The History of Oaklands

Oaklands is one of the longest established preparatory schools in the Epping Forest area.  It was founded on the corner of Traps Hill in Loughton in 1937 by Miss Elizabeth Lord, and moved to its present site in Albion Hill in September 1944.

19th and 20th Centuries

The main building, then called Firbank, was built in 1837 and the iron railings around the main field go back to the 1870s.  The Howards of Howard’s Aspirins lived at Firbank from about 1915 until around 1930, and during the war it was home to a number of Belgian refugees.  In those days Oaklands was covered with ivy and the building ended near the bay windows.

Old pic 1

The assembly hall was enlarged and further classrooms were added in the 1940s. During the 1940s and 1950s Oaklands educated the children of many local families, sending the boys on to schools such as Chigwell, Forest and Bancroft’s at 7 and keeping the girls until 11; Oaklands is now fully co-educational to the age of 11.

Old pic 2
Miss Lord retired in 1982 and handed over to Mr and Mrs Hagger. Mr Nicholas Hagger, a poet, philosopher and author of many books, is a former pupil of the school. Mrs Ann Hagger was Headmistress of Oaklands from 1982 to 1996 and Mr Matthew Hagger is the Managing Principal of the three schools.

Oaklands School forms part of the Oak-Tree Group of Schools, which includes Braeside School in Buckhurst Hill, Coopersale Hall School in Epping, and Normanhurst School in North Chingford. A powerful group of local independent schools, all four are operated with the same aims of excellence and care.

21st Century

From around 2006 onwards there has been a programme of renovation and modernisation on the school site that includes a purpose-built Art/Music Studio, use and development of Oak House for our Lower Kindergarten and ICT Suite, large astroturf pitch and remodelled interior rooms and classrooms in the main building.

In July 2012 we held a 75th reunion party  for over 300 Old Oaklandian pupils, staff and friends to reminisce, share stories and view our archived memorabilia.

In July 2018, an extensive £1.2m building project was undertaken at the school which included the creation of a new car park, a hall extension, science room, additional classroom, new Reception toilets and entrance foyer, an all-weather play area for Lower Kindergarten and the complete modernization of the school kitchen and servery area. The project was completed for the start of the Autumn Term 2019 and has enhanced the educational opportunities we provide for all the pupils.