East Barnet School first opened in 1937, but has only had five Headteachers in over 80 years of history. 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.
East Barnet Modern School opens its doors to 64 pupils in two classes (or forms). Mr Allan Clayton is Headmaster.
The school’s first 3 candidates sit the General School Certificate examination.
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.
Education Act is passed in Parliament promising, “Secondary Education for All”.
War ends. 450 pupils enrolled. Rationing continues to impact school life.
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.
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.
General Certificate of Education (O Level) replaces the old School Certificate qualifications. Swimming offered to pupils using facilities at Church Hill School.
Queen’s Coronation – students attend screening of “A Queen is crowned” at the Odeon.
Influenza epidemic – 216 absentees in a single day. 24 pupils go to university. A record number.
Four form entry due to post war baby boom. 314 boys and 294 girls registered.
My Clayton retires. Mr Angus Johnston takes over as Headteacher.
Work on new school building commences.
30th March new school buildings open. Basketball and Tennis join the PE curriculum.
East Barnet Grammar School Association was formed by parents to support the school. This evolved into the PTA that exists to this day.
Original Headmaster, Mr Allan Clayton dies.
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.
The statutory minimum school leaving age is raised to 16.
Junior and Senior schools formally combine to create a single school spread over two sites.
Jim fixed it for pop band Culture Club to play in school assembly at Westbrook Crescent.
Golden Reunion takes place in June with more than 1800 attendees.
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).
School uniform policy is changed to allow girls to wear trousers, sometime in the 1990s. The exact date remains a mystery!
Mr Hurdman retires after 27 years. Mr Nick Christou takes over as Headteacher. School motto becomes, “I want to learn”.
The school is designated as a Technology College securing extra funding for IT, Science and Technology Departments.
Planning permission is granted for both JCoSS (Jewish Community Secondary School) and the new East Barnet School.
EBS is designated a “High performing Specialist School”.
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.
New school is officially opened by the Duke of Gloucester in March.
The school’s 75th year is celebrated with a reunion for all former pupils and teachers in the new school buildings at Chestnut Grove.
Mr N Christou retires after 20 years. Ms L Swaine takes over as Headteacher.
Due to Coronavirus, the school, and the country goes into lockdown.
EBS celebrates 85 years of education with a huge Summer Fayre.
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
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
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!
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.
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 years of history 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.