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Mary Bassett School Leighton Buzzard

Mary Bassett Lower School June 2008
Mary Bassett Lower School June 2008

Mary Bassett School met in the buildings of the old Mary Bassett Secondary Modern School from September 1960 as a County Primary School for pupils from 7 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 Brooklands Secondary Modern School 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 Mary Bassett was to have taught children aged 7 to 9 but actually made the change to a lower school in 1976 teaching children from age five.

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.


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

  • CRT150/195: history of the school;
  • CA2/117: building file: 1963-1971;
  • CA8/788: building maintenance file: 1966-1982;
  • CA2/473 building file for swimming pool: 1974-1976;
  • E/SE3/1/1: notes on special unit attached to school: 1975;
  • E/TE3/3: return of teaching staff: 1981;
  • CA8/1067: building maintenance file: 1982-1983;
  • E/TE2/1/52: details on school: 1984;
  • E/TE3/6: return of teaching staff: 1986;
  • E/MS3/2/6: kitchen and other details: c.1987;
  • E/Pu4/4/112: school prospectus: 1995