports fields. In 1974 the three schools were combined into Netherhall School and Sixth Form College, the lower school occupying the site of the former secondary schools, and the upper school and sixth form college occupying the former grammar school building. It had 55 a. (22 ha.) of playing fields. In 1988 15 a. (6 ha.) beside the Cherry Hinton Road was sold off, with the funds paying for a new sixth form common room and sports hall, completed in 1989. In 2000 the school was one of the largest in the county.


  • 1. C.U.L., E.D.R., C 1/4; C 1/6; Educ. of Poor Digest, 56.
  • 2. Educ. Enq. Abstract, 59.
  • 3. Ibid.; Report on charities of Cambs. vi. 117; cf. Char. Com. file 311384.
  • 4. Nat. Soc., Inquiry, (1849) Cambs. 2-3; Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1847-50).
  • 5. P.R.O., HO 107/1759, ff. 614-20.
  • 6. Camb. Chron. 16 Dec. 1887, for history and organization.
  • 7. Ibid. 16 Dec. 1887.; 9 Oct. 1891; 25 Dec. 1891.
  • 8. Schs. in receipt of Parl. Grants, 1895-6, [C. 4849-1], p. 22, H.C. (1896), lxv.
  • 9. Bd. of Educ., List 21, 1919, 15; 1932, 16.
  • 10. Black, Cambs. Educ. Record, 43; inf. from County Council education dept.
  • 11. Cherry Hinton Infants School Prospectus.
  • 12. Bd. of Educ. List, 21, 1910, 23.
  • 13. Public Elem. Schs, 1906, [Cd. 3150], p. 145, H.C. (1906), lxiii.
  • 14. Ibid.; for Homerton College, V.C.H. Cambs. viii. 267.
  • 15. Public Elem. Schs. 1906, 145; Bd. of Educ., List 21, 1919, 15.
  • 16. Public Elem. Schs. 1906, 145.
  • 17. History of primary schools in late 20th century based on school prospectuses, interviews, and inf. provided by Education Dept., Cambs. County Council.
  • 18. Para. based on Black, Cambs. Educ. Rec. 45, E.D. Scarisbrick, History of Netherhall School (1971); Netherhall School Prospectus.
  • 19. V.C.H. Cambs. iii. 145.