The following is a brief history of Stanley Park High School. It is a shortened version of a statement by a French Teacher at the school. He wrote the statement by reading the School Log Book, a document that was completed on a daily basis by the incumbent Headteacher between the years 1932 and 1995. After this date the practice was stopped. Probably due to the possible increased demands of Headship.
- 1932 - 1951 Mr. W R Knight
- 1951 - 1966 Mr. W J Tolley
- 1966 - 1967 Mrs. J E Mould (acting)
- 1967 - 1975 Mr. A J Y Hassall
- 1988 - 1989 Mr. D C Haines
- 1988 - 1989 Mrs. M Piper
- 1989 - 2000 Mr. D Harding
- 2000 - 2005 Mr. M G Dunman
- 2005 - Present Mr. D A Taylor
Stanley Park Road Central School opened on the 31st August 1931. At that time the school was based on the present junior school site in Stanley Park Road, Carshalton. There were 182 pupils on roll; 82 boys and 100 girls. These were in the capable charge of the Headmaster, Mr. W R Knight and 8 staff.
That first term saw the frequent visits from inspectors both national and county, from various Board of Education officials and from Mr. Finch, the chairman of the school managers. That first year also included trouble with the weather. On one occasion the Head had the fires lighted and school heated as temperatures were so low.
The school had many festivities. This was a time when Empire Day was celebrated. On 24th May 1932 ‘Appropriate’ lessons were given by the Headmaster and staff to the children. An address was given by Earl Jellicoe over the wireless to the school. Songs and hymns were sung and concluded with the National Anthem. School closed for the afternoon. The school closed for other occasions in June of that first year: for Derby Day and, two days later, for The Oaks!
Throughout the 1930's there is a problem with staff shortage and supply teachers abound. Maintaining a full staff was an obvious problem for the Head and he was not helped when receiving a medical certificate from Dubrovnik in 1939 - a broken leg incurred whilst on a walking holiday. In November 1935, following the regular visits by the nurse, 10 pupils were excluded for unclean heads.
World War II
The summer holiday of 1939 was extended because of the war and on the first day back some children had to be sent home as there was not sufficient trench accommodation. Due to the absence of any shelter the air raid provision was to dig slit trenches in Stanley Park recreation ground. These were to give problems and in October the school had to be closed because the trenches were unfit due to flooding.
In September 1940 there were air raids. From September 3rd the school was being disturbed twice a day due to air raid warnings. On one day the children spent four and a half hours in the trenches. On some days the children were sent home only when activity overhead ceased. The school hours were changed and it appears that pupils worked through from 9.00 to 2.00. In the last four months of 1940 there were 80 air raid warnings recorded, most of these are recorded as "no incident" but on some "raiders passed".
The next real mention of the war comes in 1944, presumably when the Germans started their rocket campaign against Britain. On 16th June 1944 "spent day in school shelters - attacks by flying bombs." On several occasions after this the school worked in the shelters because of the threat of air raid. Then on June 22nd the war came to Stanley Park. A flying bomb was brought down on Stanley Park Road at 1.10pm The children had just finished dinner and all but 3 were in the shelters. No casualties. The West side of the school was badly damaged by the blast. On the following day, "Some children lost their homes. Children are now being privately evacuated." The flying bomb raids continued and work was carried on in the trenches, on some occasions the children working there all day. A second V1 flying bomb fell on the allotments at the end of Stanley Park Road, less than half a mile away from the school.
There is no mention of evacuation during the Battle of Britain period but this second round of aerial terror seems to have brought some response. In July 1944 a party of evacuees left for St. Helens, Lancashire and in September. There is evidence that some staff were "away on evacuation." When the new term started in September of that year the school roll was only 120, though it rose to 154 by October and by January 1945 it was up to 241 with eight staff.
Naturally the school was closed on May 8th 1945, VE day. It was also closed the following day - VE plus one. On the 10th May the log records "School re-opened this a.m. Several children making this VE plus two - 90 children absent." There is, however, no mention of VJ day later in the year.
1947 - 1960
With the war over school life again returned to normal. The big freeze of 1947 is painfully recorded. For six weeks there was no playtime for the children and one can imagine the strain on the Headmaster and staff. In January 1951 W.R. Knight finished his duties as head at the school and passed control to Mr. W J Tolley.
During the 50's there was a strong house competition running. The four houses were the Trojans, Romans, Athenians and Spartans and there was plenty of inter house activity with the top house each year being rewarded with a day out. One of the major sports at this time was boxing and the school appears to have had some success with students representing the District and one reaching the finals of the All England competition. In 1955 one pupil, Thomas, was the county boxing champion for the third consecutive year, and in the District finals the school had five winners. Girls were not forgotten and there was inter-house flower arranging for them!
The importance of royalty continued after the war. On 7th January 1952 there was a special service at assembly terminated by the singing God Save the Queen; this was an obvious reference to the death of George VI and in the following week the whole school listened to the broadcast of the State Funeral followed by a memorial service held in the school hall and two minutes silence. For the Coronation in the following year there were activities planned but the Coronation Sports had to be postponed due to rain.
In April of 1954 the school was burgled for the first time but there was no damage done and nothing missing. There was to be more drama in 1955. "Colin Whaler fell into the water at Carshalton Park coming from the canteen. He was rescued by the prompt and brave action of Gwen Carr, “who jumped in and fetched him from mid-stream”. Gwen's bravery was to be rewarded with the presentation of a book from the mayor of Beddington and Wallington.
The summer vacation of 1955 was to see the first trip abroad made by members of Stanley Park; 42 pupils and 4 adults to Belgium. This was quickly followed by another, and in 1959 the Headmaster took 15 boys to Holland.
In November 1959 tragedy struck the school in the form of its first recorded pupil death. "A pupil (un-named) was killed by a motor car in Stanley Park Road. The Headmaster attended the funeral and the school sent a floral arrangement in the shape of a shield in the school colours.
1960 - 1970
In June of 1960 there were the first GCE examinations. Perhaps more foreboding is the entry in 1961; the first mention of industrial action on the 20th September with four NAS members on strike and classes sent home. In 1965 the school came under the authority of the newly formed London Borough of Sutton, having previously been under the control of the Surrey Education Department. This was to see a major change within the year. On Monday 11th July 1966 Wallington County Grammar School for Girls opened on the Stanley Park High site. The change of school coincided with the retirement of the Head. Mr. Tolley was presented with a china cupboard, a Worcester mug and a cheque for £40 by the school. He retired after "15 happy and eventful years. His position was taken by the acting Headmistress, Mrs. J E Mould.
At Mrs. Moulds first head teachers meeting plans for secondary re-organisation were discussed and Stanley Park was ear marked for closure. But builders were in place to make changes to the fabric of the school and the domestic science rooms were moved upstairs to make way for boys toilets and cloakrooms. The day to day running of the school continued however and in response to the Aberfan Disaster the pupils raised £60.
In September 1967 Anthony John Yeoman Hassall took over the duties as Headmaster. At that time there were 14 full time staff, 5 part time, 196 boys, 181 girls, and the first year intake was 91. He cannot have been unduly impressed; the school still had builders present and the work was going slowly. In November he recorded in the log "the school is in an untidy state and looks neglected. I spoke of this in the staff meeting." But the situation did improve after the builders had left and the rooms were finally reorganised.
It was during 1968/69 that the nomenclature of the school changed from being a County Secondary to a High School. The organisation of the school changed also. After a year in office Mr Hassall introduced non-streaming to the school, but there is no comment from the staff about its introduction. One success that Mr Hassall was obviously proud of was the visit by Chessington Zoo to the school with a 4 year old orang-utang; he proudly records in the log that it bush baby, a penguin, a vulture, and a chimpanzee. There is no mention as to whether these' were also stories of national importance.
1970 - 1980
On a personal note September 1974 saw a batch of new appointments at Stanley Park; they included a new PE teacher, Mr. A C Thomson and a fresh faced History teacher, Mr. J N Sheppard. They are still members of our staff to this day.
Eventually Mr. Hassall was to resign -to move to a new headship in Bromley. His replacement was to be Mr. D C Haines, who took up his duties in September 1975.The log records many activities and visits taking place in the 70's and 80's; particularly those involving holiday trips and long term stays. There was an annual trip to North Wales, annual ski trips, holidays on canal barges, activity breaks in the Lake District, football tours to Holland and Germany, sport weeks at the Crystal Palace, and, with the direct involvement of the Head, the borough cruises to Leningrad and the Mediterranean. The latter was to become a casualty of the Falklands war in 1982 when the SS Uganda was requisitioned for use as a hospital ship. Stanley Park itself became a venue for school trips with parties of children visiting from France, Germany and Denmark.
Other activities abounded in the school during this period in particular the school productions which were highly successful and ranged from Gilbert and Sullivan to Loerner and Lowe. As per tradition the Christmas term ended with a production by staff for the entertainment of the children. Charity fund raising also continued and large sums were raised each year and donated to both local and national charities. Sport also developed with a new house system. Four new houses were established: Beamon, Bonnington, Campbell and Frazer, with reat rivalry between the four.
The most significant structural change to the school came in 1977/78 with the building of the Sports Hall. This was officially opened on the 22nd June 1978 with a Superstars competition in which children, staff and guests competed. Earlier, in 1975, two mobile classrooms had been erected in the grounds to accommodate rising numbers. By 1980 the school roll was 703 pupils and the school Governors had already proposed that Stanley Park be re-designated as an 11-18 High School; a proposal which was to be rejected by the Education Committee. But the local popularity of the school was to grow. Stanley Park soon had a waiting list for first years and the school was often over-subscribed; in one year all the new intake was first choice pupils. Despite this the school was again faced with the threat of closure in 1986 when comprehensive education was proposed for the Borough, but this was to be a plan that was subsequently shelved.
The 70's and early 80's saw increased industrial action from the staff; there were strikes by both the NAS and the NUT which resulted in school closures and classes being sent home, and in April 1979 teachers withdrew from lunchtime supervision and after school activities in support of their wage claim. The pupils were revolting in 1979 too. On 15th January some 150 pupils went on strike because the school was "below temperature". With clear logic they staged a sit in on the school playground, outside in even colder temperatures!
1980 - 1990
Nothing it seemed could halt the progress of technology. The Head visited Oxford to see the 380z micro processor in action and by July he could report in the log, "school micro computer now fully functional." Other RVL machines were purchased for the school and in 1987 another computer room was established with a Nimbus network.
In February of 1985 there was a general inspection of the school by a team of HMI's. Luckily however they were not to be present when the school was disrupted with the appearance of a kissogram in assembly
On 16th October 1987 the school was to suffer along with the rest of the south of England; hurricane force winds devastated the school grounds, "we lose 10 trees and 3 mobile classrooms are crushed." So difficult was traveling that day that many staff and pupils failed to attend and the school was closed. In contrast the school showed a much lighter side three months later when it joined in the Comic Relief fund raising; red noses were worn by most attending.
The 1980's were to see many changes in the education system and Stanley Park was heavily involved. Staff received training to introduce the new GCSE examinations, the school ran a pilot scheme with SEREB to produce Records of Achievement profiles for all its pupils, and the day to day teaching and extra curricular activities continued. In September 1988 the school was visited by a Japanese TV unit to film its work but the end results were never seen in this country and it is unknown if they were ever seen in Japan.
But the decade also saw tragedy strike Stanley Park again in the form of deaths. Within a short span of time three deaths occurred of ex-pupils; Jerry Porter was to die in a motorcycle accident, Brian Eve was stabbed to death in Sutton and David Teed was to be another murder victim in Shoreham. Another pupil, Jonathan Horne, died in January 1986 with congenital heart defect; his parents set up the Jonathan Horne Memorial in which a prize would be awarded to a pupil each year.
During the school year 1986/87 Mr. Haines was engaged on a fellowship year at Southlands College to work on Records of Achievement. In his absence his place was taken by Mrs. M Piper, the school's deputy. He rejoined the school after one year but was then offered a post on the Boroughs LMS project team. The governors approved a secondment in Easter 1989 and accepted his resignation. Mrs Piper again stepped into the breach as Acting Head until the appointment of Mr. D Harding who took up his post in September 1989.
In February 1991 the Governors of the school agreed to becoming Comprehensive, a status that was adopted on September 1992. New buildings were also developed in 1992 with the addition of 5 Science laboratories and 3 Art classrooms. In 1994 the school tried to get Sixth Form provision but they were turned down by the Government due to lack of space on our site. In 1996 Highview School was closed down and its staff and students were incorporated into Stanley Park.
This is where the recorded history ends with the last entry into the log book in July 1997. In summarizing the Log Book the French Teacher stated; ‘The school Log Book is a limited piece of historical evidence. It is limited largely by its use by the respective Headteachers who have made entries in it. But it does give some insight into the 60 years of Stanley Park School.
Beyond this date the school’s history is reliant on those members of staff who have remained at the school. Mr. Harding retired in July 2000 and Mr. M G Dunman became Headteacher. In 2002 the school got its specialist Autism Base, this being housed in a new building that was shared with our Post 16 Centre.
In 2005 Mr. D A Taylor became Acting Headteacher, a position that became substantive in January 2006. In July 2006 the school was told that it was to be rebuilt on the Orchard Hill Site, as a result of the One School Pathfinder Scheme. The school became a Lead School for Human Scale Education in 2008. It also became a Specialist school in September 2009 with a Combined Specialism in Applied Learning and Mathematics & Computing.