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School History


Oldest school in Brent

St. Mary's is the oldest school in Brent, dating back to 1777 when a local philanthropist gave £200 towards building a Charity School in Willesden. In 1809 the Sunday school was founded and this was extended to a day school in 1818 - long before the Education Act made education available for all children.

Church End

Church End is situated just east of the centre of Brent and is the heart of the original parish of Willesden. St.Mary’s church Church End, once also known as Crouch (Cross) End, grew up around the church, which was located on the edge of marshland, an equal distance from the three main settlements in the area.

The school was founded to educate the children of the parish and to bring them up in the Christian Faith.  Happily, we are now housed in modern buildings, immediately behind the Church, but our reason for being here is still the same: To give the children of the neighbourhood a sound basic education within the context of the Christian Faith. We are concerned for the whole child, mentally, physically and spiritually. Our aim is to give the children who come here firm foundations upon which to build their lives.


Christian Faith

Above all, we are a Church School, and believe that the Christian Faith is the foundation for a complete and fulfilled life and it is this foundation, which we aim to give our children for their future lives.

Sound educational foundation

We stress the importance of basic subjects for a sound educational foundation. We recognise that all children are different and we endeavour to meet the needs of each child, encouraging each one to strive for the highest he or she can reach. The value of the individual is stressed and our children are taught to respect other people and to adopt a caring attitude to all. The staff work together to create a happy caring atmosphere in the school and to provide the discipline that is needed to give children a secure environment to enable all to live and work together as a community.


Our Lady of Willesden

The famous shrine of Our Lady of Willesden - "The Black Virgin of Willesden" - to which miraculous powers were ascribed is also the schools logo. St Mary’s Church adjacent to the School is also home to the ancient shrine of Our Lady of Willesden, and to the Holy Water of Willesden which flows underneath the church and is freely available to be taken away. Some experts state that the name Willesden, or as it was called "Wilsdon", or "Wellesden" means the spring or well at the foot of the hill. The church is kept open all day for everyone to worship or to light candles.

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