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Our History

Hockerill enjoys a rich and varied heritage. It was established in 1852 by the Church of England for the training of women teachers, who "would go out to the schools in the service of humanity, lay priests to the poor, moved by Christian Charity". 

In October 1940 three teenaged trainee teachers, Joyce Carnell, Grace Zender, and Joan Drake, were killed when four bombs fell in and around the College, damaging one and destroying another House. The decision was made to remain open throughout the war and St Albans Hall was used every other Saturday for dances with the service men stationed in town. 

Hockerill accepted male students in 1963 and in 1969, the first Hockerill students were awarded BEd degrees. Hockerill closed in 1978 after national cuts, owing to falling birth rates. 

Hockerill re-opened in 1980 as a co-educational boarding school when two Essex schools, Fyfield and Kennylands, merged and moved here. It became grant maintained in 1994 and was renamed Hockerill Anglo-European School. 1998 proved to be a defining year, as the school underwent a dramatic transformation into Hockerill Anglo-European College. In the process it:  

  • became one of the country’s first specialist language colleges; 

  • offered a sixth form provision for the first time; 

  • chose the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme as the only course of sixth form study. 

Since then, the College has doubled in size, with around 950 students - a third of whom are boarders. There are 80 cosmopolitan, carefully selected, teachers – some of whom are bilingual - and, including boarding and support staff, there are around 200 staff overall. We pioneered language school-university partnerships when we joined the University of Nottingham in training future language teachers. Equally significantly our close working and cultural links with a network of partner schools throughout the world, offering all our students the opportunity for regular visits and prolonged study abroad. 

The opening of a state of the art Sixth Form Centre in January 2024 marked 25 years of Hockerill awarding the IB Diploma.