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A Brief History of Townsend Church of England School

History compiled by Mrs. P. Carnell and Mr. D.G. Pugh


The Townsend Church of England School Foundation Charter
23rd February 1933

Dean Henderson's vision in 1930 was for a Church School for girls and one for boys. The senior departments of St. Michaels, Christ Church and The Abbey were to be incorporated to form the new schools. The Churches involved were St. Michaels, Christ Church in Verulam Road, The Abbey and St. Saviours.

The chosen site in Townsend Drive (now occupied by the Music School) was inspected and the raising of funds began, with parishioners subscribing freely.

The boys and girls took to school their "pennies for bricks", giving from their pocket money, knowing that many of them would never attend the new building.


The Girls looking after the School Grounds 1936

The Foundation Stone was laid in 1932 and the building began. In June 1933 a Fair opened by Princess Marie Louise was held in the Abbey Orchard and £1,000 was raised.


The Townsend Church of England School Foundation Charter 23rd February 1933


Boys visit to Portsmouth


Townsend Girls perform A Midsummer Nights Dream in the Bishops Garden at the Abbey in July 1935

By September 1933 the building was completed, except for the Dining Hall, which was built later. There were no grounds staff but the boys worked during their gardening lessons and the girls spent their dinner hours taming the rough clay and creating a rockery, flower borders and a rose bed.

Miss Rollin was the first Head Teacher of the Girls' School, with five members of Staff and 180 girls in five classes.

Mr. Watson was the Head Teacher of the Boys' School with three members of staff and 111 boys in three classes.


Jubilee Activities Clarence Park May 6th 1935


Senior Girls' Choir 1939


Football Team 1939

The War period of 1939 - 1945 was a very difficult time. Once a week each member of Staff had to remain at school all night after a day's teaching on "Fire Watch" and continue teaching the following day. Pupils kept their coats, gas masks and cushions in their desks so that in the event of an alert they were able to leave carrying their cushions and masks and enter the air raid shelters in perfect order and silence. Suitable lessons would continue in the air raid shelter until the "all clear" sounded and the pupils returned to their classrooms.


Townsend Staff in the early years

Miss Rowland took over as Head of the Girls' School in 1953. Her enthusiasm, planning and endeavour led to the new building at High Oaks.

The Foundation Stone for the new building in High Oaks was laid in September 1963 and the opening of Townsend Girls' School took place in June 1965.


The Victorious 1952 Football Team


Staff at the Boys School in 1958
Information from Ray (Rajinder) Khuller


Townsend Staff - Can you help with the year?


Walking to the Abbey for one of the 1954 Abbey Services
These Banners are now on display the the School Foundation Foyer


1956 Girls at Townsend


1956 Girls Netball Teams


Townsend production - The Bailiffs' Daughter - 1957


Townsend production - A Midsummer Nights Dream - May 1959


Moving into the New School in 1964


"Basher" Bowman making tea


Donation of £650 to R.E.Hudson 1970


Technology Lessons 1960


Townsend Trip to Holland 1974


Townsend Trip to Holland 1974

Townsend Boys' School took over the whole of the site in Townsend Drive, remaining there until July 1974.

In September 1974, Miss Legerton who had followed Miss Rowland as Head Teacher of the Girls' School in 1973, became Head of the merged school. The official opening of the Townsend Church of England School at the High Oaks site, was performed by the Dowager Duchess of Gloucester in May 1975.

The Original "Foundation Stones" from the previous school sites, can be found in the "Founders Entrance".


HRH Princess Alice Duchess of Gloucester performs the Official Opening in May 1975


Swimming Team 1975


Charity Walk for the Queens Jubilee 1977


School Production of "Oliver" in 1979


The Cast of Oliver" 1979


Football Team 1981 - 1982


Rugby Team 1981 - 1982

Early in 1979, The Heathlands School for the Deaf in St. Albans, set up a Secondary Department..

After approaching several other secondary schools in St. Albans unsuccessfully, they were welcomed by Townsend and their Secondary Department started using the Townsend School facilities in September 1979.


Head Teacher Mrs. P. M. Legerton 1983

September 1983 saw the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the setting up of the first Townsend School.

In February 1987, Mrs. S. Greenfield became the Head Teacher and within eight weeks of her taking over, the school was threatened with closure by the Local Education Authority.


Netball Team 1983


School Orchestra 1983


Fifty Year Reunion 1933 - 1983


A Walk Down Memory Lane - 50th Anniversary Celebrations 1983


Townsend Students in 1985

The next few years at Townsend were very stressful for everyone.

The threat of closure fused all those who loved Townsend into a dynamic driving force.

Students, past and present, teachers, parents and governors fought a long and vigorous campaign to keep the school open.

In 1991 the long term future of Townsend was finally secured.


Head Teacher Mrs. Greenfield M.B.E. 1987


Townsend "Saved"


Girls Cross-Country Team make the National Finals

 


Past Townsend Staff


Past Townsend Pupils

 

 

 

September 1993, saw the 60th Anniversary celebrations of the setting up of the first Townsend School. The occasion was marked with reunions, a Charity Walk and a whole School photograph.

 

Mr. A. Wellbeloved our present Head Teacher was appointed in 1995. He already knew the school well, as he had been the Deputy Head Teacher for the previous four years.

In the 1990's after the threat of closure had been removed from the School, the school numbers grew quickly.

Infact, the pupil numbers increased so quickly that there was not enough classroom space to house them.


Mrs J. Baggs (Deputy Head Teacher) making a speech at the 60th Anniversary Celebration


Head Teacher Mr. Wellbeloved 1995

 

In September 1996 a new building, housing the Learning Resources Centre, Sixth Form Study room and five English classrooms was opened. The official opening of the new building complex was performed by The Bishop of St. Albans, The Right Revd. Christopher Herbert in April 1997.


Courtyard and Learning Resources Centre


New Learning Resources Centre Opened in April 1997

1996 also saw several classrooms converted for the specialist use of the Heathlands hearing impaired pupils.

Recent years have seen the continued growth in popularity of Townsend Church of England School, with all years in the School now being oversubscribed.

In 1999 and again in 2005, Townsend was awarded the prestigious "Charter Mark" for excellence in Public Service by the Prime Minister.
In 2008, Townsend was awarded the Gold "Sports Mark" for excellence in Physical Education.
In 2001and again in 2005, Townsend gained the "Investors In People" award.
In 2002 and again in 2005 Townsend was awarded the Silver "Arts Mark" for excellence in Art, Drama and Music.

Townsend continues to go from strength to strength.


2003 - 70th Townsend Reunion

More than 700 students and staff from all of the decades, the 1930's, 1940's, 1950's, 1960's 1970's, 1980's and 1990's were present at the 70th Anniversary Celebrations.

 

In 2008, Townsend gained the "Eco Schools" award.

 

Eco-Schools is an international award programme that schools can achieve on their sustainable journey. It helps embed these principles into the heart of school life.

   

In 2009, Townsend was awarded "Humanities Specialist School" status

 

Townsend Church of England School has been designated a Specialist Humanities School. As a Humanities School we strive to foster an understanding of human values and attitudes, past and present and how society is organised, developed and changed.

   

In 2010, Townsend gained the "International Schools" award.

 

The International School Award is an accreditation scheme for curriculum-based international work in schools. The award provides recognition for schools working to instill a global dimension into the learning experience of all children and young people.

   
In 2011, Townsend School remodelled the Learning Resources Centre which was built as part of a new development in 1997. This new remodelled area has been re-branded as the Discovery Centre and houses modern extensive IT and media facilities as well as an extended library facility.
 
In 2011 - 12, an "Eco" garden was developed beside the Music rooms. This garden was set up as part of the Schools Humanities Specialism. The garden is maintained by each subject area on a rolling programme and provides food for the Food Technology department and the main school canteen.
 

NEW

DEVELOPMENTS

In 2012 two major projects took place:

Sixth Form Centre

The creation of a dedicated Sixth Form Centre, which includes, a Study Room, Common Room, three Lecture Rooms all with wireless connectivity.

Technology
Centre

Technology Centre

The redevelopment and refurbishment of the Technology Centre, which houses: Electronics, Plastics, Food and Resistant Materials rooms in a modern dedicated centre.

 

canopy

2014 Saw the culmination of a long term external project

The Installation of an all-weather Canopy outside the Large Canteen and Covered Walkways between Technology and Science and Science and the main teaching centre

 

violin

2015 The St Albans Music School relocates to the Townsend site

During the February half term, the St Albans Music School started migrating to the Townsend site. During the summer holidays the Music Centre and the western end of the main teaching block will be refurbished to meet the specialist needs of the Music School.

Things seemed to have moved full circle, as it was the Music School that moved onto the original Townsend School site in Townsend Drive when Townsend boys moved up to join the girls on the High Oaks site in 1974. It all feels just right!

 

Why not keep in touch?

townsend@staa.co.uk or writing to Pat via Townsend School.

 

"Best Wishes
to All Past Students and Staff
From All at Townsend"