History of the foundation 1

A History of the Foundation


A huge debt of gratitude is owed to one man: the Founder of Reed’s School, Reverend Dr Andrew Reed, a visionary and social reformer, ahead of his time. 

In the early 1800s, as a young Minister based in Stepney, Reed found himself holding the hand of a dying parishioner. The man’s wife had passed away and his final wish was that his two young daughters would be cared for. Reed’s own mother had been left a penniless orphan and, recalling this, he agreed to help. 

The granting of this simple wish would lead the way to a life dedicated to philanthropy, changing the futures of thousands of children over the next 200 years.  In his search to find suitable care for the girls, Reed visited many orphanages and was appalled at the circumstances he found. He believed that a better solution must exist and, with the help of a small but committed group of supporters, who all shared his vision that the poor should not surrender their dignity in the face of poverty, resolved to make it reality.

The outcome was the founding in 1813 of a charitable foundation: the London Orphan Asylum in Clapton, East London. The word ‘asylum’ was carefully chosen to signify a place of shelter, safety and education for vulnerable children. Indeed, so driven was Reed by the need for social reform, he founded several other charitable institutions including the Royal Hospital for Incurables in Putney (now the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability), the Reedham Orphanage and the Infant Orphan Asylum in Wanstead.


With a move to Watford in 1871, the London Orphan Asylum charitable foundation was renamed the London Orphan School (LOS), which later became Reed’s School in the early 1940s. This heritage attests to the fact that we are not a school with a Foundation but, importantly, a Foundation with a school.

Funding this charitable foundation was a constant challenge, but Reed refused to be daunted. His resolve saw him appeal to wealthy members of the City, the gentry and the Royal Family. He knew that their patronage would bring prestige to the charity and also instil confidence in its other benefactors. This support remains today.

During World War Two, the boys were evacuated to Totnes in Devon and the girls to Towcester in Northamptonshire. In 1946, the girls moved to Dogmersfield Park in Hampshire and the boys took up residency at our present site in Cobham.

From 1813 to the late 1950s, every pupil who attended the School had lost the support of one or both parents and so was fully funded by the Foundation, receiving the education and care to transform their futures. Then, due to financial difficulties, it became necessary to take on fee-paying pupils as well, creating the thriving and successful School we are today. 

The Foundation remains central to our purpose: the challenge is to ensure we can continue to offer no less than 10% of our pupils, who come from vulnerable social backgrounds, the opportunity to change the course of their lives by raising aspirations, inspiring confidence and providing a well-rounded education.




The Foundation in the News

@ReedsFoundation - 17 Sep
Delighted to announce that Reed's School has been named as a Finalist in the Social Mobility category of the Independent Schools of the Year Awards 2021, in recognition of our work in this area. https://t.co/mjyTLylvaZ
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@ReedsFoundation - 16 Sep
Glad they had a good day, it was a real pleasure to watch their creativity in action. Lots of smiley faces which we love to see at school!
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@ReedsFoundation - 15 Sep
Today we welcomed children from to to participate in one of our most popular outreach activities - Launch Car Challenge. Fantastic to see so much creativity and enthusiasm! https://t.co/IBbn8lRN8o
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@ReedsFoundation - 13 Sep
Today children from were welcomed to for the return of the fantastic outreach programme. The children play racket sports, receive an hour of STEM-based education and receive a delicious meal. https://t.co/SUJpGMiqCx
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@ReedsFoundation Retweeted Old Reedonians - 12 Sep
How wonderful to hear Wonder Woman acknowledge our own scholar Tim Henman, and be interviewed by him after her heart-stopping win tonight. Huge congratulations Emma - truly awesome, powerful & composed 👏👏👏 https://t.co/Jhi7u7kwWr
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@ReedsFoundation - 10 Sep
Do you know a Year 6 boy who has lost the support of one or both parents who would benefit from a transformational bursary to attend ? Please visit our website for contact details. https://t.co/pUAYmtAFBL https://t.co/eA0LfvTiPI
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@ReedsFoundation - 8 Sep
We are extremely lucky to have this wonderful view from the Foundation Office . A busy day talking to parents and guardians about how their children are settling in, many of whom are boarding for the first time. https://t.co/pNEZRvXaqA
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@ReedsFoundation - 7 Sep
One week to go until our most popular outreach activity starts - Launch Car Challenge. We can't wait to welcome the children back to For more information on this activity please visit: https://t.co/jYK6kOLQMf https://t.co/ZmPXsJvyJa
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@ReedsFoundation - 6 Sep
So lovely to hear the sound of happy, excited children! Today marked the start of a new chapter and a life-changing opportunity for many of the children who we support through the Foundation. We look forward to sharing their journey. https://t.co/NxbtYOPZn9
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@ReedsFoundation - 6 Sep
One of our new Foundationers received tutoring through this scheme- a fantastic partnership!
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@ReedsFoundation Retweeted Reed's School Cobham - 3 Sep
Everyone at Reed's is really looking forward to welcoming all our new pupils tomorrow for day 2021! The girls entering 6th Form had a preview day last week with fun 'getting to know you' activities plus sports, music, art and drama. https://t.co/r6CuKKsvXm
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@ReedsFoundation - 2 Sep
We support a number of students who have either lost a parent or will suffer the loss of their parent in the next few years. Today, we welcomed Stacey Hart from who did a very thought-provoking presentation on how to support grieving children. https://t.co/x1T0YOW5AB
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@ReedsFoundation - 1 Sep
Last night we were able to bring together past Foundationers, charity donors and key supporters to celebrate the success of this year's Annual Foundation Appeal. We are indebted to Derek Riches, this year's Annual Foundation President for raising an incredible amount. https://t.co/rixAhj11hb
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@ReedsFoundation - 27 Aug
Our Foundation has been transforming children's lives for over 200 years. Since it was founded over 13,000 children have had the opportunity to benefit from a life-changing education . Proud to be making a difference! https://t.co/2icH88Ey0s
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@ReedsFoundation - 26 Aug
We are excited that our very popular Launch Car Challenge outreach activity restarts this September! It's all booked up for this academic year but to find out more about our full programme of events please visit https://t.co/NwIewTwcgJ https://t.co/Vr3xn19LJ7
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@ReedsFoundation - 20 Aug
Busy week talking to new and existing Foundation families. We obviously talked about the fantastic exam results but also lovely to hear about the impact we are having overall on their children's lives. https://t.co/upod5c4WIu
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@ReedsFoundation - 19 Aug
Do you know a boy starting Year 6 in September who has lost the support of one or both parents? Applications for Year 7 entry to for September 2022 are still open! For information on our bursary criteria please visit our dedicated website. https://t.co/b9kMCuOtoa
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@ReedsFoundation - 19 Aug
Great news for females aged 16-18 who are interested in a career in engineering. https://t.co/DdaCiLXZzS
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@ReedsFoundation Retweeted Reed's School Cobham - 11 Aug
Huge congratulations to our students on achieving an outstanding set of this year! They’ve had to endure unimaginable impact on their lives during the last 18 months but have remained hard working and resilient. Read more: https://t.co/tKo78lAah9 https://t.co/y4iswVEsLI
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@ReedsFoundation - 30 Jul
Do you know a girl starting Year 11 in September who has lost the support of one or both parents? Applications for Sixth Form entry to for September 2022 close on 8th October. For information on our bursary criteria please visit our dedicated website. https://t.co/IC3yu9cRrj
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