[Edmonton County School Old Scholars' Association]

The Lower School ('Bury Campus')

Author: Graham Johnson.

The school has been operating from two sites since it went comprehensive in 1967. From 1967 to 2010 the Lower School on Little Bury Street occupied the former Rowantree Secondary Modern site opened in 1960 and accommodated years 7 to 9 (1st Years to 3rd Years in old money). With the start of the new school year in September 2010 the Lower School became the Bury Campus and now accommodates pupils from all school years.

I attended the school from 1974 to 1977 and paid the very occasional visit over the next four years. For the purposes of this page references to the school as it 'was' will mean as it was during that time and 'new' might mean anything in the last twenty years or so. Most of the text will be written in the past tense to acknowledge that the status quo is likely to be very different. Hopefully someone will contribute updates. I was also in the last year where there was a gender divide when it came to woodwork, metalwork, cookery and needlework which is why I don't have much recall of certain parts of the building. The gender divide also covered entrances, stairways, cloakrooms, playgrounds, and PE and games lessons.

The school (see this aerial view) looks pretty much as is always did when viewed from the front. Round the back it will look a little different as there are two substantial new buildings grafted on to the back, presumably to replace the prefabricated classrooms that lined the south of the site in the 1970s and 1980s (known as the "huts") and to give more capacity. One is a two storey building at the north end of the site next to the woodwork workshops (as were). This houses rooms for Mathematics and Music and also the Learning Support Unit. The other is a three storey building slap bang in the middle of the back and this houses rooms for Drama and English. The school has been criticised in recent years for the poor sports facilities and in late 2004 plans were finalised for a new sports hall on the site to rectify this. This was scheduled to open in January 2006 and is available for use by the community outside school hours.

The main body of the school was a three storey building. There are stairways at the south end (once the "girls' stairs") and one about half way along (the "boys' stairs"). The ground floor was lined with standard sized classrooms on both sides of a central corridor between the stairways with the first room on the left (walking north) being the "detention room". At the north end there was the metalwork shop on the east (playground) side. I am a little hazy about the west side but I remember that Richmond boys house meetings were in a larger room there so it was possibly a needlework room. I've mislaid the boys' cloakroom but I think that it may well have been along there too (I can't remember where the girls' one was at all).

The corridor continued out of the main building to connect to a single storey north wing which housed two woodwork shops.

My recall of the second floor isn't too good. There will definitely have been a large room for cookery here, possibly two, and perhaps a needlework room, and there were definitely smaller classrooms too. There was definitely an art room on the east side north of the stairs and it seems likely there was another one on the west side.

The third floor was more interesting because as far as pupils were concerned it was split in two. Going up the south staircase there was one small classroom on the west side, typically used for Geography teaching, and on the right size a larger one which was the main Geography room. The west side of the building continued with the Physics lab. The rest of the rooms were accessed via the north staircase. On the west side the Biology lab continued on from the Physics lab (there was actually a lab technicians area between them) and then there was the Chemistry lab. On the east side the Library continued on from the Geography room to the staircase and then there were about three normal sized classrooms. The Library now seems to be in one of the ground floor classrooms which makes it about half its former size.

I seem to remember that the Geography room had benches and stools, and perhaps even gas taps, suggesting it was previously used as a Science lab.

The Lower School now has five Science Laboratories and a sketch map of the school buildings invites me to speculate that the additional two have been converted from what were the Library and the smaller classrooms in my time.

The main building was joined to a two storey south wing which formed a T-shape. On the ground floor were the school offices and then the staff and visitors entrance lobby. Above them on the second floor was the staff room. The lobby led into the school hall. A corridor led off the south side of the hall past the kitchens to the dining hall. North of the hall were the changing rooms and then at the east end was the gymnasium.

On the extreme south of the site were the "huts". This was a line of about six prefabricated classrooms in two blocks which included the drama and music rooms, with the "farm" alongside. A long running saga was the "Covered Way Appeal" which went on for years to raise money to provide covered access to the huts. The covered way did appear eventually. The huts were demolished many years ago.

I can remember the chickens and I seem to remember there being at least one pig but apart from there being a club that looked after the animals the farm didn't seem to play any other part in school life. I also had three years of Maths lessons in the furthest hut and I can't recall the lack of covered access being something that troubled the pupils too greatly.  The occasional heavy rain at the start and end of lessons was a nuisance it is true but it was generally thought that a quick, simple, cheap and effective fix would just be to use corrugated plastic sheets instead of subjecting us to three years of an obsession with the covered way. I did encounter the covered way about three years later and was somewhat surprised to see it just looked like the cheap fix that had been imagined by the pupils years before. It just didn't look like something that needed well over three years of fund raising to purchase.

[ECSOSA: Quis separabit - Who shall separate us?]
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