Sanders School in Hornchurch is changing its name back to Sanders Draper School, in memory of the heroic Spitfire pilot Raimund Sanders Draper.

In 2014, what was then Sanders Draper school changed its name to just Sanders School, for reasons “unknown” to current headmaster, Stuart Brooks, who joined in 2018.

A spokesman at the school previously said the name change was about the school starting “afresh”.

The change provoked fury among parents and students who called it “disgusting, “disrespectful” and a “very sad day for Hornchurch and the RAF,” as reported in the Recorder at the time.

In 1943, the American RAF pilot Raimund Sanders Draper ran into engine trouble shortly after taking off.

%image(15334789, type="article-full", alt="In 2014, the school changed its name to drop the Sanders Draper surname to "start afresh." Picture: Archant")

Realising he could hit the school, which was then known as Suttons Senior School, he redirected the nose of the Spitfire down into the playing field of the school, saving the lives of the pupils. He was killed.

The school was renamed to honour Sanders Draper in 1973 on the 30th anniversary of his death.

Mr Brooks said this week: “We should not only be immensely proud of our history, but look to build our school ethos around this.

“As a result, we are looking to change the name of the school back to its previous and correct name of Sanders Draper.”

%image(15334790, type="article-full", alt="Flying officer Raimund Sanders Draper. Picture: Archant.")

The school is also introducing a house system, where each student will belong to one of five houses named after Havering Second World War heroes. It will be asking the community to have a say on which war heroes give their names to the houses.

The rebrand was meant to be introduced at the start of the next academic year in September. The school had planned to celebrate the event with Hornchurch Aerodrome Historical Trust. Although no public gatherings will take place until safe, the house system is still on track for the new Year 7s, with the name change postponed until 2021.