A Brief History

Edwin Allen High School, formerly Frankfield High School (Comprehensive), the first of its kind in Jamaica, is situated in the rural town of Frankfield, 23 miles north of May Pen, Clarendon.  The school was built on a former citrus farm owned by the Grants’ family. Both Frankfield High School (Comprehensive) and Trench Town Comprehensive High School were donated to the government of Jamaica by the Canadian Government.

Although there was opposition by some residents to a new school replacing an economically viable citrus farm, Frankfield High School (Comprehensive) opened its doors to three hundred fifty-six (356) Students and a staff of thirty (30) teachers led by the first Principal, Mr. F.C Latty; on January 27, 1964.  This occurred in one block of the building (the workshop block).

The first academic term, though very exciting, was faced with several challenges.  Three or four classes were held in the same open classroom, separated by chalkboards, with limited space.  The noise of workmen and machinery often competed with the teaching and learning process.  Another major problem was the limited teaching staff. Of the number of teachers appointed to assume duty, some failed to show up in the first term.  This necessitated the recruitment of expatriate teachers from the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and the United States.

The concept of ‘The Comprehensive School’ in Jamaica evolved because of the search to promote a more socially equitable society through the education system.  The Comprehensive school philosophy was borrowed partly from the British education system and partly from a similar model in the American education system.  In Jamaica, the introduction of comprehensive schools came as the third important step after two other innovations had been attempted.  These included the Senior Cambridge experiment in 1953 and the Common Entrance and Free Place Award system in 1957.  The Comprehensive High School model incorporated three schools: Grammar, Technical, and Vocational, catering to all educational levels and abilities.  In contrast, the traditional Secondary High School model- is primarily grammar-based, catering to a single academic level.

In the early sixties, the proposed advantages of Comprehensive schools were summarized as follows:

  1. Promotion of social equity for students from various socio-economic backgrounds.
  2. Removal of the financial barriers that prevented gifted students who were financially challenged an opportunity for Secondary education
  3. Providing ‘late bloomers’ and those who did not pass the Common Entrance Examination an opportunity for Secondary education.
  4. Removal of the existing barriers that the Common Entrance Examination created for students between the ages of ten and twelve years.
  5. Provision of a wide variety of courses- academic and vocational to match differing students’ abilities

It was also proposed that in order for the school to achieve its desired impact on the community, a variety of educational, cultural, and social programs should be designed and implemented.  Subsequently, the adult population of the Frankfield Community was targeted. There were literacy and evening classes for those who were not eligible for day classes.  In addition, Saturday Vocational classes were organized to teach practical skills to young adults.

In keeping with the thrust of a ‘total education’ concept, a Social Welfare Officer, Ms. Myrtle Hamilton, was employed and based at the school. She was the liaison between the feeder school communities and the new Comprehensive School.

The ‘catchment area’ of Frankfield High School in 1964 included twenty-eight (28) feeder schools.  Since it was not feasible to accept all twelve (12) year-olds from these feeder schools, the following policy was adopted for admittance:

  • All twelve (12) year-old students from the two (2) immediate feeder schools, Frankfield and Kilsyth Primary, were automatically admitted.
  • Students from the peripheral feeder schools were admitted on a selective basis, including those who were successful in passing the Common Entrance Examination and the Grade Nine Achievement Test.
  • A limited number of students were admitted based on their success in the Special Entrance Examination administered by the school
  • Since September 1999, the school’s entry method changed with the introduction of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).  2018-2019, the Examination was again changed to the Primary Exit Profile (PEP). The Ministry of Education mandated these changes.

Starting in 1964, on entry to Frankfield Comprehensive School, students were placed in classes based on their age and academic abilities. Between Forms one to three (1-3), average age twelve to fifteen (12-15) students pursued a common curriculum in grammar, technical and vocational subjects.  Teachers carefully evaluated performance over the three years in order to determine the career paths for which students were best suited.  At the beginning of grade ten (10) -the fourth form; those students who were academically inclined were prepared for external exams: G.C.E. O levels, CXC, JSC, and ULCI.  On the other hand, less academically inclined students were prepared for an internal school leaving certificate in Vocational courses.

Frankfield High School (Comprehensive) has undergone two (2) name changes over its sixty (60) year existence, Edwin Allen Comprehensive High School in 1984.  In 2000, based on a mandate from the Ministry of Education and Culture to have all Comprehensive Schools changed to High Schools, Edwin Allen Comprehensive High School was renamed Edwin Allen High School.

Since 1964, there have been several positive changes at Edwin Allen High.  The highlights of some of these changes include:

  • Increase in the student population from three hundred fifty (350) to approximately two thousand, one hundred (2100).
  • Increase the academic staff from thirty to one hundred fifteen (115) and from one Vice Principal to three Vice Principals.
  • A single block of classrooms increased to a campus of ten (10) blocks.
  • Introduced and implemented several new academic CSEC and CAPE subjects.
  • Modernization of departmental operations with innovations such as white and smart boards and the addition of computer labs.
  • The administrative block was solarized.
  • There is a state-of-the-art gymnasium on the lower level of the F.C. Latty auditorium.

The athletic department has excelled in its performances locally, nationally, and internationally; the teams winning:

  • Twenty-two (22) titles at the Penn Relays with record-breaking performances in some events.
  • Ten (10) titles in girls’ track and field events at Central Champs.
  • Nine (9) ISSA/ Grace Kennedy boys and girls Championship starting in 2012.
  • In the 1990s and early 2000s, the school dominated the islands’ central region in basketball and netball.
  • In 2021, the boys’ soccer team won the national Ben Francis knock-out cup.

Beyond academics and sports, the school has produced several outstanding leaders in various professions nationally and internationally.

Edwin Allen High School boasts vibrant alumni chapters nationally and internationally.  They have significantly contributed financially and morally to the growth of the school.