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Primary Schools

Springfield County Primary: Honeypot Lane, Fryerns

Springfield School    
Location: Gloucester Park hill
Photographer: Unknown
Year of photo: c.1980s
Copyright: ?
Comments: Springfield school seen from Gloucester Park hill opposite.

In the early 1960s Basildon's status as a new town was still in its infancy but with an increasing population the existing schools were often over subscribed. It was during these times that Springfield County Infants' and Junior School opened in January 1962. It was the second of three planned temporary schools for mixed children below senior entry; the others being Bryn (opened 1958) and Chowdhary (opened 1966/67).

The school was built in Honeypot Lane to serve the Fryerns and Ghyllgrove housing estates erected from the mid 1950s onwards. At the time of opening there were infant and first and second year junior classes with some of the intake transferring from the nearby Bryn and Manor schools.

The first Headmaster of the junior school was Mr. Kenneth H. Duckworth and Mrs. F. Patis was the first Headmistress of the infant school.

The school was predominately single-storey with a single upper block for the juniors. Additional on-site facilities included a swimming pool and a large playing field bordering open fields which in the 1970s become the site of St. Anselms (since renamed De La Salle) Catholic secondary school.

During the first half of 1965 the junior headmaster Mr. Duckworth transferred to nearby Manor Junior School. His replacement from September was Mr. P.C. Cotgrove who spent 4 years as head leaving in July 1969 to take charge from September at the new Grange Junior School in Wickford. Mrs. Audrey Cuerden, who was then Deputy Headmistress, was appointed Acting Headteacher in the interim. A new junior Headteacher, Mr. E.H. King took over around 1970 followed by Mr. E.G. Grother and in the infant school Mrs. I.G. Turburville became Headteacher around 1972.

In the 1970s the infants and junior merged to become Springfield County Primary.

The school closed at the end of the summer term in 1985 as a result of falling pupil numbers and was demolished soon after. Mrs. V. Williams was Headteacher at the time of closure. Pupil numbers had been decreasing since the late 1960s which caused the then head Peter Cotgrove to leave because he wished to take charge of a larger school.

In 1982 a remedial advisory service known as the Springfield Centre was based at the school. The remedial education adviser was Mrs. V. O'Brien. It kept its Springfield Centre name when Essex County Council later transferred the service to Fryerns School in Craylands.

After demolition the site remained undeveloped for a number of years until the 1990s when a portion of the land was developed as a residential care home for old people called Ghyll Grove. The remainder of the site was then built over with a new housing development and given the name Ghyllgrove Close.

Teachers known to have taught there include: Mrs. Revell, Mrs. Margaret Calvey, Mrs. Langley, Mrs. Chapman, who also played piano, Mrs. Wallace, Mrs. Rosbrook, Mr. Gardiner, Mr. Ainstead, who was also the Deputy Head, Mrs. Warden, Mr. Mabbutt, Mr. Taylor, Mrs. Fester, Mr. Grocer, Mrs. Crocombe, Mrs. Laing, Mr. Davis, Mrs. Lundy, Miss Root, Mr. Jerry, Miss Thrush and Mrs. Dickinson.

Mrs. Guy was the school receptionist and nurse in the years leading up to final closure.

The schools' caretaker from the 1960s and possibly through to closure was Mr. M. Venn, who lived nearby in The Upway.

Other points of interest:

1) The name Springfield had previous ties to the area; there once having been a Springfield Road which ran between the original course of Honeypot Lane and Church Road, which disappeared during Basildon Development Corporation's transformation of the area.

2) From the academic year 1990-1991 the school numbering system was changed to run consecutive from primary school onwards. The first year of secondary school is now known as Year 7.

Page added: 2013
Text researched and written by William Cox, 2013 with revisions 2023.
Copyright © 2013, 2023, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.

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