[Edmonton County School Old Scholars' Association]

History of the school

Author: Graham Johnson, with apologies for not properly crediting any contributors.

I've cobbled together this basic history from various sources including a chronology assembled by Frank Wallder a few years back. It will hopefully be developed and improved over time. Corrections and suggested additions are welcomed.

Edmonton Central School was founded by Edmonton's education committee in January 1919. The boys' department under Mr Frank Belton was housed in Croyland Road School with the girls' department under Miss B.W. Seward in Brettenham Road School. There were two classes of 40 pupils on each site giving a total roll of 160. There were four other staff — Dr "Solly" Galin, Mr Richman, Miss Mawer and Miss E. Gatehouse. Staff taught at both sites, swapping over in the afternoons, and some pupils also moved between sites for certain lessons. Mr A. J. Quartermaine ("Q"), joined the staff in April 1920.

The girls' department moved to Raynham Road School in 1920 with the boys' department taking over more of the Croyland Road premises.

An article many years later by Mr Richman reports that "eight pupils were added to each section each year" to grow the school suggesting a process that happened at least twice. It isn't clear what a "section" is but it sounds like the classes actually covered all the year groups. This doesn't really seem to tie in with the chronology which shows an intake of 160 in 1920 to give a total of 320 as if that intake was repeated the next year the school would have been bigger than it actually was several years later. As the school opened at the beginning of 1919 should there have been an intake for the 1919–1920 academic year or did it remain the same size? (This assumes 1920 means 1920–1921 and that academic years were the same back then.) Is the chronology correct here or should it really show the roll growing by something like 40 or 80 pupils a year?

In 1922 the school was taken under the control of Middlesex County Council and became Edmonton County Secondary School.

The school united at another temporary home at the Edmonton Technical Institute on Church Street in 1927, this being on the site of the former 'Latymer' school (the site is now John Adams Court). There were 400 pupils on the roll at this time.

Mr James North became headmaster in 1929. There were eight staff — Dr Galin, Mr Richman, Mr Morris, Mr Quartermaine, Miss E.W. Fothergill, Miss Rudwick, Miss Capewell and Miss Gatehouse (who had just been appointed Senior Mistress).

The figures of eight staff and four hundred pupils were lifted from the chronology. Miss Fothergill talks of her "Senior" colleagues in an article written many years later and I am wondering if there were actually more than the eight staff as it doesn't sound quite enough. Miss Fothergill also says there wasn't a Sixth Form when she joined in 1929 but the first one is recorded in 1923 (albeit just 2 pupils).

In 1931 the school moved to new premises on the Great Cambridge Road designed by W.T. Curtis. The new school could accommodate 600 pupils.

Staff at the school in the 1930s included Mr Sam Elengorn and Miss Doris Staples, who both taught French, and Mr Jack Long who took Geography. 

The school was sub-divided into the Juniors (1st and 2nd Years), the Middle School (3rd and 4th Years) and the Seniors (5th Years and the 6th Form) for some activities e.g. sports day and school trips.

The lists of form prize winners showed two forms in each year in 1935–1936 but three forms in each year in 1936–1937.

The school closed for the most of the first year of the war (the war years are discussed on a separate page) and half the school relocated to Braintree. After the school reopened a second evacuation was planned, this time to Wales, but in the event only a small group went and the school remained open.

Mr H. B. Champion became head in 1943.  Mr Morris, formerly Senior Master, had retired before the war but was brought back to lead the school in Wales. "Q" had become Senior Master in 1939. Mr Richman had retired in 1940.

At some stage the school became Edmonton County Grammar School. This seems likely to have followed the introduction of the tripartite system in the 1944 Education Act which introduced Grammar, Secondary Technical and Secondary Modern as formal titles. 

It seems quite likely that the school might have been called a "grammar school" in informal usage already. Whether the change of name also indicated a change in curriculum and the nature of the school is another point needing clarification.

Mr R.L. Hudson became head in 1954.

Solly Galin left the school in the Summer of 1956 having been with the school since the beginning. "Q", who joined in the second year of the school's existence, retired from full time teaching in December (continuing part-time until July 1965) and at the end of the year Miss Fothergill also left. They were replaced as Senior Master and Mistress by Sam Elengorn and Doris Staples. Jack Long went on to become Senior Master himself until he retired in the mid-1970s. Mr Kevill was now on the staff and he went on to hold that position in the second half of the 1970s and on into the next decade. 

The school buildings were substantially altered in 1962 and the school is recorded as having four form entry in this year so perhaps the two events are related. The alterations could be better described as major extensions as they included the workshops, gymnasium and changing rooms at the south end of the site and the dining and science block at the north end of the school along with the bridge to the main building. The extensions were were ceremonially opened by Sir John Cockcroft with each pupil being allowed to bring one parent along to the event.

The archives include programmes from the ceremonial opening of the extensions and the listing I've seen dates it as 19th October 1963 rather than 1962 as recalled by a contributor. The contributor also suggested the extensions might actually have been built as early as 1960–1961 which might suggest they had quite a period of use before officially being opened. Comments and clarifications are welcomed.

In 1967 the school merged with Rowantree Secondary Modern (opened in 1960 as a successor to Raglan and Croyland Secondary Modern schools) to form a new two tier comprehensive school simply named Edmonton School. The Rowantree site on Little Bury Street became the Lower School with the grammar school site becoming the Upper School. For a while some pupils moved between the two sites for certain lessons in an echo of the earliest days of the school. There was a combined roll of approximately 1,250 with eight form entry with the new intakes being drawn mostly from Galliard, Raglan, All Saints, and Lower Latymer primary schools. Pupils from those schools were guaranteed places and this was a system that continued well into the 1970s. The Upper School site was extended in 1968 and the Lower School was also extended around this period.

Chris Britton was in the last intake to the grammar school in 1966. His year group were told by the staff that they would do their best to see they continued to receive a grammar school education throughout their school careers. They remained in the 'Upper School' building after the merger and his year group were always the youngest on the site. This would suggest that it must have taken two full school years before there was a true Lower and Upper school. Presumably in the first year either the fourth or fifth year (or half of each) must have come together in the Upper School, and then next year there could have been a fully combined fourth and fifth year. In the third year the last grammar school entry year would have reached the fourth form and will have been augmented with ex-Rowantree pupils, and the Lower School would be fully populated with the first three years of Comprehensive school intake. It may not have actually happened like that but it must have been something along those lines in order to fit all the pupils in.

I would welcome information on the extensions. All I can think of for the Upper School is the Sixth Form 'huts' and presumably it would be be the row of 'huts' for the Lower School.

'Harry' Hudson remained head of the merged school with Mr E.J. McLeay being head of the Lower School. Staff joining the expanded school from Rowantree included Mr Len Sharp (History) and Mrs James (Art) who were the equivalent of Senior Master and Mistress for the Lower School, the popular Mr Alan Gething who taught Maths and was a Head of Year until his retirement in 1991, and Mr Povey, who headed the Science department in the Lower School and was a tremendous authority figure.

The staff did move between schools to take lessons but it did seem to be the case that staff were mostly associated with one or the other and ex-Rowantree staff seemed to dominate the Lower School.

On the death of Mr Hudson in 1974, Miss Staples took over as acting head of the school until Mr John R. Hulley took up his appointment in 1975. Mr Hulley had been a pupil of the school in the post-war years. Under Mr Hulley the Upper School also had its own head and by 1977 this was Mrs Joan Ward.

I don't know if the Upper School had a separate head under Mr Hudson or indeed what the system has been for the last twenty years or so.

The school was still eight form entry in 1974 but there was a nine form entry in 1975 and in 1980–81 the Third Year had ten forms. These may have one-offs as in 1994 the number of pupils of compulsory school age was 1227 which is still about right for eight forms in every year. The number rose the next year but then stayed the same for two years then jumped two years in a row tending to suggest the school was working towards consistent nine form entry but wasn't getting it every year.

My arithmetic was based on the assumption of an average thirty pupils in each form. When I was in the Lower School in the 1970s I was taught in a form of around thirty-five pupils, give or take one or two pupils, but this was the top of eight ability streamed forms and was quite probably balanced out by reduced numbers in other forms to average around thirty. I have no idea if his assumption would have been valid in the mid- to late-1990s.

The school had continued to be known locally by all and sundry as 'Edmonton County' or often just 'County' since 1967 and in 1996 the school was renamed officially to Edmonton County School. Mr Martin Rainsford became head in that year.

Mr Rainsford moved to Salisbury School (the successor to the Houndsfield / Eldon / Mandeville combination) in 2001 and was replaced by Ms Linda Robinson.

The school roll for 2002–03 was 1599 with 1370 of compulsory school age. The number in the Sixth form was double that of 1993–94.

I would estimate that there were c. 100 to 120 pupils in the Sixth form in 1980–81 so the 1993–94 figure was broadly the same. 1600 pupils already makes the school one of the larger Secondary Schools you will come across but from September 2003 the school had to increase the intake by another thirty pupils.

In February 2003 the school was granted the status of 'A Specialist Technology College'.

The end of the 2002-2003 year marked two retirements. Mr Peter Clark joined the school in 1968 as a Geography teacher. Mr Holroyd also left. He was the school's German teacher by 1974 and later retrained into "technology". The end of 2003-2004 brought another retirement, this time of Mr Huw Prosser, Deputy Head leading the Lower School. Mr Prosser joined as a Geography teacher in 1967 and became head of department in 1972. He became a Deputy Head in 1986.

Mr Peter Davies (Davis?) joined the school as a Physics teacher c.1980 (and indeed may even have given m a handful of lessons on the A-Level Physics course) and it seems he also moved on at the end of 2004 having risen to be an Assistant Headteacher. That left Mr Bob Dunlop, who was teaching metalwork by 1974, as the last remaining teacher I knew from my time at the school. When I checked in March 2005 he was the Head of Technology but he is no longer listed in that position so I should imagine he has also now retired. I have had to amend this paragraph in 2011 to say 'I knew' because apparently Ms Hulbert was a girls PE Teacher in 1979 and was still at the school in 2010.

In September 2004 the Lower School had 270 pupils in Year 7 and 300 in Years 8 and 9. The average form size was 27 pupils suggesting ten forms in year 7 and eleven in the two higher years.

During the Summer holidays in 2005 there was a small but significant change to the Upper School building. The gallery of the main hall has been converted to provide a new lighting technical area for music and drama productions and also an additional teaching space required for the large number of pupils moving up from the Lower School.

Linda Robinson left the school at the end of the Autumn Term 2006–2007 and Siobhan Leahy replaced her as headteacher.

In 2009 it was announced that the school is to expand over time from nine to twelve form entry and rather than operating as a Lower School and an Upper School there will instead be two sites operating in parallel and covering all years. There will be significant amounts of building works at both sites.

Siobhan Leary retired at Christmas 2010 and was replaced by Susan Tranter.The two site arrangement was implemented with the start of the 2010–11 school year, with the two sites being called 'Bury Campus' and 'Cambridge Campus'.

It seems to be stretching the definition to breaking point to call a school site a 'campus', but there you go.

January 2014 will mark another significant change in the school when the first 30 pupils are taken in to the Reception year in the new Primary Phase, based on the Bury Campus. It will eventually be two form entry.

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