Founded on the 27th of January 1964, in the hills of Frankfield, Clarendon, Edwin Allen High School was named after the first Minister of Education of independent Jamaica.
Established as a Comprehensive High School. The Comprehensive School philosophy embraces 3 schools in one, Grammar, Technical, Commercial and Vocational, and endeavors to give all pupils an equal opportunity to realize their potential as it caters for students of varying abilities and academic levels in different subject areas.
It was, in principle a means of removing:
– Existing examination barriers from students at that early age (10+)
– Financial barriers which prevent gifted students who might be financially challenged, and providing late developers, with an opportunity for secondary schooling.
Growth And Development:
The Edwin Allen High School was the brain child of the first Minister of Education of an independent Jamaica and Member of Parliament for the North Western Constituency of Clarendon, the late, Honourable Edwin Leopold Allen, O.J.
The School is located in the farming community of Frankfield. 24 miles from May Pen and 13 miles from Christiana.
It was first of its kind in Jamaica, and opened its doors to 356 students on January 27, 1964, in one block of building – the workshop block.
That bleak morning the first devotional exercise was conducted under a coconut tree. After devotion, the then, Minister of Education, the Hon. E.L. Allen, the Chief Architect of the Ministry Mr. V. Patterson, and the Principal, Mr. F.C. Latty watched with pride and joy as the students filed into the four classrooms which were available.
In first term three or four classes had to be held in the same open classroom of limited space. The clanging noise of workmen and machinery often drowned out the work of teaching and learning.
A rural-oriented programme was organized to satisfy the needs of all the students. Accordingly, emphasis was placed on Agricultural Science, together with Home Economics and Industrial Arts. Courses included; Arts, Science, Home Economics, Agriculture and Business Education. They were organized to cater to the needs and capabilities of the students. These were pursued up to the G.C.E. O’Level.
There were also Vocational Courses for students who were not able to pursue the courses offered at the G.C.E O’ Level. These included: Home Economics, Agricultural Science, Welding, Auto Mechanics, Business Education, Metal Work and Electrical Installation.
From its inception, it was felt that if the school should achieve the desired impact in the community, a variety of educational, cultural and social programmes would have to be designed and implemented.
The adult population of the community was also targeted. There were Literacy Classes and Evening Classes for those who could not be admitted to the day classes. Vocational Classes were also organized for Saturdays to teach certain skills to the young adults.
The Thrust of a “Total Education Concept” was being examined and, to this end the services of a Social Welfare Officer, Miss Myrtle Hamilton was engaged to work with the schools to develop, promote and implement this concept in the school community. This Officer was based at the Comprehensive School and worked as a liaison between the Feeder Schools and the Comprehensive School.
All these factors made this school a new kind of school designed to meet the needs of a changing people in a changing society.
The “Catchment Area” of the school in 1964 had 28 feeder schools. 35 years later it has approximately 40 feeder schools. Since it was impossible to admit all students who were 12+ years old from those feeder schools the following procedure was adopted for accepting new students.
(a) All students from the 2 immediate feeder schools – Frankfield and Kilsyth, were accepted on a non-selective basis. They entered the school when they attained 12 years of age. (The then Ministry of Education Policy. )
(b) Students from the peripheral feeder schools were accepted on a selective basis.
(c) Students who passed the Common Entrance Examination
(d) Students who passed the Grade Nine Achievement Test
(e) Students who passed the Special Entrance Examination administered by the school. The number of students who were admitted through the Special Entrance Examination was dependent on the available places after students of Frankfield and Kilsyth, and Common Entrance awardees were placed.
Since September 1999, the method of entry to the school changed with the introduction of the GSAT Examination.
Students are provided with many avenues to interact with their peers, as well as with their teachers through the following; General, Grade and House Devotions, House Meetings and a variety of House Competitions, Clubs and Societies.
The name of the school was changed from Frankfield Comprehensive High School to Edwin Allen Comprehensive High School in February 1984. In May 2000, the Ministry of Education and Culture declared that all Comprehensive Schools should be called High Schools.
Enrolment And Staff:
Over the years Edwin Allen High School has admitted a large number of students who did not get a place in the traditional High Schools. Most of those graduates have been doing very well in different professions and vocational areas in Jamaica and abroad.
In 1964 there were 356 students and 30 teachers. As of 2003 enrollment was 2,356 students, with a teaching staff of 109.
From the First Batch of students, the following are now serving on the Teaching Staff, Mrs. E. Lambert Mr. E. McKaine, Miss R. Meikle, Miss E. Wright.
December 1985 Mr. F. C. Latty, the first Principal, retired after serving the school for 22 years. Mr. E. L. Ricketts, who earlier served the school for 8 years, succeeded him. Regrettably Mr. Latty passed away in November 1992. His dear wife Frances, continued to serve the school on a Part-Time basis, until 1997 most teachers in those early days were required to teach several subjects although they specialized in a particular subject.
The outstanding success of the Edwin Allen High School is a direct result of the hard work of students who showed appreciation for the opportunity of a ‘Comprehensive’ education , and a cadre of dedicated caring teachers. Many of these teachers have served the institution for over twenty years.
Edwin Allen’s motto, Transeamus in Exemplum, means “Let us be an outstanding example”. Indeed, the school has been an example of excellence.
The institution has a rich track and field history and has also excelled in academics, producing many accomplished Jamaicans.