Chalk Dell Infants School
By Geoffrey Cordingley
In the mid-sixties a group called the Managers of Hertford County Primary Schools ran the primary schools in Hertford. At a meeting on 22nd October 1964 the managers were informed that the new Infants’ School was expected to be completed by March 1965.
Also they considered the application from Hertford Nursery Schools Committee for permission to erect somewhere on the site an architect designed building for use as a nursery school to replace the Guide Hut in Pegs Lane which would be removed when the new link road (Gascoyne Way) was constructed. The managers were of the opinion that a well organised project such as this which would meet an essential educational need should be encouraged and approved the application in principle. It was agreed that the County Architect should be asked to advise the managers on the situation of the building so as to ensure that the facilities of the two schools on the site would be in no way impaired. The DEO (Divisional Education Officer) was asked to inform the CEO (County Education Officer) and the Nursery Schools Committee of the Managers’ views.
Presumably this building was the hut to the side of the Mandeville building which is now used as the Infant after-school club.
On Thursday, 11th March 1965, the DEO reported that Miss A B Martin, at present Headmistress of Parkway Infants’ School, would commence duties as Headmistress of Morgans Walk Infants with effect from 29th April 1965. At the same meeting the Managers recommended that the new Infants’ School be called Mandeville Infants’ School.
The first report from Miss Martin was given to the meeting on 24th June 1965 after which it was agreed that the amount of hard playing surface should be checked to see that it conformed to usual specifications. It was also noted that the field fencing and gates were not finished.
On 14th October 1965 it was agreed to recommend to the Education Committee that the existing group of schools should be split and two boards of managers appointed. It was thought that Morgans Walk J. M. and Chalk Dell Infants’ (the final name of the Infant school) should form one group, (Abel Smith, Faudell Phillips and Hollybush J. M. I. the other).
At the same meeting, if the amount of hard playing surface provided is standard, the Managers asked if additional asphalt could be provided as numbers increased. The Head reported that the floor surface of the hall had been inspected and would probably be re-sanded. The blocks were rising round the edge of the hall. Temporary repairs had been carried out and it would be dealt with permanently later. The DEO explained that outside PE apparatus would be provided later and more indoor apparatus, although climbing ropes were not normal Infants’ provision.
On 24th February 1966, The DEO reported that the Education Committee had approved the setting up of a second Board of Managers for Hertford Borough primary schools, along the lines suggested previously. It was agreed that there would be a combined meeting in the Spring Term and separate meetings in the summer.
At this time the number on role at Chalk Dell was 123. The following items would be considered, if money was available from the contract:
- a communicating door between rooms 5 and 6 (presumably the one now between the two Year 2 classes)
- the remainder of the walls in the classrooms to be covered with pin board,
- a “growing” pool to be built in the central quadrangle, ( Mr Carson, Rural Science Organiser, was rather doubtful of the success of the “growing” pool being built in such an enclosed area as the quadrangle. He had said it might be worth trying but that snails, weeds, etc. would have to be imported as it was unlikely to develop much life naturally. Mr Carson did not approve of the animal cages!!)
- a cover for the sandpit,
- bedevilled bricks for the edge of the sandpit,
- the counter in the kitchen to be lowered 3” or 4”,
- climbing ropes and ladders in the hall.
A class of 30 from Bengeo Infants’ School was using one of the spare classrooms.
The Managers congratulated the Head on the attractive work and decorations on the walls of the school.
At the meeting on 20th June, the first of the Group 1 managers, the number on roll was now 139, so with 38 being transferred to the Junior school in July, and an estimated admissions of 20, the estimated roll in September was 120! A parents evening was being held before the end of term and also a meeting to consider the formation of a Parent/Teacher Association.
The Managers noted that the only item, of the building appraisal meeting, so far tackled was the provision of bedevilled tiles round the paddling pool and they asked to be informed whether the other improvements could be implemented. The DEO agreed to provide a sandpit cover from Divisional funds, if the expenditure could not be met centrally. The Headmistress reported that the playground was rising in places. The DEO was asked to report this to the County Architect.
By the meeting of the 10th October 1966, the DEO reported that the Divisional Surveyor had been asked to cover the sandpit. He also reported that the County Council had accepted responsibility for Dunkirks Nursery School with effect from 1st September 1966 and it was now attached to the Chalk Dell Infants’ School as a Nursery Class. The number on roll was 123.
A small committee had drawn up a constitution for a PTA and the first AGM had taken place.
The Managers were pleased to learn that the Head of the Junior School (Mr Stinton) had made the swimming pool available to the infants who had much enjoyed it (in the summer presumably since it was not heated!).
It was proposed that an informal house committee be set up to run the Nursery class until the end of the current triennial period. It was agreed admissions to the Nursery Class should be restricted to children within the borough, unless there were exceptional circumstances. It was also agreed that admission should not be earlier than 3½ years. The DEO was asked to explore the possibility of opening in the afternoon!!
The Managers asked that the County Council be asked to arrange for the resurfacing of the footpath from Mandeville Road to Morgans Walk.