All you need to know

About EBS

EBS History

image of the original east barnet school building

East Barnet School first opened in 1937, but has only had five Headteachers in over 80 years of operation. We now have a state-of-the-art modern building which opened in September 2010 and was designed in close consultation with staff and students to capture the school’s “I want to learn” philosophy.

East Barnet School became an Academy in April 2011.

East Barnet Modern School opened in April 1937 with 200 pupils who had transferred from other schools, spread across four year groups. The first Headteacher, Allan Clayton, soon changed the name of the new school buildings in Chestnut Grove to East Barnet Grammar School.

The premises had been built for 350, but by 1947 it was housing 547 students. Various additions of classrooms and labs were made between 1948 and 1958. Major building work between 1961 and 1965 added a new assembly hall, gym, music rooms and dining halls.

A new era started in September 1971 when East Barnet Grammar School became East Barnet Senior High School, a comprehensive school for students aged 14-18. In 1976 John Hampden School in Westbrook Crescent was combined with East Barnet School as an 11-18 co-educational comprehensive operating from two sites.

By the 1980’s the school was bulging at the seams and the tired old building was beginning to show its age. In the late 90’s, despite the limitations of the crumbling building the school’s excellent reputation continued to grow and such was its popularity with the community that the school was regularly over subscribed.

Perhaps the most exciting chapter in the school’s history began in 2007 when, not only had OFSTED judged the school to be ‘outstanding’ for the second time, we also obtained planning permission for a new ‘21st Century’ state-of-the-art building.

Officially opened in March 2011 by HRH The Duke of Gloucester, the new building has facilities and creates experiences that match the talents, abilities and aspirations of students and teachers alike; indeed the school confidently extends and continues to develop its “I want to learn” culture way beyond the threshold of the building and into the wider school community.

East Barnet School has always been an exceptional place of learning, it has now become even more special and we welcome you to an ever expanding and exciting future.

The demolition and reconstruction of the East Barnet School buildings in 2010 can be found on our YouTube channel.

Our Philosophy

Our Motto, “I want to learn”, reflects a belief that motivation is the most important factor for achieving success in education. We also know that interesting and challenging lessons, combined with a culture where educational success is valued and respected by all members of the school community, will ensure that students remain focused on learning. Our success in achieving such a culture is undoubtedly the reason for the high academic standards and popularity of EBS.

EBS Principle

Academic success is not our only focus. “Respect yourself, others and your environment” forms the basis of our commitment to help students develop into responsible young people, who can make a positive contribution to society. We are proud of being a true comprehensive school, where students throughout the ability range are able to achieve success. We celebrate our diversity and respect the heritage, religion and culture of all our students and staff.

Key to Success

A number of our members of staff have children who attend the school, and many were former students themselves. We therefore have a very strong community spirit and are committed to providing all our children with the best education possible. If you decide that East Barnet School provides the type of learning environment which will suit your child, and are fortunate enough to be offered a place, we hope your association with us will be a long and happy one.

L. Swaine, Headteacher

Modern and State-of-the-Art

We are very proud of our school and the facilities we have to offer. We aim to provide the highest quality of education for our students and equally aim to maintain the highest possible standards in our facilities.

The school boasts an auditorium seating up to 700 people, a versatile sports hall with full basketball court, netball courts, 5-a-side football and indoor cricket nets and a 3G Astroturf pitch. There are also dedicated drama and dance studios, a collaborative science laboratory, several IT suites, specialised technology rooms with the most up-to-date equipment including 3D printers with a thriving robotics programme and over 50 fully equipped classrooms.

Inspiring Students

As a student at EBS, you’ll benefit from excellent teaching, which will help you to fulfill your potential and realise your career ambitions and also enjoy varied, challenging and exciting extra-curricular activities, not to mention our legendary annual ski trip!

We pride ourselves on pastoral care and consider student wellbeing a crucial element to success. We were recently awarded the ‘School Mental Health Award’ at Silver Level with the school recognised as having a warm and nurturing environment where staff and students are well supported.

The safeguarding of students is our top priority.

Alumni Community

We love to hear from previous students of East Barnet School and are always keen to keep in touch during their onward adventures. In 2011 we celebrated our 75th anniversary and had students from across the decades (even in their 90s!) return for a celebration in our new building.

Once students join our school, they begin a lifetime’s association with our community, and many come back to work as teachers or support staff, whilst others send their own children (and even grandchildren) to the school, or offer support as mentors, coaches, interviewers, etc. We also offer former students opportunities for work placements so that they can gain experience, careers advice, or just a sense of belonging to such a vibrant and stimulating community. Former members of staff also remain part of our community, and many of them come back for social occasions or even for career advice and support.

A Timeline of EBS History

1937
1938
1939
1944
1945
1946
1947
1951
1953
1955
1957
1960
1961
1965
1967
1970
1971
1972
1976
1983
1985
1987
1988
199?
1998
2005
2007
2008
2010
2011
2012
2018
2020

1937

East Barnet Modern School opens its doors to 64 pupils in two classes (or forms). Mr Allan Clayton is Headmaster.

1938

The school’s first 3 candidates sit the General School Certificate examination.

1939

Britain joins the war against Germany. School is closed for 2 months whilst air raid shelters are constructed. School name is changed to East Barnet County School.

1944

Education Act is passed in Parliament promising, “Secondary Education for All”.

1945

War ends. 450 pupils enrolled. Rationing continues to impact school life.

1946

Memorial Fund for Old Boys who have lost their lives in the War is established. First ski trip takes place with 68 pupils. Rationing eases. First edition of the School Magazine is published.

1947

Mr Clayton changes the school name to East Barnet Grammar School. “Open” entry to school for all pupils passing the 11+. School population soars to 547 in a building built for 350. Nissen huts arrived to provide additional classroom space.

1951

General Certificate of Education (O Level) replaces the old School Certificate qualifications. Swimming offered to pupils using facilities at Church Hill School.

1953

Queen’s Coronation – students attend screening of “A Queen is crowned” at the Odeon.

1955

Influenza epidemic – 216 absentees in a single day. 24 pupils go to university. A record number.

1957

Four form entry due to post war baby boom. 314 boys and 294 girls registered.

1960

My Clayton retires. Mr Angus Johnston takes over as Headteacher.

1961

Work on new school building commences.

1965

30th March new school buildings open. Basketball and Tennis join the PE curriculum.

1967

East Barnet Grammar School Association was formed by parents to support the school. This evolved into the PTA that exists to this day.

1970

Original Headmaster, Mr Allan Clayton dies.

1971

Ceases to be a Grammar school and becomes East Barnet High School, part of a new “comprehensive” system. East Barnet Senior High at Chestnut Grove and East Barnet Junior High at Westbrook Crescent. In December, Mr Johnston leaves the school and Mr Richard Hurdman takes over as Headmaster.

1972

The statutory minimum school leaving age is raised to 16.

1976

Junior and Senior schools formally combine to create a single school spread over two sites.

1983

Jim fixed it for pop band Culture Club to play in school assembly at Westbrook Crescent.

1985

Live Aid.

1987

Golden Reunion takes place in June with more than 1800 attendees.

1988

School reorganises with a Sixth Form and 5th Year moving to Westbrook Crescent site and Years 1 – 4 moving to Chestnut Grove. GCE (O Levels) replaced with new GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education).

199?

School uniform policy is changed to allow girls to wear trousers, sometime in the 1990s. The exact date remains a mystery!

1998

Mr Hurdman retires after 27 years. Mr Nick Christou takes over as Headteacher. School motto becomes, “I want to learn”.

2005

The school is designated as a Technology College securing extra funding for IT, Science and Technology Departments.

2007

Planning permission is granted for both JCoSS (Jewish Community Secondary School) and the new East Barnet School.

2008

EBS is designated a “High performing Specialist School”.

2010

In June, staff and pupils transfer into the new school building at Chestnut Grove combining all years from ages 11 – 18 on one site. JCoSS opens at Westbrook Crescent. Nobel laureate Tim Hunt opens Faraday Science facilities.

2011

New school is officially opened by the Duke of Gloucester in March.

2012

The school’s 75th year is celebrated with a reunion for all former pupils and teachers in the new school buildings at Chestnut Grove.

2018

Mr N Christou retires after 20 years. Ms L Swaine takes over as Headteacher.

2020

Due to Coronavirus, the school, and the country goes into lockdown.

Previous EBS Headteachers

Mr Allan Clayton
(1937 – 1960)

More on Allan Clayton

The imposing figure of Allan Clayton loomed large over the early years of the school. A strict disciplinarian who could strike fear into the hearts of wayward students; and a dedicated schoolmaster with a passion for sport and academic achievement. He devoted himself to the development of the school and its pupils and inspired great loyalty from many of those who passed through the School during his tenure as Headmaster. He led the school from its founding, through the traumatic years of war and on through the fifties.

I never measured him, but I think he was 6 feet 4 inches tall. Certainly, he wore rimless glasses, and rubber soled shoes, all of which enabled him to appear out of nowhere.

– Leon King writing in 2010 Association Newsletter

Mr Angus Johnston
(1960 – 1971)

More on Angus Johnston

Angus Johnston had big shoes to fill when he took over from Mr Clayton in 1960. Under his tutilage the School continued to thrive and music was introduced to the curriculum.

As a Justice of the Peace he was an active member of the community and was fondly remembered by many, including John Lambert who recalls the Johnston era, below:

Angus Johnston and I were ‘new boys’ together – he as Headmaster and I as a pupil…He was a fine musician, and saw to it that music flourished. He was no pushover…he could certainly be a daunting figure when roused and was a dab hand at a tongue-lashing…”

– John Lambert (1960-1968) in 2010 newsletter

Mr Richard Hurdman
(1971 – 1998)

More on Richard Hurdman

Richard Hurdman joined the school in the seventies when the Comprehensive system was in its infancy and views on education and discipline were changing. For all of his tenancy, EBS was divided into Upper and Lower schools on sites at Chestnut Grove and Westbrook Crescent, hence giving him many major logistical challenges to cope with. As if that weren’t enough, he also had to deal with platform shoes, long hair, Glam-Rockers, Punks, Casuals, Goths and Skinheads – and that was just in the staff room!

Mr Nick Christou
(1998 – 2018)

ebs former headteacher n christou

More on Nick Christou

Nick Christou took over as Headteacher, just before the start of the new millennium and was running East Barnet School during two very important parts of our history. The first was becoming an academy in 2010 and the second was overseeing the new state-of-the-art building we have today in 2011. After 20 years of leadership, Nick Christou retired, but still maintains a part of the EBS Community.

Uniform Through the Ages

We have come a long way since boys in caps and short trousers, girls in handmade summer frocks and prefects in gowns, but EBS continues firm in the belief that a common uniform for the student body reflects pride in one’s school and provides an essential sense of identity for all students, both in and around the school.

However strict the rules, students have always found room for individual interpretation and the reflection of current fashion trends. Various student-led campaigns over the years have sought, with little success, to abolish or modify the uniform. One concession made in recent years was the decision taken in the mid-nineties, to grant girls the option of wearing trousers. Interestingly it seems that the vast majority of girls continue to choose to wear skirts even through the winter months. Looking at how the EBS uniform has evolved over 80 years says an awful lot about how fashions and conventions have changed and in some cases repeated themselves.

Thirties & Forties

During and after the War, clothes rationing and general austerity made strict adherence to a uniform nigh on impossible. Make do and mend was very much the order of the day.

1930s school photo of students

Pamela Anderson (née Shirley) wrote in the 1987 Reunion brochure about her time at East Barnet School during World War II. Her recollections reflect a very different attitude to clothing than the throwaway culture of cheap imports we are now accustomed to:

“….it was back to the maroon tunic, butcher-blue blouse and grey lisle stockings again; the cloth hat in winter and the chip-straw hat in summer… It was still wartime when I left East Barnet Grammar School. My tunic was turned into a skirt for lack of clothing coupons and my jumper was unraveled and re-knitted into something more fashionable.”

Miss Brooks (Senior Mistress 1944 – 1967) also noted the problems of enforcing uniform during that period:

“Commonplace uniform was achieved with difficulty, games kits were often bizarre; the girls played hockey and netball without skirts over their navy blue knickers, and without stockings…”

Mickey Bennett (pictured) who attended the school in the 1940s recalls his well-worn blazer:

“I attended East Barnet from 1942 to 1947 and I reckon that this photo was taken around 1945/46, probably 1945. I’m afraid it doesn’t exactly show much of a uniform, just blazer and grey trousers for the boys although I do remember having a school tie and cap.

“If the photo was taken in ‘45 then I would have been in the third year at the time and by the look of the length of sleeve and the tight fit then I would reckon it was probably the original blazer I had when I first started at the school. Being wartime years, clothing was rationed of course.”

1940s girls
3rd Form Girls in a diverse range of frocks, 1949-1950 (photo Brian Pritchard).

Fifties

Uniform in the Fifties was strict and strictly enforced.

1950s students

1950s students

Derek and David (pictured), looked every inch the archetypal 1950s school boys of popular imagination. Caps, blazers and shorts redolent of Jennings and Just William, ready for school and lots of japes, complete with pens in breast pockets, and, no doubt, their shorts’ pockets filled with conkers and string. All boys were compelled to wear short trousers throughout the year, until either they reached the second year or they reached a certain height, whichever occurred first.

Sue Kingston (pictured with her friends), remembers the girls’ uniforms of her schooldays in the 1950s:

Students in the 1950s
Girls on the grass below the tennis courts in June 1958. From left to right: Moira Blue, Susan Bell, Christine Squires, Cynthia Hill, Sandra Clement, Anita Hollingsworth, Janet Elborne, Sheila X and Diane David (Photo courtesy of Susan Kingston (née Bell 1955-1961).

“I believe that the regulation blue and white check dress material was in the process of being replaced by a blue and white floral design which explains why we are not all dressed exactly the same. There was a choice of necklines – either v-necked or rounded but always with a collar. Some skirts had pleats while others were circular. I don’t think that the belts were at all regulation! I know that mine was wide black elastic. The cardigans were maroon wool. We wore blazers as well in the summer and always our berets when travelling to and from school – under threat of a detention if caught without wearing one. I wish that I had some photos of my winter uniform but unfortunately do not. Maroon serge pleated gymslips were worn in Years 1 and 2 and then maroon serge gored skirts were approved. Ties were always worn, shirts were long sleeved blue vyella. I also remember wearing a maroon gabardine hooded mac with a detachable woolen lining for the really cold months.”

students on the school field in 1952
Boys relax on the field in 1952: Price, Pearman, Bunyan (part hidden) Jones, Leverton and Matthews (photo Brian Pritchard)

In his letter to parents, at the end of the summer term in 1956, Headmaster Clayton showed an impressive grasp of female tailoring terminology in his description of the new girls; coat available from the ‘Outfitter’.

a letter from the first headteacher

After his detailed description of its “gored back and attractive revers” and “shot-silk lining”, many parents felt compelled to part with 117/6d to see their daughters adorned in such quality apparel. It certainly seems a far cry from the Teflon-coated polyester uniform offerings available today from supermarkets among other places.

form 1 in 1959
Form 1 of 1959 (photo courstesy of John Danter) Back row L to R: Phil Sutcliffe, John Strongman, Mary Harris, Barry Jones, Richard White, Dave Smith, Doug Keep, Geoff Painter, Anthony Bushell, Keith Burridge, Howard Amos, Johnny Meads, Mark Cowling. Middle 2 rows unidentified (the girls were obviously a mystery to young John) apart from: far left Colin Daniels, Mr. Hearing, Christine Wade (partially obscured 3 to Mr. Hearing’s left), kneeling far R – Derek Walker. Front row L to R: John Danter, Alan Williams, Mick Stevens, Andy Sharp.
students in the fifties
Form 1A in 1955 (photo courtesy Susan Kingston).
5th form ebs boys
5th Form boys on a trip to Cambridge in 1950, including: Pinnock, Hudson, Peter Coster, Geoff Curnow, Geoff Bradford, Pearson, Cooper, Dearman, Roy Cheek, Phillips, Brian Rix, Mick Hancock, Colin George, Jack Williams. (photo courtesy Colin George).
teachers and prefects in the 50s
Below: Masters, Mistresses and Prefects of 1956 (photo courtesy of Brian Pritchard).

 

Sixties

London may have been swinging, but detention was still inevitable for those caught making the journey to school without their cap or beret firmly in place.

1960s students in the field

Pictured above, a first trip to the Verulamium in St Albans in 1960. Photo supplied by Jennifer Ayto who describes herself as a “very old Grammarian” and who noted that the two teachers escorting the trip, Mr Morris and Miss Evans were later to become Mr and Mrs Morris!

Christopher Wheeler, pictured far right, remembers his uniform of 1965:

1960s boy

“This picture is of me at the back of my house in September 1965… my brother tells me that buying a uniform in 1958 was from a supplier who visited the school (this makes me laugh as that had all the style of the public school system where uniforms were certainly not and are still not sold through retailers….it shows how close the grammar schools were to the public schools in many ways in the 1950s). By my time Frank Hill in East Barnet had become the supplier of choice for school uniforms. I apologise for the ‘ghost’ on my picture. Put it down to the wonders of the Brownie 127 box camera in 1965.

I remember being mortified, as being tall I wore long trousers at Littlegrove Primary School (now Danegrove). However, my parents felt that might seem presumptuous when starting at the Grammar School, and hence forced me to be one of only five or six boys who wore shorts……thankfully that all changed by Christmas.”

Ros De La Bertauche (née Boswell) recalls the limitations of her 1960s uniform:

1960s girl

“The skirt was made from pure wire wool (my mother called it ‘serge’) and the blouse pulled straight out if you lifted your arms even a tiny bit (no stretch fabric in those days). We had a maroon wool beret, which we all folded into a quarter of a circle and pinned to the back of our heads, so that we didn’t get a detention for not wearing it. It shrunk in the rain to a very thick small size anyway. I had a blazer too, but I don’t think I wore it much.”

students and teachers in the 60s
The top stream of Form 4 looking happy in 1963 (photo courtesy of Roger Hunt EBS 1959-66).

Seventies

Surely a highlight in the school’s fashion history, the 1970s saw pupils taking to the skies on windy days as their collars caught the breeze.

70s students

These selection of photos were taken in the period referred to as a “mistake” in Mr Hurdman’s quote (below). The uniform regulations were rather lax and, as you can see, open to a wide range of interpretation. Jumpers could be blue, grey or maroon. Shirts could be white or pale blue and collars knew no bounds. Ties were for boys only and it seems a range of styles were acceptable. Frank Hill and Yvonnes were the official uniform suppliers, but Edmonton market was also a popular option.

1980 students

“I arrived in the midst of the mini-skirt period and when most of the Sixth Form boys had shoulder length hair. Since then many other fashions such as midi-skirts, platform soles, Dr Martens leather boots and coloured hairstyles have come and gone. Some of you will remember the fuss made about trousers for girls. Those who planned the re-organisation of the school wished to allow pupils a choice of colour for their school uniform; experience proved that this was a mistake and maroon is once more the only colour allowed. I believe that the wheel has now turned full circle and that parents are again ready to support regulations about outdoor jackets, shoes and other matters and our modified uniform regulations reflect this belief.”

Mr Hurdman writing in 1987 for the previous reunion brochure

Eighties

Believe it or not, most of the people shown here are wearing school uniform!

80s students

The early 1980s saw the rise of the label-conscious trend of ‘the Casuals’ which saw many students dressed like middle-aged golfers, in luxury sports brands such as Pringle, Lyle and Scott, Sergio Tacchini, Kappa and Lacoste, not to mention those timeless Italian brands of Gabbicci, and Leo Gemelli.

80s school trip

For those who attended the school during this era, students were able to take advantage of the relatively loose uniform regulations of the time and indulge in all the wonders of 1980s fashion. Blazers were virtually unheard of during this period replaced by snorkel parkas with fake-fur trim or by leather (“levva”) jackets. Jumpers were big, but hair was bigger. Ties were narrow, as were skirts. If a skirt wasn’t deemed narrow enough, then a girl’s sewing skills would be employed in taking it in. Judging by the quality of some of these alterations and the consequent repairs to the splits at the back of the skirts, most girls’ sewing skills left something to be desired!

80s students

students in the 80s

When it came to school uniform, there was one true enforcer, as recalled by Anna Bowman (1982-89):

“Mrs Weller – silent but deadly – she’d float around looking a bit like Bod in her black cape, and she’d whisper at you to get rid of your jewellery. Very intimidating.”

Based upon the evidence, it would seem that Mrs Weller’s best efforts to smarten students up, were in vain.

boy and girl in 80sstudents in the classroom in the 80sstudents in the field in the 80s80s students

Nineties

The 1990s is decade that girls at East Barnet School were given the opportunity to wear trousers as part of the school uniform!

90s school year photo

At some point in the 1990s the long-running grumble regarding girls and trousers was finally rewarded with girls being granted the option of wearing trousers. This decade also saw the return of a more strictly applied uniform code.

Gone was the loose guidance that had enabled the pupils of the 70s and 80s to indulge their colour preferences so freely. Shirts were to be white, jumpers and skirts, maroon and trousers, tights and shoes black.

Unfortunately, we have been unable to source more pictures representing the school in the 90s, if any alumni would like to contribute to this page, please send images to enquiries@eastbarnetschool.com.

21st Century

Today’s school uniform has evolved quite a lot from its origins 75 years ago.

students in the 21st century

Whilst ties and badges remain much the same as the originals, black is now the dominant colour with the traditional maroon present only in the girls’ skirts (which may be substituted with black trousers if the girls so choose). Interestingly, despite having the option of wearing trousers, most girls continue to choose to wear a skirt.

The age old practice of buying uniform a couple of sizes too big, to allow for room for ‘growing into’ continues!

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