Spotlight On… Reed School


Nestled in the beautiful rural setting of Reed, midway between Royston and Buntingford, sits Reed First School. With 49 pupils on the roll, the school plays a vibrant role in the local community and has done so for over one hundred years.

Built in 1913, the school opened its doors on the 13th October, after a local landowner, Mr William Bysouth kindly donated the land for the school to be built on. He was concerned that the children were forced to trudge across the fields to Barkway, and that this often meant declining attendance, especially in poor weather. Mr Bysouth also ensured that, once the school opened, the children were provided with fresh water for the first three months, to increase their health and well being. 37 children joined the school on that first day, and Miss Eva Brett, at just 14 years old, was the first headmistress.

Being part of a rural community meant the agricultural cycle plays a crucial role in the history of Reed First School. The school day ended at 3.35pm providing the children an opportunity to go haymaking, and even to this day, the children attend the Harvest Festival service in St Mary’s Church, where the local farmers poignantly read lines that include how they have been “bringing in the yield.” These community links have always been prevalent.


During both World Wars, the children were encouraged to help with the war effort. Knitting classes meant that the children created “woollen comforts” in the form of socks, gloves, scarves and vests, that they sent to their adopted ship – the SS Romney, during World War Two. The sailors were so grateful; they sent a box of oranges as a thank you, a real treat for the children who, thanks to rationing, hadn’t seen an orange for quite a few years.

Over the past hundred years, the building itself has expanded to accommodate the children’s needs. Starting as just a single room divided by a screen, the school has grown two further classrooms adjacent to the original building, with a further mobile unit in the school grounds that houses the Nursery and Reception children.

And plans for this small yet mighty school continue to grow. 2016 sees us launch a fundraising campaign to build for the children an all-purpose library. The intention is that the library will be dedicated to William Bysouth in recognition of the role he took in opening the school. This will provide both the existing and the future pupils of Reed First School with a rich and valuable asset for many years to come.Front of school