Dame Ellen Pinsent Primary School

"We try again"

Project run by CASBA

General information


Dame Ellen Pinsent is a primary school on Ardencote Road in Billesley


The Head Teacher is Denise Fountain


It has 151 pupils and around 50 staff.


It has pupils with a range of special educational needs, including autistic spectrum condition, speech and language difficulties and moderate to severe Learning Disabilities.


The school has pupils from ages 5-11


It is the oldest of the schools we’re working with.

Early days

It opened in 1901 in Little Green Lane in Small Heath.
It was called Little Green Lane Mentally Defective School.
That name changed to Little Green Educationally Subnormal School.

There were 9 pupils when it opened, and the Head Teacher was Miss Florence Clay.


Ellen Pinsent

was the Chair of the special schools
sub-committee at Birmingham City Council from 1900-1913.

She came to the school very often during that time.
We can see records of what she did from the logbook.


Moving to Billesley

The school has changed a lot since the early days.

The name changed to The Dame Ellen Pinsent School in 1961. Dame Ellen’s daughter, Hester Adrian, attended the opening of the new school, along with the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and other important people.

It moved to Billesley, where it is now.

The school buildings there have changed a lot since it opened.


There were two floods on the site.

One was in the summer in 1996, but the second one meant that pupils had to study in other schools until the water damage was cleared up.

Boys and girls

Until 1992 it had pupils from age 5 to 19.
Girls went to a different school aged 11 – Collingwood school in West Heath.
When Selly Oak school opened, both girls and boys went there from 11-19.


A new build extension was opened on Monday 6th June 2016.
It is named “The Ellen Building“.
It has a computing room and cooking room. The classrooms are large and airy.

Dame Ellen’s legacy

Last year, pupils went to the Council House to the opening of the Dame Ellen Pinsent room.
They met Ellen’s great-grandson Randal Keynes.

Their vision statement says:

“Where children develop
independence and confidence; and learn through
curiosity, play and enquiring”.”

Dame Ellen Pinsent