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Toddington Council School

The Wesleyan School front elevation in 1855 [AD3865/45]
The Wesleyan School front elevation in 1855 [AD3865/45]

Toddington Council School opened in Leighton Road on 4th October 1909 in buildings which had previously been those of the Public Elementary (Wesleyan) School, now leased to the Local Education Authority by the Wesleyans as well as new buildings. The first logbook entry [PCToddPark1/1] reads: "I commenced duties as temporary Head Master. The school staff consists of:
J Malcolm Wilson Trained Certificated Master
(Mrs) Jessie Sommerton Art 50
(Miss) Ethel Buckingham Art 50
(Miss) Edith Dimmock Supplementary
(Miss) Dorothy O'Dell Monitress
Mrs Sommerton is responsible for the sewing. School opened to-day as a Council School. Received new set of Registers from the Director of Education. Admitted four pupils".

Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service has a scrapbook of cuttings of visits made to most Bedfordshire Schools by School Inspectors for a period from just before the First World War through the inter-war years [E/IN1/1].

In 1927 older children from the village schools in Chalton and Chalgrave were sent to Toddington Council School to finish their education. This occasioned a "strike" by parents in Chalton who, for a time, refused to send their children and were duly prosecuted. [E/PM4/2/1].

The third of the great Education Acts was that of 1944 which 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. The act also created two types of successor to the public elementary schools - the Voluntary Aided and Voluntary Controlled schools. Voluntary Aided schools are those in which the Local Education Authority funds the school but the governing body is independent, they are usually Anglican or Roman Catholic schools. Voluntary Controlled schools own their own buildings whilst the staff are employed directly by the governors. Toddington Council School thus became, briefly Toddington County Primary School but in January 1947 was reorganised as a county secondary modern school for children over the age of eleven, the younger children now all going to the VC County Primary School. There were 117 children on the roll – 53 from the old County Primary School and 64 from the Voluntary County Primary School [SDToddPark1/4]. The school moved into new buildings nearby in 1963 and became Parkfields CSM School.