History of The Rackham Church of England (VC) Primary School

The Rackham Church of England Primary School, named after its founder, The Rev. Hanworth Edward Rackham, was started in 1844. A new school was built on the site in 1851 with considerable modernisation and development having taken place since.   Rev. Hanworth Rackham ran a day and Sunday school which accommodated between 70 and 100 pupils.  Children paid a penny a week to attend. Rev. Rackham was the vicar of Witchford, until he died in 1884. 

As a Church school, we have a distinctive character where Christian values are promoted in all aspects of school life. We encourage all members of the school community to promote a Christian ethos where care and respect is shown to everyone. 

The Rackham is a short walk from the parish church of St Andrew. Recognising its historic Christian foundation, The Rackham retains and develops its strong Christian ethos and religious character in accordance with the principles of the Church of England through a strong partnership with St Andrew's Church and the Diocese of Ely.



The Rackham is situated two and a half miles to the west of the cathedral city of Ely and about sixteen miles north of the centre of Cambridge. The village of Witchford is linear, being nearly two miles long from end to end. The village boasts a church, a public house, recreation grounds and a Village College. The population of Witchford is in the region of 1900. The school's catchment area includes the nearby villages of Coveney, Wentworth, Wardy Hill and Way Head. School transport is available for these children living in catchment outside of Witchford to ensure they can travel to and from school safely each day, accompanied only by other pupils from our school and an adult supervisor.

There are twelve classes in The Rackham with two smaller Foundation Stage classes, four classes within Key Stage One and vertically grouped classes within Years 3/4 and Years 5/6, catering for a roll of over 300 children. The Rackham features a large hall which is fully equipped with P.E. apparatus; a school kitchen where meals are prepared and cooked daily; a reference library and heated outdoor swimming pool. In addition we have a large playing field and wildlife area beautifully set in a Fenland, rural environment alongside two tarmac playground areas. Witchford also has an active pre-school, which is located adjacent to the school site.

The school has a hard working parent led Friends of Witchford Rackham (FWR) group which raises considerable sums of money each year. School functions such as sports days, open evenings, discos and bingo are very well supported by our parents.

Often parents and carers can be seen during the course of the day helping teachers at school both in and out of the classroom, with such activities as reading with children.

Our children are allocated into three Houses. House names are linked to the history of The Rackham. Rev. Hanworth E. Rackham founded the school; land for the school site was donated by Christopher Pemberton and the first headteacher at The Rackham was Mr Peyton.

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