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Saint Johns Special School and College Kempston

Saint John's Special School July 2007
Saint John's Special School July 2007

Saint John’s Special School opened in the 1970s. It is named after the Hospital of St.John which was a major landowner locally.

The school was created by then local education authority Bedfordshire County Council. It was a school catering for children with a condition then referred to as being severely educationally sub-normal. Today this category of student is described as having severe learning difficulties. This will include children who have had damage to their cognitive abilities from injury, disease or medical condition. They may also have physical disabilities. Children can, and many do, spend their whole educational life at Saint John’s from nursery through to nineteen.

Saint John’s became a grant maintained school under the Education Reform Act 1988. Grant maintained schools were run by their own board of governors and had autonomy over their budget, with no element of control by the local education authority. The Labour government abolished grant maintained schools under the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 and Saint John’s reverted to a school under LEA control

On 1st April 2009 Bedfordshire County Council was abolished. Its functions in the north of the county were taken over by Bedford Borough Council. This was a district, or second tier, authority which was upgraded to a unitary council with both first and second tier responsibilities – a county and district council rolled into one.

Academies were established in 2000 as a way to close failing schools and replace them with schools financed by public money but run by their own governors, in a similar way to the old grant maintained schools. In 2010 this option was extended to any school which wished to exercise it. Saint John’s then became an academy, once more relieving itself of LEA control in the day-to-day running of the school, though the LEA retains an element of control over pupils admitted to the school.

The following list gives all the sources relating to Saint John’s School held by Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service. Due to the terms of the Data Protection Act records containing personal details of living individuals will be closed in total, or in part, depending on the nature of the information.

  • X682/2/6: report from the school in Bedford Mencap yearbook: 1971-1972;
  • CA2/461: school building file: 1971-1977;
  • X682/2/8: report from the school in Bedford Mencap yearbook: 1974;
  • PY/E2/2/292: tenancy agreements: 1974-1975;
  • CA2/769: building file - swimming pool etc.: 1974-1979;
  • X682/2/9: report from the school in Bedford Mencap yearbook: 1975
  • CA2/486: building file – minor alterations: 1975-1977;
  • X682/2/11: report from the school in Bedford Mencap yearbook: 1977;
  • E/SE2/3/1: meeting of the four heads of Kempston special schools: 1978;
  • X682/2/13: report from the school in Bedford Mencap yearbook: 1979;
  • CA8/1036: building maintenance file: 1979-1984;
  • X682/2/14: report from the school in Bedford Mencap yearbook: 1980
  • E/ME6/1/5: applications for Section 11 funded posts at school: 1980s;
  • CA10/22: heating installation file: 1980-1982;
  • X682/2/15: report from the school in Bedford Mencap yearbook: 1981;
  • E/TE3/5: details of staff: 1981;
  • X682/2/16: report from the school in Bedford Mencap yearbook: 1982;
  • E/SE2/2/1: proposals to transfer pupils aged 16+ from Sunnyside Special School, Biggleswade to school: 1983;
  • X682/8/6: youth club at the school: 1983;
  • E/SE2/2/1: possible transfer of post sixteen pupils from Sunnyside Special School, Biggleswade: 1983;
  • X682/2/18: report from the school in Bedford Mencap yearbook: 1984
  • E/TE2/2/S/6: details of school: 1984;
  • X682/2/19: report from the school in Bedford Mencap yearbook: 1985;
  • E/ME6/1/5-6: applications for funding for multicultural education posts: late 1980s;
  • E/PM6/2/1: replies to a questionnaire on corporal punishment: 1986;
  • SS/HD2/1/4: correspondence including training for school leavers: 1986-1992;
  • X682/2/21: report from the school in Bedford Mencap yearbook: 1987;
  • E/ME2/2/1: staff list and agenda of staff meeting on multicultural education: 1988-1989;
  • E/PS1/1/4: possible Harpur Trust financial assistance for pupils wishing to attend Kielder Activity Centre: 1989-1990;
  • E/PS1/1/5: correspondence file: 1989-1990;
  • X682/2/24: report from the school in Bedford Mencap yearbook: 1990;
  • SS/HD2/1/1: correspondence file including information on provision for school leavers: 1991-1992;
  • CCE2814/11-12: vesting deed and transfer regarding completion of grant maintained status of school: 1997;
  • X682/2/30: report from the school in Bedford Mencap yearbook: 1997;
  • X682/2/33: report from the school in Bedford Mencap yearbook: 2000;
  • X682/11/10: photograph of the new hydrotherapy pool: 2000;
  • X682/2/34: report from the school in Bedford Mencap yearbook: 2001