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Article by Margaret Craddock (1978, amended 2005)

History of Education in

Burton Latimer

Part IX - Later Years

In 1961 the old St Mary's Infants School was almost burned down. (click here for newspaper report)

The original Endowed Grammar School is no longer a school but has been restored and used as a private dwelling, much of the original architecture remaining intact. 

View of Old Jacobean School as a private residence - 2006
Old Jacobean School - now private residence

The Church Mixed School reverted to its original purpose and became an Infant school serving the Church end of the parish and the eastern part of the town.

It ceased as school in 1982 and is now a private residence. 

The Finedon Road Infants School continued as a Mission Church serving the Finedon Road end of the parish for many years but became a private residence in the 1970’s. 

The Victorian Council School (Board School), in the centre of the town, was converted in 1970 to a Junior School and renamed East Lea. (Click here for articles relating to school developments.) It became East Lea St Mary’s Voluntary Controlled School in 1982 and in 1999 became St Mary's Church of England Controlled School when all schools had the opportunity to change their names and the Governors agreed to revert to the original name of the 16th century Church School. It is now known as St Mary’s Church of England Primary School for Infants and Juniors. (Click here for Town Trail point 23) This follows controversy which again divided the town - as previously happened in the late 19th century. In 1973-4 the Local Education Authority together with the Diocese endeavoured to deprive the Church School of its Juniors and make it an Aided Infant School. In 1974 East Lea Junior School was set up as an LEA school in the old High Street buildings and took the Church School Juniors. Shortly afterwards there were moves afoot to discontinue the Church School. The planning was to have all pupils at Meadowside but the population of the town expanded and East Lea had to continue, combining with the Church Aided Infant School which moved to the old buildings on the same site as East Lea and the two schools became a Church Controlled School. (Click here for letters relating to these events.)

Two new schools, Meadowside Infants and Juniors were provided in 1971 and 1976 to the west of the town (Click here for Town Trail point 16) because of the large increase in the population due to the expansion in recent years. 

Aerial photograph of Meadowside School taken in 1971
Aerial view of Meadowside School 1971

Since 1953 all children over the age of 11 have been transported by bus to a choice of Kettering Secondary Schools (formerly decided by the 11+ selection) or more latterly to Barton Seagrave where the purpose-built comprehensive school, Latimer, serves Barton Seagrave and Burton Latimer, as well as those pupils who wish to attend from other parts of the borough.  This school welcomed its first pupils in September 1976 and was officially opened by the Duchess of Gloucester on 11 March 1977.  As early as 1961 Burton Latimer was fighting for a secondary school as the following cutting from the Evening Telegraph shows:

'Tackle the Minister' bid over Burton school plea

Because of "unsatisfactory replies from the county education officer" Burton Latimer Councillors are to be asked at their meeting tonight to go direct to the Minister of Education to try to get the town a secondary modern school.

The finance and general purposes committee is recommending that the matter should be placed before the Minister of Education, and that a copy of the letter to the Minister should be sent to the local MP, Mr Gilbert Mitchison.

"It seems to the committee," reads its report, "that the people of Burton Latimer were not being treated fairly by the county council over the provision of a secondary modern school and, while the committee did not expect Burton Latimer to receive any special priority, it did expect that the town should be given at least as much consideration as a new area of population."

Pupils in the 11+ age range from Burton Latimer also have the opportunity to attend other senior schools within the area.

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