Our Diamond Jubilee
HJS celebrated its 60th birthday in 2012.
HJS celebrated its 60th birthday in 2012.
It was customary for many years for Headteachers to keep a handwritten daily diary of events in the school, and we are fortunate in having 4 volumes of these accounts, dating from the opening of the school in 1952 to the mid 1970s. They are a fascinating source of real historical evidence, telling not just about the life of the school, but also about the history of post-war Britain. It is amazing to see how many things have changed beyond recognition in a relatively short space of time, but also how some of the issues today are exactly the same as those faced by the school when it opened.
Note that the building was far from finished when the first 112 children started, with only the upstairs classrooms ready for occupation. Imagine what it would have been like trying to work in the school while they were still building the Hall and the Dining Hall and finishing off the ground floor classrooms! Thankfully, the Infant School, which had been built a year or two before, came to the rescue and lent us some rooms.
In those early days, when the school had more classrooms than it needed, they were able to use the ground floor rooms as an Art Room, a Music Room and a Library. However, as you will see from later extracts, it wasn't long before the school started running out of space.
Note the concern over Dinner Money - the school had not been issued with a Paying In Book, so could not put the money in the bank.
Note also, that the children themselves came up with the names for the four teams, Eagles, Kestrels, Ravens and Hawks on 8th September 1952. The beginning of a great tradition of Pupil Voice and Henleaze Junior School, and we are thrilled that the teams still play such an important part in the life of the school today.
The Parents Association has played an important part in the life of the school since the early days. The first meeting took place in October 1952 in the Infant School and was attended by 120 parents. The Henleaze Junior School Parent Teachers' Association was formally established on February 13th 1953 at a meeting in the recently completed School Hall. Their first official event was a meeting on 27th February at which the District Inspector, Mr Boxall, addressed the guests on the subject of "Selection for Secondary Education"
I'm intrigued by the entry on 23rd November, when a pupil was slightly injured by an iron bar picked up by another pupil. The mind boggles!
The school was coming to the end of its first half term, and building was still in progress. Adjustments were made to the timetable, including the end of the school day, which was shortened to finish at 4:00 when the children came back after the half term holiday.
There were by now 129 children, and this number was set to rise to 176 before the end of the school year, with a fourth class being created in January 1953.
The Infant School building, completed shortly before the juniors, was already struggling to cope with the number of pupils, and it was agreed that one or two of the empty junior classrooms could be used for infant children after Easter, 1953.
The Official Opening Ceremony took place on 30th April 1954 at the Colston Hall.
HJS was not the only new school opened that year. The Log refers to Headley Park and Whitehouse Schools, and Avon and Blaise also opened in 1952. But clearly, Henleaze Junior School was seen as the "flagship", and was shown off by the Lord Mayor to the Minister of Education.
The school was visited by many dignitaries and visitors from other countries during its first few years. The new building was the first of a post-war batch that embodied a new approach to education, very different from that of the Victorian Board Schools.
The school buildings and grounds were not finished until well into the second year of operation. There were 287 children in September 1954, in 7 classes of around 40 children each. The painters moved in to decorate, the bottom playground was tarmaced and the builder's rubble was finally cleared from the site.
By 24th September 1954, it was already becoming apparent that the school would not be big enough when 150 children arrived from the infants the following autumn and the headteacher noted that "It may be necessary to erect two additional hutted classrooms." During the year, other possibilities were explored, including the use of the Congregational Church School Room on Henleaze Road.