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Mar 24 2011

Welldon Park School 1910-1985 Celebration (Part XIV)

Part fourteen and the final instalment in our ongoing series on Welldon Park School…

FIRST AND MIDDLE SCHOOLS

During 1971 Harrow decided to adopt First and Middle Schools. The new classroom block was adapted to cater for Science, Home Economics and Art. Meetings were held involving parents, teachers, councillors, members of the Education Committee and the Director of Education to discuss the new plans. Special courses were arranged to prepare everyone for the change.

But it was a new Head, Mr John Curtis, appointed in April 1973, who was to lead Welldon Park into this new style of Primary Education. The curriculum was extended to include French and Home Economics and new staff were appointed who could specialise or advise in each of the subjects. It was important to ensure that each Middle School could offer the complete range of subjects to the twelve year olds which had formerly been offered by the Secondary Schools. There remained only one difficulty at Welldon Park. The site was vastly overcrowded. It was therefore proposed that the School should be split and that a new School should be built for the younger children. Mrs Pettifer takes up the story.

July 1975 a class of seven to eight year olds were taken on a field trip to a building site. There they saw the concrete foundations, mud and bricks which were the start of Welldon Park First School.

By April 1976 the new School was built and was virtually ready for the staff and children to move into with their new Headmistress, Mrs Ann Harris. Although there was a farewell assembly there was little time for emotional feelings as everyone was far too busy – packing for seven classes, lock, stock and last crayon! There were no professional packers, only the teachers. It’s a wonder that no children were mislaid, perhaps at the bottom of a tea-chest.

On arrival at the new School there was no time to notice the bright airy rooms. The new furniture was in a pile in the hall and this had to be moved. developing in the Staff muscles they never knew they had. Somehow the unpacking was done and everything ready for the register as usual.

Mrs Pettifer recalls the tremendous team spirit of the Staff during that first year as they developed new styles of teaching in shared classrooms, coped with painters still finishing off the reception area and wallowed in the mud that still surrounded the site. Even now she describes as ‘fun’ the shared fight to make the School the best!

Mrs Harris retired in 1981 to be succeeded by the [then] present Head, Mrs Marie Cooke.

-oOo-

This concludes the Welldon Park School special feature – as you may know, Welldon Park Junior School is celebrating 100 years this year, and looking forward to the next 100.

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