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Broadmead Lower School Stewartby

Broadmead Lower School September 2007
Broadmead Lower School in September 2007

Stewartby Council Junior School opened 1936 and was created as a Council School, that is run by the Local Education Authority (then Bedfordshire County Council) under the Education Act of 1902. The school logbook reveals some of the hazards to health in the early 20th century, some of which reflect the greater rates of child mortality (all entries are SDStewartbyBroadmead1/1):

  • "11th January 1937: There are a large no. of absences due to an epidemic of measles.  Only 19 infants present out of 40".
  • "22nd April 1937: A bottle of school milk was taken away today for analysis by a representative of the Public Health Department".
  • "4th June 1937. I learned today that Robert Cooper died at 10.a.m. in Clapham Isolation Hospital as a result of Diphtheria.  He was a member of 2nd Class".
  • "7th June 1937. Mr Dew visited at 9.a.m. & later to report.  Two children of this school, - Leslie Burnage and John Forshaw – were taken to the Isolation Hospital the former suffering from diphtheria the latter scarlet fever, during last week".

Both schools in Stewartby took evacuated children during the Second World War, the following entry being from the Junior School logbook: "11th 1939… School re-opened today after the Summer holidays.  Owing to war having been declared on September 3rd, this school has become a receiving school for children evacuated from London.  Consequently a number of London infants are sharing this building in charge of their Head Mistress, Miss Philpot" [SDStewartby Broadmead1/1]

The Education Act of 1944 established the principle of County Primary Schools for children up to the age of 11, at which time they took an examination to determine the nature of the secondary school they would attend until they were 15, the most academically able going to grammar schools, the rest to secondary or secondary modern schools. Stewartby Council Junior duly became Stewartby County Primary School, moving to new buildings in Park Crescent in 1965 when it became known as Broadmead County Primary school.

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. Stewartby County Primary became Broadmead Lower School.

Bedfordshire County Council was abolished on 1st April 2009 and the former district council, Bedford Borough, took over the former county council functions for the borough area as a unitary council. This included the function of Local Education Authority.