Our School History

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The Gilbert Heathcote Junior Boys School is on the Sheffield Road, two or three hundred yards from the fork at Whittington Moor. The original school on the site was known as the ‘Newbold Church of England Girls’ Mixed School’ and built probably in 1883 as St. John’s Mission Church, was mainly used as a school to relieve the overcrowding of the present Newbold Church of England school. In August, 1885, all except the Chancel was transferred to the Newbold and Dunston School Board, There was obviously an overcrowding problem and it was decided to build a special quarters for the infants who were then crowded into one room. The Board’s Inspector reported in September, 1887, that ‘a large Infant’s School is about to be built.’

By January, 1888, the new classroom was built and the Headmistress reports in her logbook that she is most anxious to occupy it owing to her being ‘uncomfortably crowded in the Girl’s School.’  As the average attendance had been 240, accommodated in two large rooms divided by curtains, we can sympathise with her impatience. The new school was formally opened on March 12th.

‘The members of the School Board, the Architect, Attendance Officer, Clerk, the parents of a number of children, and others, attended the schools today and inspected the same, and the Chairman, after giving a very exhaustive statement of the accommodation, cost, etc.., finally declared the new school open for the instruction of children.’

The new room that was constructed was built at right angles to the main building and half way down along the side. Although on Church ground the Infant’s Department was not Church property, thus differing from the Girl’s school for which the managers paid a nominal rent. The attendance roll still remained lengthy and the Board’s Inspector reported in 1889 that with 225 names on the Infant’s Register and a yearly average of 141, the Infant’s School should be made into a separate department with its own certificated teacher. The advice was followed and a separate Infant’s logbook exists from September, 1889.

About 1910 the Church sold the school site to the Derbyshire County Council, who were the governing body. It was decided to alter the existing building and use the new completed building as a Boy’s School.; This meant the transference of the girls to the Edmund Street School in the immediate vicinity and the bringing of the boys from that school to the reconstructed Newbold Moor School, thus creating schools for boys and girls separately instead of the old mixed schools. The Newbold Moor School was pulled down and the present building was erected. It was opened on June 10th, 1912, as an all-age Boy’s School and eight years later, with the Borough Extension, the school came under the control of the Chesterfield Education Committee.

The next alteration was due to the recent re-organisation programme, and the school became a Junior Boys’ School on May 1st, 1928. The senior boys were sent to the temporary school at Whittington Moor until the rebuilt ‘Peter Webster’ School was ready. The places vacated at Newbold Moor were filled by the juniors from Whittington Moor, Brushes, and Edmund Street Infants. At this time the name of the school was changed again, and following a practice that was gaining favour with the Education Committee of naming schools after distinguished people of the locality, the school became the ‘ Gilbert Heathcote Junior Boys’ School.

The re-organisation called for additional accommodation and an extra classroom has been built. Messrs. P.B. Houfton & Co. were invited to prepare sketch plans and estimates in November 1928, and these plans were forwarded to the Board of Education in the following January. The estimated cost of the work was £910 and the Board’s permission and the sanction of the Ministry of Health for raising the necessary loan were received. The tender of Mr. C.E. Gaunt, of Chesterfield, amounting to £926 for the building of the additional room was accepted by the Education Committee in May 1929, and the furnishing of the room came out of the furniture loan of £1,182 raised at that time for the ‘Violet Markham, Peter Webster, Highfield Hall and Gilbert Heathcote’ Schools. Of this sum, £64 5s. 0d. were spent on equipping the new room, as follows –

 

£

s.

d.

Handicraft tables

13

17

6

Dual Desks, Blackboards and Easels, Teacher’s Desk and Chair

27

7

0

Cupboards

21

11

6

Handicraft material

1

9

0

 

64

5

0

The old school was re-pointed during the period of the additional building at a cost of £119, and the renovated school with its new classroom was first used for the Armistice Day Service on November, 1929. The new Headmaster is Mr. R.J. Edwards, B.Sc., and he is assisted by a staff of seven teachers. A plan of the school as it is now is shown

The new room is used for handwork, especially for light wood-work for the older boys. Excellent results have been obtained both in academic and sporting activities during the three years since the area had been re-organised, and it is felt that opportunities are now given that were not possible before in this school, of concentrating on the work specially suitable to juniors.