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Heathwood School Leighton Buzzard

 Heathwood School in 1971
Heathwood School in 1971 [PY/PH57/1]

Heathwood was built as a County Primary School in the 1960s for pupils from 5 to 11 years. At age eleven pupils took an examination (the Eleven Plus) which determined which secondary school they attended. The top 25% attended a grammar school, The Cedars, where they were taught an academic curriculum designed to enable them to go on to university. The rest attended Secondary Modern Schools (Beaudesert for boys and Mary Bassett for girls until 1959 when both sexes attended Brooklands or, later Gilbert Inglefield) and were taught a more skills based curriculum intended to fit them for work.

In 1968 the Secretary of State approved a comprehensive reorganisation of schools by the Local Education Authority, Bedfordshire County Council. This did away with selection, all pupils attending similar schools, teaching the same curriculum, based solely on age. Children aged 5 to 9 attended lower schools, those aged 9 to 13 went to a middle school and those aged 13 to 18 attended an upper school. The council affirmed its support for the scheme in 1969 and again in 1970 and in 1974 the reorganisation reached the Leighton Buzzard area.

Leighton Buzzard was slightly different to other parts of the county in that it had two infants' schools (Beaudesert and Leedon) for pupils aged 5 to 7 years. It was envisaged that this would continue for the foreseeable future, however, in the event both schools changed to become lower schools. Under the arrangements Heathwood taught children aged 7 to 11 until 1975, making the change to a lower school in 1976.

On 1st April 2009 Bedfordshire was abolished. The new Local Education Authority for Leighton Buzzard and area is Central Bedfordshire Council, a unitary council discharging both county and district functions.

 Heathwood Lower School June 2008
Heathwood Lower School June 2008


Note that some sources may not be available in order to protect personal details

  • CA2/197: building contract: 1963-1975;
  • CA2/563: site file: 1964-1966;
  • CA8/792: building maintenance file: 1968-1982;
  • Z851/10/8: photograph of school: c.1970;
  • CA8/292: grounds maintenance file: 1970;
  • CA8/297: file on barrier fencing for swimming pool: 1971;
  • PY/PH57/1: exterior photographs: 1971;
  • CA10/81: renewal of floor covering: 1981;
  • E/TE3/3: return of teaching staff: 1981;
  • E/TE2/2/L50-51: details of school: 1982-1988;
  • E/TE3/6: return of teaching staff: 1986;
  • E/MS3/2/6: kitchen and other details: c.1987;
  • E/ME4/2/2: notes on approach to multicultural education at school: 1988-1989;
  • E/Pu4/4/188: school prospectus: 1995