Ethel Joy Wragg was the founder of Sherrardswood School.
From her earliest childhood days she was both a practical, down to earth person and a visionary. Miss Wragg spent a lot of time visiting a number of “new era” schools which were generally referred to as progressive schools. Following a holiday course in Pottery in January 1928 at one of these progressive schools, she found herself working as a part time teacher there looking after a group of 11 year old students. The owners of the school, Miss Backett, Miss Grimshaw and Miss Wragg, all went on a camping holiday and it was there that Miss Wragg felt a calling for starting a new school in a new place.
Events moved with amazing speed. Many hours were spent on deciding how and where she would start her new school. They chose Welwyn Garden City for the place. It was a new town, still at the beginning of its development. She obtained the names and addresses of a number of parents of young children and drafted a letter stating her intention to start an independent, co-educational school in Welwyn Garden City and inviting these parents to meet at the Friends’ Meeting House.
About 40 people attended. They chose a chairman who guided question and answer periods and several parents promised they would send their children to the school as soon as it was ready. She was unable to give a definite date, but promised them it would be sometime in September..
On September 26th at 13 Elmwood in Welwyn Garden City, two boarding pupils arrived, the third arrived on 27th and on Friday 28th she was ready to start the school with 3 pupils - the school was called The High School. There was as yet no secondary school in Welwyn Garden City, so they hoped the name they had chosen would indicate the intention to develop into a senior High School with a preparatory section.
After a month of being in Elmwood, she was told by a planning committee that a school could not continue in a house any longer and that they must find a proper school building. Miss Wragg consulted an architect who was enthusiastic about the school. The site chosen was Digswell Road and Sherrards Road.
On April 4th 1929 the contract for the new building was ready for signature; within a week work was beginning on the new site. On September 26th 1929, about 60 children took their place at the new school.
The anniversary of the founding of the school is celebrated at the Birthday Asssembly on 28th September each year. 2018 will mark the 90th Birthday of the school.