A New Primary School for Balls Park
In the 1960s!
By Geoffrey Cordingley
In the 1960s the Managers of Hertford County Primary Schools ran the primary schools in Hertford. At an extraordinary meeting of managers on 20th September 1962, DEO (Divisional Education Officer) briefly explained that the purpose of the meeting was to consider the effects which the developments now taking place in Hertford would have on the County primary schools and particularly the future of Abel Smith and Faudel Phillips. The present policy of the Ministry meant there was no prospect of getting a new school to replace Abel Smith but this policy might change in the late sixties. Indications were that the population of Hertford would increase to 20,000. The present birth rate of 14 live births per 1000 was below the average and might well increase in the next few years. These two factors could create a need for another one form entry.
After considerable discussion it was agreed that:
1. As a long term policy the managers proposed a new JMI school in the Balls Park area.
2. A survey for this area should be carried out at an early date to find a six acre site which would be suitable.
3. This proposal should be brought to the notice of the County Planning Department and the need should be stressed for a new road to join Ware Road with Balls Park in order to minimize the danger to school children from heavy traffic.
On 23rd October DEO was asked to get a confirmation that sufficient land would be available in the Balls Park area for a two form entry school.
After all that the Assistant Educational Officer informed the Managers on 1st December 1964 that the total Primary numbers in Hertford were expected to stay static or decrease slightly in the next few years. This was in spite of considerable new building taking place and, one factor to be borne in mind, was that new council houses usually redistributed existing population and did not usually produce a material increase in population.
On completion of the major project in Bengeo in the 1966/67 programme there was a total entry provision of 8 forms distributed as follows:
Hollybush – 1 FE (form entry)
St Andrews – 1 FE
Bengeo – 2 FE
St Joseph’s R C – 1 FE
Morgans Walk/Chalk Dell – 2 FE
Abel Smith and Faudel Phillips – 1 FE
The present demand was about 7½ Form Entry. So the school was not built.
However 50 years later this idea was resurrected for the same reasons that were put forward in the ’60s and Simon Balle school now has a JMI section. An all-through school has returned to Hertford, the first one since the re-organisation of 1930.
The problem with access still exists. Perhaps one day an extra road will be created from the roundabout at the top of London Road (the old Balls Park entrance.