History of the school

Since its inception, Anglo European School has thrived and evolved into a successful 11-19 co-educational comprehensive institution. Situated between Brentwood and Chelmsford, it now accommodates over 1300 students from a broad catchment area, spanning most of Essex and Northeast London.

Norman Pitt served as the inaugural Head Teacher of the Anglo-European School from 1973 to 1990. Under his leadership, a significant building initiative took place, encompassing the addition of a new language laboratory, a Sixth Form Block, extra teaching space, and enhanced Science laboratories.


During this period, the curriculum underwent a continuous enrichment with a robust European dimension. European Studies became integral for students in the fourth and fifth years, and the European Study Visit Programme was introduced across all years. This program steadily expanded in the 1970s, establishing connections with partner schools in France, Germany, Norway, and the U.S.A.

In a pioneering move, the school became the first state school to adopt the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme in 1977—a globally recognized post-16 qualification emphasizing both breadth and academic rigor.

Bob Reed took over as Headteacher in September 1990, bringing about numerous changes, including extending the European dimension to encompass a broader international perspective.

In September 1993, the school transitioned to Grant Maintained status, granting full control of finances, staff, and overall management to the Head Teacher and School Governors. It returned to local authority oversight as a Foundation School in September 1999. A significant milestone occurred in July 1995 when the school attained the designation of a Language College, solidifying its role as a centre of excellence in language education.

Under the dynamic leadership of Co-Headteachers David Barrs and Jill Martin, Anglo-European School has not only expanded but also embraced a more international ethos. The school forged new connections, exemplified by three school exchanges with China and the establishment of the Jiangsu Centre in 2008. In addition, two Spanish exchanges and a new exchange to Italy were introduced in 2009, reflecting the school's commitment to global engagement.

David and Jill outlined the five pillars that distinguish the school:

1. Citizenship

2. Languages

3. Baccalaureate curriculum including the arts and humanities

4. International visits and exchanges

5. The values, mission and vision of the International Baccalaureate

The co-headship model, initially pioneered by Anglo, evolved further with the retirement of Jill Martin and the appointment of Jody Gee as co-head in September 2015.

The school's overarching goal is to deliver the highest quality education, enriched by an international ethos. Central to this vision is Jean Monnet's concept of a peace-promoting Europe, sharing its wealth with the world—an ideology embedded in much of the school's endeavours.

Although initially granted permission by Jean Monet to use the EU flag as its logo, the school's ethos expanded in the late 1990s to embrace people from all corners of the world. Despite the misnomer in the name 'Anglo European,' the school's reputation remains built upon it, and the name has remained.

While the school caters to students in the local catchment area, it also attracts a significant number of students, including non-UK nationals, from various parts of Essex and beyond. The result is a vibrant, multicultural society of young individuals prepared to contribute to shaping Europe and the world. These students leave the school not only proud of their own culture but also tolerant and intrigued by the cultures of others.

More information

Click below link to find out more about our school's history from local historian, alumni and friend of AES, Robert Fletcher.