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The history of Brookmans Park School
by Lilian Caras - First published 1983 (Revised May 2000)

Chapter 2
The case for a primary school in Brookmans Park

In May 1947 the Hertfordshire County Council Education, Primary Sub-Committee recommended that the new school should be included in the 1948-49 Primary School Building Programme to be submitted to the Ministry of Education for approval. "The Development Plan provides for a separate Junior and Infant School in Brookmans Park", but the Committee suggested that, "in order to meet the present difficulty a combined Junior and Infant School should be erected, the building at a later stage to be used for Infants only". This was in response to the Hatfield District Committee's request that "some provision for the younger children should be made as a matter of urgency", to prevent children of primary age having, "to travel considerable distances to school". The County Council decided to proceed with the purchase of the 7.25-acre site of "land north of George's Wood Road, adjoining the Drive, Brookmans Park Golf Course".

In his covering letter to the Ministry, Mr Newsom, County Education Officer on 11 July 1947 accepted the Ministry's earlier circular that "only in a few cases can he accept a building programme for 1948"; but that a few cases were urgent "because of building development during the last year..... of the more urgent ones there can be no doubt that the following are of greatest importance". There were seven proposed schools an the list of the County's 1947 and 1948 Educational Building Programme, No. 4 was Brookmans Park J.M.I. Mr. Newsom went on to plead that the County's "fabrication of parts" had been arranged with co-operating factories on the basis of a steady flow of work an a long term basis, that "economy will result if the long term building plan is adopted". This refers to the County's revolutionary new standardised building system for schools, which is discussed later.

In a separate letter of 23 June 1947 addressed to the Ministry of Education, Mr. Newsom sets out the case for a new school in Brookmans Park in full:

The latter discusses what it calls "a major project of exceptional urgency, the erection of an instalment of a J.M.I. at Brookmans Park".

"The estates at Brookmans Park ware built in the few years just prior to the outbreak of war and no school facilities of any kind have so far been provided by the Local Authority. The present population of Brookmans Park is 2,100 and eventually will reach 6,000. In the County Development Plan, three new schools are proposed, a two form entry Infants school and a two form entry Junior school, and a two form entry Secondary school to take senior children from Brookmans Park and the surrounding villages."

"Parents in Brookmans Park are very concerned at the lack of school provisions for the younger children and have made repeated representations to the Authority to provide something at an early date. They argue that a town of two thousand persons should have at least a school for children of primary age."

"At the moment some 60 to 70 Children attend small and unsatisfactory private schools in Brookmans Park, others whose parents cannot afford fees travel to Little Heath, and North Mymms, while a further group of 20 children is accommodated temporarily in the Middlesex County Schools at Patters Bar."

"A site is being secured in George's Wood Road, on which eventually separate Junior and Infants schools will be erected. The authority considers that the situation could be met in the first instance by the erection as a first instalment, of four classrooms, assembly hall, lavatories and cloakroom of a Junior Mixed and Infants school."

"I am directed therefore to ask for approval to this scheme so that the necessary statutory notice can be issued and the plans and estimates prepared."

The report that accompanied the letter from the County of 11 July 1947 reads as follows:

4. Brookmans Park proposed J.M.I. School
Instalment of 4 classrooms
Children of Primary School Age

(a) attending Private Schools
x Ithaca House 40
x Miss Colman's school 18
Potters Bar High School 20
Total = 78

(b) attending C.C. Schools

Newtown Hatfield 2
Westfield 4
North Mymms 34
Little Heath 39
Total = 79

(c) attending Middlesex Schools 14
Total 171

"No school in Brookmans Park other than the two private schools marked x. Miss Colman states that she is only carrying on a school at the request of the parents who do not wish their small children to walk the long distance to the North Mymms or Little Heath Schools. She will close as soon as a County Council school is provided."

The letter goes an to state that "Within the last few months the following parents have written to the Authority asking for a school to be provided in Brookmans Park as they can no longer afford the private fees". There follows a list of fourteen people, all Brookmans Park residents. The report continues with a look at the position of other schools in the locality:

Little Heath
Accommodation 160 No. on roll 161

North Mymms
Accommodation 110 No. on roll 100

"Both all age schools."

This letter refers to the situation of schools before the 1944 Education Act when children of primary and secondary age groups attended the same school and sometimes even shared the same classroom and teacher. After the Act all such arrangements were to cease and separate schools provided for each. Existing schools were to be "re-organised" into primary or secondary "modern", grammar or secondary technical schools.

The Ministry of Education's reply was a pencilled "no case" on the County's letter of application. No explanation was offered.

Chapter 3 - Conditions in local schools deteriorate
Index - The history of Brookmans Park School

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