Did you know, Powell Corderoy Primary School is probably the oldest school in Dorking?
Believed to have been founded in 1816 by the British and Foreign Schools Society, it was then known as ‘Dorking British School’. Although records of the school’s early history are far from complete, it appears the school was originally based in West Street and moved to North Street in 1836. In the winter of 1842-43 the school was on the move again, this time to new premises in Back Lane, now Church Street. It was while the school was at Church Street in 1896 that the tradition of electing a May Queen each year was established.
In 1896 it was decided to move Dorking British School into new premises in Norfolk Road (now occupied by St. Joseph’s School). Miss Edith Corderoy took responsibility for raising the money and Mr T. E. Powell, a Dorking resident, made a generous contribution that enabled the building to be started. In 1898 the new school was opened as ‘The Dorking British Powell Corderoy School’.
Eventually the school came to be known by its present name, although we proudly still use the old emblem, made up of the interlinked initials ‘D.B.S.’ as a reminder of the heritage of our school. These initials also provided the school’s original motto, ‘Do Better Still’ and the more recent one adopted in 2006, ‘Developing minds, Building confidence, Shaping futures’.
In 1968 the school moved into Longfield Road and then became a First and Middle School upon the reorganisation of Primary Education in Surrey three years later. Following Surrey’s decision to change the ages of transfer back to seven and eleven, the school became a Primary School in September 1994 and has been ever since!
We are delighted to be an old school with a strong history. Popular school traditions include our annual summer festival, with the procession of the May Queen, and the school song, which has evolved over time but retains the sense of pride, belonging and community it has always embodied.