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Rainbow Special School Bromham

Rainbow Special School in 1982 [PY/PH15/2]
Rainbow Special School in 1982 [PY/PH15/2]

In 1930 to the Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire Joint Board for Mental Deficiency purchased Bromham House and used the house and its grounds to establish the Bromham Colony, later known as Bromham Hospital for people who were mentally handicapped. The Colony always included some children and these were taught at a school on the site.

In 1981 the school, renamed Rainbow Special School was formally opened as part of the Local Education Authority’s network of special schools in new school buildings. A description of the school from 1987 [E/TE2/2/S/1] reveals that the school was designed for forty pupils and at that date had nine aged between 2 and 9, four aged between 10 and 14 and fourteen aged between 14 and 19. The school: “occupies a woodland site just over a mile from the village of Bromham. Its delightful, purpose-built, one storey building contains a number of modern features, most notably an excellent hydrotherapy pool. The rural setting creates a pleasant, tranquil atmosphere and an adjacent coppice area offers scope for country walks”.

The buildings comprised: a hall/indoor activity area; a playground/adventure playground; the hydrotherapy pool which also had a jacuzzi; a visual stimulation room; an art room; kitchens; a dining area; a medical room; administration rooms; a music room and four teaching areas, each with hard work surfaces, carpeted area and adjacent lavatory facilities, three of the areas had one-to-one teaching rooms. The children attending the school were summed up as follows: “The children have profound learning difficulties. Some have multiple physical handicaps and others behavioural problems”.

As can be seen, as early as 1987 numbers were falling. The Schools and Special services Sub-Committee in that year asked for a report on the school’s future, but the report concluded that the school should continue. The staff consisted of the headteacher, a deputy head and six teachers as well as a clerical assistant, seven nursery nurses and a school nurse.

Bromham Hospital was closed in 1997 and the site has since been developed for housing. Rainbow Special School continued for another ten years; however by 2007 only ten pupils were on the roll and the decision was made to close the school, the majority of pupils being transferred to Saint John's Special School, Kempston.

The former Rainbow School August 2007
The former Rainbow School August 2007