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Five Oaks Middle School Caddington

Five Oaks County Secondary School on completion [PY/PH36/5]
Five Oaks County Secondary School on completion [PY/PH36/5]

Five Oaks was built as a County Secondary School in the early 1960s. The site was just south-west of Willowfield County Primary, built at the same time, on the eastern outskirts of the village. The site originally formed part of Woodside Farm. In 1965 the farmer Ned Charles Brown conveyed about ten acres to Bedfordshire County Council for £4,000 [CCE1985/3].

In the 1970s Bedfordshire County Council introduced comprehensive education, doing away with the 11+ examination and grammar schools and introducing a tier of school between the old County Primary and County Secondary Schools. Thus Lower Schools now taught children aged 4 to 9, Middle Schools from 9 to 13 and Upper Schools from 13 onwards. Five Oaks duly became a middle school.

In 1984 Bedfordshire County Council began a process to decide whether to close a middle school in the Dunstable area due to falling roles [E/SC2/Cad1-2]. They made a provisional decision to close the school and transfer children to Streetfield Middle School [E/SC2/Dun2]. In the event, however, nothing happened. In his book A Century of Achievement former Deputy Chief Education Officer Gordon Vowles notes: "the proposal was withdrawn at the County Council meeting in July 1984 when the School became a political bargaining point in a much larger package of possible closures".

The school closed on 31st August 2008. It then merged with the former Heathfield Lower School and Willowfield, which had become a lower school in the 1970s, to form a new Caddington Village School. This school teaches children from ages three to thirteen and is based on the Willowfield/Five Oaks site. The land for both sites was registered in June 2009 [CCE1985/9].