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Loughton County High School for Girls
Loughton High School
"The Utmost for the Highest"
a site for former pupils to enjoy
Loughton County High School for girls was opened in January 1906 in a house in York Hill. There were then 29 girls, under a headmistress and one assistant mistress, and there was also a visiting science master. In May 1908 the first part of the present building in Alderton Hill was opened, and in 1912 the average attendance was 118. Temporary buildings were added in 1917. In 1922 a swimming-bath was added and in 1923 the first part of a new permanent wing was built. By 1929 there was accommodation for 450 girls. In 1930 a new assembly hall was built and the final part of the new wing added. Playing field space has been increased from time to time. There are now (1954) approximately 550 pupils and the staff, including the headmistress, numbers 30.
In 1927, a 7 year old girl named Pauline Burborough and her new friend Rosemary Tharp, joined Loughton High as juniors. The junior school was housed in a single storey wing to the left of the main entrance hall as you face the school from the road. (This wing later gained an extra storey). At this time there were four classes in the Junior section - Infants and Form 1 had Miss Coombs as Form Mistress. Miss Moore was Form Mistress of the next class up - 2b. At the age of 10, girls moved into Form 2a with Miss Waugh.
Miss Cowmeadow took care of the top Juniors. Form 3 also took in girls who had passed the age eleven entrance exam.
Forms 4a and 4b were for 12 year olds, 4a being the top stream. Miss Mather had one of these classes. 5a, 5b and 5c were for age 13 and Miss Bachelor took one of these.
Lower 6th was age 14 and Upper 6th age 15/16 which was normal leaving age though it was possible to stay on at school beyond Upper 6th to take further exams for college entrance.
Pauline was chosen as Deputy Head Girl and together with the Head Girl, Winnie Bavin, they attended a function at Buckingham Palace as representatives of the School, in the summer of 1936. She left school that same summer, aged 16, having taking Matriculation exams in the Upper 5th and Highers in the Upper 6th.
The March 1938 school magazine says:
“ ………….the coronation comes within the period covered by this magazine. The Head Girl and the Deputy (1937Winifred Bavin and Pauline Burborough) were given places by the Essex Education committee to see the procession from the stands on Constitution Hill, and later several of us took part in the Youth Rally at the Albert Hall.” - thanks to Christine Spencer for this additional info
In addition to the Form Mistresses, some other members of staff at that time were Miss Chisholm, Miss Morris (Latin and Greek), Miss Wiseman (Latin), Miss Darch (English - became a childrens' writer - see teachers), and Miss Morrell (English).
Miss Cowmeadow was still teaching in the 1950s and Miss Morrell in the mid 60s and Miss Chisholm was still teaching in 1970.
Many thanks to Mrs Pauline Bartholomew (nee Burborough) for her amazing memory and to her daughter, - Frances Fielding (nee Bartholomew), also of LHS, for sending me her mother's story.
June Farrell MBE (LHS 1944 - 49) also remembers the earlier days at the school. June is married to Colin Harbott who was at Buckhurst Hill County High School. They married in 1954 so will be celebrating their 60th Anniversary in 2014. June's story is here
Thanks to changes in Government policy, state grammar schools were being closed in favour of comprehensive education and so in 1989, Loughton County High School for Girls disappeared and following a difficult merger with Epping Forest High School (formerly Luctons), it became Roding Valley High School. During the changeover, the 6th form combined with Buckhurst Hill County High School for boys which was suffering a similar fate to LHS.
A bit of history
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The first headmistress of Loughton County High School for Girls was Miss Mary Hall. You will find much more information about Miss Hall and her successors (including, of course, Miss Heald, Mrs Delchar and Miss Smith) on the Heads and Head Girls page
This article by Miss Christine Manning, headmistress from 1985, was published in the West Essex Gazette in November 1985.
Loughton County High School was founded in 1906 as a girls’ grammar school. The transition from grammar school to comprehensive school began in 1979 and was accomplished by a major programme of building extension and improvements. We are now able to combine excellent facilities with relevant teaching methods and the best elements of our tradition.
All girls follow a broadly based core of subjects, including science and at least one foreign language. At 14 + a wide range of options is offered up to a maximum of 10 examination subjects.
An extensive programme of work experience has been developed over a number of years and is made available to fifth and sixth form pupils. Many valuable contacts in the world of work have played their part in our pupils’ education, and we are well supported by Governors and by our Parent Teacher Association, who give practical advice and help at every stage.
Out of school activities are organised, to encourage and foster individual enthusiasms in our pupils, and a sensible use of leisure. Our reputation is particularly high in sport, music, drama and public speaking.
There is a joint sixth form with the boys of Buckhurst Hill County High School, which has a proud record of academic success. The girls continue also to play an important role in the main school, producing our annual magazine, running the school tuck shop and helping in school productions.
A new venture this year has been the setting up of a Young Enterprise Scheme, in which sixth form students learn to run their own business.
Since its foundation, the school has served the community in which it holds a respected place. It has sought to respond to contemporary needs as well as to exercise a stable influence, enabling all pupils to give of their best.
Sue's note on this article: I would probably take exception to the word "improvements" with regard to the buildings, having been taken on a tour in 2013. The colour coded corridors are eye-watering and they have massively reduced the sports facilities with their "extensions and improvements" .
Otherwise the sentiments seem worthy, though with the benefit of 30 years of hindsight, I wonder if they were fair and accurate? The comprehensive system is no longer seen in the same favourable light as it apparently was back in the 80s. Should the school have been preserved as it was, and as a girls' grammar or am I being a dinosaur? - discuss!
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Teachers through the ages. Read about some individual teachers and headmistresses