History of Shaftesbury

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The development of the site commenced during the late 1940s, as a requirement to service the needs of the new L.C.C estate being constructed. The plans called for a large Senior School and an Infants and Junior school. The Senior School opened in 1949 as ‘Blackwell County Secondary School’, now renamed as ‘Hatch End High School’. The Infants School on our site opened with the entrance in Long Elmes. Students from ‘Headstone Lane Infants School’, at that time known as ‘Pinner National School’, moved in to the partially completed building on the 27 April 1949. The school was then named ‘Chantry Infants and Junior School’. Chantry was derived from the land on which the building was taking place, as a chapel had stood there, and also after Chantry Hamlet whose boundary was adjacent to Headstone Lane. In fact the large tree in the centre of the playground is one of the remaining line of boundary marking trees. The Junior School eventually opened on the 4th September 1951 in what is now our building, with its entrance in Headstone Lane. Part of the function of the school was to serve the needs of traveller families. With such a fluid school role it meant that by the early 1960s the role was so small that on the 12 September 1961 the Juniors combined with the Infants, in the Infants School. On the same date Shaftesbury Special School relocated from their premises in the old Harrow Weald Junior School in the High Road, where Waitrose now stands, into the junior school site. Chantry School carried on, but with the additional problem of falling birth rates, the school role had fallen to 100 in the late 1970s. The then Secretary of State for Education, Shirley Williams, signed the order for Chantry School to close. Chantry School then closed on the 31 August 1978.

There was a proposal in 1979 to move the Teachers Centre, located at that time in the old ‘Vaughan Road Primary School’, into the closed building, but that never materialised. The infants site was then used as a council storage area until eventually there was a major change. In 1989 the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster took over the site and relocated St. Teresa’s Primary School from their site in the Uxbridge Road, where Morrisons now stands.

Our school first started in the immediate post war era as ‘Harrow Special School for the Educationally Sub-Normal’, and was housed in the old Harrow Weald Junior School. It is however recorded that in 1954 the members of the Harrow Education Committee felt that the title was demeaning and voted for a change. It was unanimously decided to rename the school ‘Shaftesbury Special School’ in recognition of the 7th Lord Shaftesbury’s connection with Harrow and for his work for children. Shaftesbury Special School relocated to its present site in 1961.

In 1993 the Local Education Authority confirmed that Shaftesbury School would become a secondary focused school for pupils with a range of needs, rather than be an all aged school for pupils with moderate learning difficulties. This process would take a period of time, and would happen alongside Alexandra School’s development from that of an all aged school for pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties to that of a primary focused school for pupils with a range of needs. In 1997 the school was redeveloped as you see it now and renamed Shaftesbury High School.