The History of Stoke Newington School

COPIED FROM The History of Stoke Newington School IN WORD

PLEASE FIND THE1936 VERSION OF THIS MAP and print it below this 1914 one

Church Walkhad run from Newington Green to St Mary.s Church from at least Elizabethan times and probably much longer. Albion Road was built in the 1830s and then Clissold Road was built in the 1860s. A nursery occupied the wedge between thir back Gardens.

A nursery ran between the backs of the houses in Clissold Toad and Albion Road.

 

 

 

The 1936 Ordnance Survey of the same area

 

 

The maps hardly changed in this period. The Swimming Bath was built ETC ETC TEXT DEPENDS ON 1936 map details

 

A Brief History of the Origins of Stoke Newington Secondary School

Stoke Newington Secondary School has a long and complicated history. This is an attempt to explain how the school came into existence and why.

Before the Second World War most pupils went to Elementary Schools, which took boys and girls from the age of five to fourteen. Most pupils left at fourteen to began work or apprenticeships. There was an examination at the age of eleven - the dreaded 11 plus - to decide which pupils would be allowed to go to Grammar Schools and stay until they were sixteen. There they would have a longer time at school, and be taught in smaller classes, by better qualified teachers.

A few would go to Central Schools and stay until they were fifteen. Most of these would take Commercial or Technical subjects. The great majority of pupils would stay in their Elementary Schools and leave school when they were fourteen.

Pupils' fates were decided by this one 11+ exam, on a day when a pupil may have been unwell, or not at his or her best. Each year One Fifth of the entrants passed. At this age girls are always better at exams than the boys, so their marks were adjusted downwards to give equal numbers of boys and girls. It was all a question of getting enough children to fill the seats in the Grammar Schools. The country needed enough literate and numerate people to run the economy. 20 % would be enough. Why go to the expense of educating more? The rest could go into unskilled jobs. That may sound cynical, but it was the economic reality of the way education was funded.

Secondary School Education in Stoke Newington after the Second World War

Many of us protested that the 11+ exam was unfair, and I later proved it to the hilt, as I will show. All we could do immediately after the War, was to show that the exam was unfair. We proved that a pupil's result could vary by as much as 17 marks because of feeling off colour: not bad enough to prevent a pupil from taking the exam, but bad enough to ruin any chances of entering a profession, or even aiming very high in later life by the academic route. At this time two marks could make the difference between passing and failing. We also said that Einstein, who was a late developer, would not have passed the 11+ exam. Be that as it may, the exam was palpably unfair and also inefficient. It also condemned the majority of pupils to regard themselves as failures. This could be was a lasting hurt to thousands of individuals and many elderly people recall it with pain or shame.

A growing body of teachers and others campaigned for a Common School, where all pupils would study to their proper level and be able to move up the scale as they developed, all within the one school. The name was later changed from the Common to the Comprehensive School and slowly they were opened up and down the country. The Inner London Education Authority opened Woodberry Down Comprehensive School in 1955 in Woodberry Grove, on the Northern edge of the West Reservoir. It was the first London Comprehensive School north of the Thames taking Boys and Girls from 11 to 19, in its own purpose-built building. Crown Woods Comprehensive School , in South London , opened about the same time.

The school became very well known and its story is too long to tell here. If you want to know that story, click on the link.

LINK TO MY WOODBERRY DOWN COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL HISTORY

Very few schools have the children covering the complete range of ability, but we had them for the first few years at Woodberry Down. We had pupils covering the complete intelligence range, from potential Ph Ds at one end, to children who had difficulty tying their own shoe laces. Few people have taught across that range and it is a salutary experience. Most people who pontificate about teaching, especially politicians, simply do not know what they are talking about.

I must make one point before continuing with Stoke Newington School. In 1955, when Woodberry Down opened, there was still an 11+ exam and at first we used these marks in English and Maths to arrange the pupils in eight classes. I saw great transformations. One year, in the 6 th. class of eight according to their 11+ results, I had a boy who became a doctor and a girl who came into the school speaking no English, but later went from the Sixth Form to Cambridge and got a First. In one year, in the sixth class of eight, a doctor and a future academic, both of whom would have been lost elsewhere else, were saved by the comprehensive system. These are only a couple which I happen to remember. There were many, many others.

The Creation of Clissold Road Secondary School

The other Secondary Schools in Stoke Newington in the late 1950s were Defoe School , in Ayresome Road, Palantine School in Palantine Road, and Wordsworth Central School in Albion Road , now the home of Grasmere Primary. It was decided to unite them into one large Comprehensive School like Woodberry Down.

 

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The Creation of Clissold School 

Clissold School was built behind Nos. 25-39 Clissold Road . The site was not as large as the site of the present Stoke Newington School, which will be discussed later.

London county council minutes

PLEAS PUT THIS PANEL INTO A BLOCK AND A DIFFERENT FACE

 

 

KEITH PLEASE PUT THESE two newspaper articles INTO TWO SEPARATE narrow columns in separate BORDERS AS THEY ARE DIFFERENT DOCUMENTS

 

 

FURTHER TOPICS

The opening of Clissold School

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Clean Air Act

 

For years the London air had been becoming more and more polluted by soot and fumes. Factories and homes burnt coal. Only the new factories on the Great West Road and a few other places in London had modern machinery powered by electricity. There were a few electric fires, but electricity was expensive compared with coal. A whole house heated by electricity drew headlines in local papers. The pollution got worse and worse and each winter there were periods of dense smog. This was a thick, choking, yellow fog which killed many people who had with asthma or other chest infections. In Victorian times these smogs were called London Pea-soupers, because the air was so thick you had to eat it, not breathe it. At last the position became so bad that Parliament passed the Clean Air Act forbidding the burning of coal in London .

In the nineteen fifties London was still one of the great manufacturing areas of the country. You have only to look at the variety of local cast-iron cellar covers to realise how many local foundries there used to be in the neighbourhood. Each factory had its own furnace. They all burnt coal. Only the newer factories on the Cambridge Road used electricity. The smoke from industry and the old fashioned coal burning trains produced dense yellow smogs and many people died. People who had had Tuberculosis before the War and had been cured by serving in the Army in the dry North African Desert, developed it afresh when they returned to London .

Eventually Parliament passed the Clean Air Act, forbidding the burning of coal. Diesel trains were introduced and slowly London buildings could be cleaned of their age-old soot. At that time every London Station had notices advertising new factories in the New Towns. Government grants enabled firms to re-locate in Stevenage , Harlow and other towns. New houses with bathrooms were available for the workers and a mass migration took place. They exchanged queuing up for a bath on Friday nights at the local slipper baths, for a bathroom, a separate downstairs toilet and a garden. Families with young children were delighted with the prospect and moved in droves. The older workers were less sure. Those nearing retirement hesitated at the prospect of starting again and then retiring within a few years to unfamiliar places, away from friends and neighbours.

Eventually Parliament passed the Clean Air Act, forbidding the burning of coal. Diesel trains were introduced and slowly London buildings could be cleaned of their age-old soot. At that time every London Station had notices advertising new factories in the New Towns. Government grants enabled firms to re-locate in Stevenage , Harlow and other towns. New houses with bathrooms were available for the workers and a mass migration took place. They exchanged queuing up for a bath on Friday nights at the local slipper baths, for a bathroom, a separate downstairs toilet and a garden. Families with young children were delighted with the prospect and moved in droves. The older workers were less sure. Those nearing retirement hesitated at the prospect of starting again and then retiring within a few years to unfamiliar places, away from friends and neighbours.

Thus, when large firms like Gilbey's left Camden Town , Nagretti & Zambra left Islington, and hundreds of other firms moved away, the young married families with children moved with them. Older people tended to take their redundancy pay and find other work within their own familiar streets.

Immediately the movement of industry affected our pupils by destroying their prospects of apprenticeships. Many of the local firms which had given apprenticeships for years, ceased to trade, or moved away. A number of my boys who had taken out apprenticeships a few years earlier found themselves out of work because their firms closed down. Some moved to other firms to complete their training, while others had to find completely different work.

 

The Effect on Local Schools

 

The effect on local schools was catastrophic. One cannot run a comprehensive school below a certain size. The curriculum must offer a wide variety of subjects and at different levels. Schools simply cannot afford to pay teachers to teach tiny classes and comprehensive schools must offer a wide choice of subjects if they are to serve the needs of all their pupils. Classes below a certain number are impossible. Latin, for example, had been a problem for several years, but when half the children moved out of the district things became desperate in all subjects.

The only solution was to amalgamate pairs of local schools. This meant that the Woodberry Down and Clissold School buildings were assessed and, while Woodberry Down was a good building, with some very interesting features, the Clissold School site had fewer problems and also room to expand.

It was decided to create Stoke Newington School on Clissold School site. For centuries Church Path had run from Newington Green to St Mary's Church, taking the faithful to church. The school was now to spread over the northern end of Church Path and the adjoining Nursery land. A playing field with astro-turf and some housing have now been built on the site.

All teachers had to apply for their own jobs in competition with the teachers from the other school. This was very distressing and traumatic experience for everyone, and was being repeated all over London at the time. Fortunately for me I could retire, but it was not an enjoyable experience for anyone.

 

 

 

 

When the Children had fled the Borough

 

This small table shows what happened to Stoke Newington School in a few short years

 

 

The Amalgamation of Woodberry Down and Clissold Comprehensive Schools

to form

Stoke Newington School

Choosing the Site of the New School

Because there were so few Secondary School children in the Borough, as there were in London as a whole, the two schools had to be combined to form a new school, but where was it to be? Which site would be better?

Woodberry Down School was on the very border of Hackney. Transport was quite good but relatively few could walk to school. Clissold was nearer the centre but transport was not quite so convenient but ore pupils would be able to walk to school.

Woodberry Down was on a landlocked site, bordered by the West Reservoir, on Lordship Road, and by blocks of brand new flats. There was no room to expand. The school had no playing fields, each pupil having to go by coach each week to playing fields in Debden. This was an expensive and time-consuming process, getting more difficult each year as the road traffic increased.

Clissold School was next to the football pitches, tennis courts, and open spaces of Clissold Park . It had room to expand over the Nursery land and Church Path, which ran alongside the school. The houses nearby were old. Many were dilapidated and patched up after war damage. Some of these could be demolished for the school expansion. Finally, the Swimming Bath was on the other side of the road. It was game, set and match. Clissold School site was the clear winner, so it was chosen as the new school site rather than the Woodberry Down one. The two schools came together and became the new Stoke Newington Secondary School . The older pupils at Woodberry Down continued there to finish off their schooling and Woodberry Down closed slowly.

Changes to Clissold Road

The old Clissold School site was expanded and eventually the houses on the other side of Clissold Road were restored and redesigned as modern flats. The old facades, with their handsome Doric columns and front steps would be kept, but the insides transformed to create modern blocks of flats, Today they look like the original Clissold Road houses but the backs are completely new. The houses on the School side of Clissold Road were demolished and completely new flats built instead, but this was in the future. In this way the whole road was be redeveloped. Eventually too, a Mosque would be built at the end of Clissold Road . The whole road was transformed.

The old Woodberry Down Comprehensive School site in Woodberry Grove.

Very briefly, all but the old Technical Block, the ROSLA (Raising of the School Laving Age) Building and the Girls' Gym, have been demolished. A small Jewish School has taken over these buildings, but not the workshops, which, in 2007, stood derelict.

In 2008 Woodberry Down Estate is being rebuilt and the first stage will be to build new flats on the old Woodberry Down School site. Thee new properties will allow people from other blocks of flats to move in andthen their blocks will be demolished and rebuilt..

 

 

 

 

 

The map shows the future sites of Stoke Newington Secondary School

and Betty Layward Primary School .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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