There is mention in ecclesiastical records of an Englefield Parish School existing between 1540 and 1835 and in 1721 Michael Kirby, an ordained Minister, is listed as schoolmaster. Kirby was ordained on 13 October 1706 and became Rector of Tidmarsh on 2 May 1707. He seems to have continued in this living until his death on 9 June 1730 despite also being at various times Curate and Rector of Sulham and Curate of Englefield as well as the schoolmaster.
Before the opening of the new school building in 1863, the school was at what is now No 11/12 the Street, also known as the “Mission Cottage” and which may have been the house of Thomas Horne in 1762. The schoolroom was a single storey part towards the road and the schoolhouse was the two-storey part across the rear of this. After the new school opened the old schoolroom had a second storey added and became a separate house. This addition can clearly be seen by the change in brickwork half way up the gable end. Initially this was numbered 11a because there was already a pair of houses numbered 12 and 13 a little further down the street opposite the entrance to the Timber Yard. This other pair of houses was demolished in the 1890s and number 11a was renumbered 12; there is now no 13, the next house along retaining its original number of 14.
The 1844 estate tithe map confirms the location of the school as described above but curiously the 1851 census appears to locate the school on the road to Theale, now the drive to Englefield House, and the Mission Cottage is described as unoccupied. Elizabeth Horne, living at number 13 in the Street (a house opposite the Yard entrance and now demolished) is described as "Infant School Mistress" and Miss Winchcomb suggests that the infant school was located at this house.
By at least 1854 the school was a National School, though at that time it appears not to have been sited in the old Mission Cottage but elsewhere on the estate. National Schools operated under the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church (abbreviated to theNational Society) set up in 1811 by the Church of England and in 1833 the government began giving grants for new school buildings to the National Society and and the nonconformist British and Foreign School Society. It is possible, therefore, that a new National School was built using the grant but that when Richard Fellowes Benyon inherited the estate in 1854 he moved the school back to the old building as part of a plan to realign the road to Theale and create a longer drive to Englefield House. In any event he then built another new school in 1863.