Tyssen Primary’s ‘energy-boosting’ name change to Oldhill School and Children Centre


Tyssen Primary School in Hackney is changing its name, which is linked to a historical slave owner, in order to create a ‘stepping board for change’. 

Work is now underway to rebrand the school, renaming it Oldhill School and Children Centre and introducing a new logo, designed by its year 6 pupils and Hackney Council’s Design team. 

In addition to a £15,000 grant to fund updates of the new name including notices, signs and new uniforms, Hackney Council led interactive design workshops with the children to help land a new logo. After brainstorming their ideas, designer Nancy Sheridan presented the final motif and revealed how their ideas had transformed into their new look, which will take effect in September. 

The school was named after Francis Tyssen - a name identified as contentious by the Council’s Review, Rename Reclaim, which reviews Hackney’s public spaces and buildings that are named after former slave and plantation owners. 

Once Hackney’s Director of Education Annie Gammon made headteacher Jackie Benjamin aware, the school launched its own consultation with parents and children. With a community of over 70 percent ethnic minority pupils and 60 percent ethnic minority staff, the overwhelming majority was in favour of removing the old name.

The children were the first to see their new logo in a presentation attended by Cllr Carole Williams - Cabinet Member with responsibility for Equalities, and Cllr Anntoinette Bramble - Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Education, Young people and Children's Social Care. 

Headteacher Jackie Benjamin
 “It’s boosted the energies of everybody to get this done and really make it like a stepping board for change. And when I say that, I'm talking about changing the whole ethos of the school and making it even more community-driven.”
Headteacher Jackie Benjamin
Cllr Carole Williams and Cllr Anntoinette Bramble
“This is a fine example of how the work we do at the Council - from Review, Rename, Reclaim, to our Black history curriculum - can inspire Hackney’s organisations to instigate meaningful change. Seeing how engaged the children were in learning about their history while developing new skills to help tell their stories was incredibly rewarding. Seeing Tyssen School become Oldhill School and Children Centre tells us in no uncertain terms that we’re on the right track to educating and empowering our teachers and young people.”
Cllr Carole Williams and Cllr Anntoinette Bramble

Excited by the new logo, and with new aspirations to be designers and architects, 10 year-old Kyron Marragh said: 

“I was shocked because it was so good! It was so clean and fresh.”Jahniya Shaw, 10, believed it was important to change the name because “nobody wants to repeat history”. 

Oldhill School and Children Centre is now fundraising for additional money to support parents to cover costs of new uniforms ready for the change in September 2021. Donate now.


Notes for editors 

  • The new logo will be shown to parents and teachers in April and will be used in time for the new school year in September 2021. 
  • For more information about Review, Rename, Reclaim and the work being done to ensure Hackney’s public spaces reflect the diversity of the people who live here, visit: hackney.gov.uk/naming-review