6. Christleton Secondary School (1958)

First Headteacher Mr. Les George. Initially 476 pupils and 18 staff. By 1972 there were 800 pupils on roll. It was renamed as Christleton County High School in 1974 By 1976 there were 1340 pupils and 74 members of staff In 2018 as it reaches its 60th Anniversary there are 1350 students and 140 staff Current Headteacher; Mr Damien Stenhouse

In the 1950's, Christleton was situated in the administrative district of Ellesmere Port and Chester Rural, an area stretching from Ellesmere Port to Malpas, and skirting the eastern edge of the Chester City boundary. (It should be noted that at this time Chester had its own Education Authority and Schools). At the age of 11, "higher" ability children from the rural district would travel to Ellesmere Port Boys and Girls Grammar Schools for their secondary education, and a new school planned for Christleton would cater for the remainder. This Secondary Modern and Secondary Technical School was designed to cater for the needs of pupils in the developing areas of Vicars Cross, Guilden Sutton, Mickle Trafford, Barrow, Waverton and Christleton, but also took in many other parts of the rural district, an area of 75sq miles. The initial pupils came from over twenty feeder primary schools including Oldfield, Cherry Grove, Huntington, Saighton, Barrow, Waverton, and Christleton, each, with their distinctive teaching styles and traditions.

The brief for the new school reads; The Christleton County Secondary & Technical School will provide a general course of education for pupils in their first two years of English, Mathematics, History, Geography, Science, Art, Music, Religious Instruction, Physical Education, Woodwork and Domestic Science.

According to their aptitudes and interests the children are selected at 13yrs for one of the following. Technical course for Boys. Mathematics, science, woodwork, metalwork, & technical drawing. Technical course for Girls. Housecraft, needlework, art & craft Commercial course for Girls. Shorthand typing, mathematics & accounts, geography & history. Rural studies course. Horticulture, agriculture, livestock keeping, rural science. Practical course. Woodwork, needlework, gardening.

The new building including landscaping and equipment cost 160,000 pounds, and was ready for its opening on 1st September 1958, although it was "officially" opened on October 3rd by Sir Edward Boyle, a Minister of State. It was a three form entry school, catering for children age 11 to 16 years. Initially there were 490 pupils, and 18 staff, the pupils coming mainly from the areas described above. The impact of the school on the village was made mainly through the effect of transporting pupils to and from school. The efforts of staff, pupils and parents however made up for the problems that existed then, and still exist between 8.15 and 8.45am and 3.00 to 4.00pm each day. The "family" atmosphere created between school and home soon achieved many new experiences for the pupils. Enthusiastic parents support raised 4.000 pounds in the first four years to provide an open air swimming pool, and I'm sure this led to the founding, later, of the very successful High School Association, which has supported and purchased so many things for the school over many years. The Local Authority provided the Joint -Use Sports Hall in 1974, and the upgrading of the swimming pool has been a welcome recent development.

The school's reputation grew rapidly in many fields, but it was mainly through the excellent school drama productions, that brought it much local and even national acclaim. Here was a comparatively small school achieving a very high profile through the combined efforts of all the school staff, its talented pupils, with the enthusiastic support of parents and the local community, which was already well known through the drama productions of Christleton Players. Many of these were staged at the School, including a hilariously funny village pantomime written by Headteacher Les George.

All aspects of staging plays and musicals including acting, direction and sets, costumes, make up, props, sound and lighting were developed. High standards were expected and achieved, and during the first ten years, school productions included, The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, My Fair Lady and Oliver. The latter two were produced in the same year 1958, an extraordinary achievement for the school. The production of Oliver by Lionel Bart was in fact the first production by an amateur group, outside the West End. Later in the 1970's the musicals The Boy Friend, West Side Story and Half a Sixpence were performed as well as three productions written and produced by school staff, Alice in Wonderland, Love in Idleness and Jason & the Argonauts. In the 1980's came Jesus Christ Superstar, Larkrise to Candleford and Godspell. This tradition continues today with shows like Joseph & His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Mary Poppins, Beauty & the Beast, The Lion King and Billy Elliott.

These continued successes, together with high profile achievements in art, design, technology, and in many other curriculum areas, has enabled the school to grow in strength and reputation, where pupils of all abilities achieved academic, sporting and social success undreamed of in the early days of the school, and achieved through the teamwork which began with the establishment of the new school in 1958. The influence of each of the five head teachers, Les George, Phil Hodges, Geoff Lawson, Tony Lamberton and Damien Stenhouse with their different styles, enthusiasm and commitment, has added to the school's success. The thousands of pupils, who have attended the school since its inception, have spent their days in a beautiful village environment. There is no doubt that this environment has added to the success of the school. The school has always been conscious of its responsibilities, and although the transport problems create short term difficulties, the reputation of the school, and the contribution of the pupils to village and local events, has greatly enhanced the name of the Christleton, making it still a much sought after place to study and live.

In recent times the school has undergone a number of major refurbishments, and in the last five years all windows have been replaced, buildings refaced and a complete resigning of the front of the school has been set off with striking copper frontage, adding to a new iResearch Centre. The school also has the joint use of facilities with the adjacent Leisure Centre, with new indoor swimming pool and 3G pitch. These are available to staff and students during the day. The school has built up an enormous reputation for sporting success, but also across the wide range of its curriculum and continues to flourish with a fine team spirit maintaining the school motto of being a Happy Hardworking and Caring Community.

There are strong links to the community with Senior Citizens invited to the school on a regular basis, and also recently through the "Christleton Great War Stories"project, with young people from the school being invited to lay the wreath on 11th November each year on the Cenotaph in Whitehall in recognition of the school's achievements in the World War Commemoration.

The School is now a central part of the newly created multi academy trust, Christleton Learning Trust. This is an exciting time in the development of Christleton High School as it collaborates with Queens Park High School, and the new Christleton International Studio on the Queens Park Campus in Handbridge to improve and bring new opportunities for all the students.

Further information from www.christletonhigh.co.uk' The Swan. An excellent school magazine.

7 Christleton County Primary School (1974) a new building in Quarry Lane

Headteacher; David Cummings Opened in 1974 with pupils from the old Girls & Infants & Junior Schools. There were 180 pupils on roll with 7members of staff initially, but grew to a peak to 280 pupils and 11staff before class size was changed by law to more manageable numbers, and numbers restricted to 31 per age group. In 1988 there were 230 pupils and 9 staff. Later the school was re-named Christleton Primary School and Headteacher & Governors were given even more responsibilities, including financial control for the governance of the school. In 2018 there are 212 students and 9staff Headteacher; Mr Oliver Mitchell

This school building was originally built as part of the Cheshire LEA plan for modern Village Primary Schools, where the school would become a focal point of village life, and where the pupils studied lessons following the principles of the 1968 "Plowden Report" . The style of the school building was called 'Open Plan' with teachers co operating (team teaching) and sharing groups in specific classroom areas with groups of up to 80 children. The school was very successful, although the school building has now reverted to a more traditional form. The planned Village Room/Library was left out at the last minute, but the school used the principle of the village community sharing the school very successfully for many years. The Village Fete Committee, The Local History Group, The Christleton Pit Group, The Parish Council, & the Parish Magazine were just some of the organisations that used the school on a regular basis. The school had a good academic record, but also excelled in other activities, The Pit Project was probably the one which gave the school the highest profile, with the children appearing on the BBC TV Programme "Animal Magic", and also in looking after Hockenhull Platts Nature Reserve. The school promoted many joint activities with the High School, including the Charles Mack Concerts raising tens of thousands of pounds for charity, and creating teacher and pupil liaison groups. The school regularly won National Swimming Awards, and teams reached the finals of the National Table Tennis Tournament, won local trophies for badminton, football, orienteering, ski-ing, cricket, rounders and netball. School links were also created with St James School in Ladakh, and in promoting links with other countries through the local authority and Chester College (now University). The school also had links with dance groups from throughout Europe, and regularly peformed Maypole Dances in public displays with such groups, or for the National Trust at Tatton Park. The school was also well known for its wide ranging activities in outdoor education, with annual visits to The Lake District, Hadrians Wall, York, Chester, Delamere Forest and Burwardsley.

In September 1997 Mr David Harker took over as Headteacher and the school progressed even further with great emphasis on learning, but continued to develop the cross curricular work and out of school opportunities offered to the pupils. It maintained the strong links with other feeder schools to Christleton High School, but also developed new curricular links with High School staff and students. Alan Brown became acting head for one year whilst David Harker continued to develop his leadership skills. He returned to the school with new enthusiasm for a short time, until he moved on to a teaching post at a University, to be replaced by Mr Oliver Mitchell in 2017.

The schools motto is "Be the Best You can Be" and it continues to provide a warm and caring environment where everyone has the opportunity to shine and fulfil potential. "In partnership with the governors and parents, all staff constantly strive to give the children the best possible education and to provide the opportunities for pupils to reach the highest standards in all areas of school life in a safe and caring environment. The curriculum is rich and continues to grow from that set down in the early years of the "new" school. It is always child – centred, interesting and exciting, whilst also being inspirational and always offering the children a challenge. The excellent facilities the school enjoys both indoors and in the superb village setting provides for a wide range of physical and other activities. Pupils have always been encouraged to learn from first hand experiences which develop their interest and motivate them in their learning by giving them a sense of purpose in their work. The school continues to go from strength to strength, is popular and is full to capacity, maintaining the traditions and standards set out when the school moved to the new premises in Quarry Lane in 1974. Ref. From the Christleton Primary School website ; info@christletonprimaryschool.co.uk

8. Mountwood Preparatory School (In the grounds of High Walls in Birch Heath Lane)

This school was founded by Mrs Kathleen Dimmer in 1945. Pupils were taught in both The House and The Schoolroom situated in the garden.

  •  John Sellers Minute Book 1779

    John Sellers Minute Book 1779

  •  Geoff Lawson, Les George and Phil Hodges

    Geoff Lawson, Les George and Phil Hodges

  •  Tony Lamberton,Les George and Phil Hodges

    Tony Lamberton,Les George and Phil Hodges

  •  David Cumminhs, Les George, Pat and Phil Hodges

    David Cumminhs, Les George, Pat and Phil Hodges

  •  Geoff Lawson

    Geoff Lawson

  •  Christleton High School Staff Celebrations

    Christleton High School Staff Celebrations

  •  Christleton High School 50th Anniversary Book

    Christleton High School 50th Anniversary Book

  •  Christleton High School in Winter

    Christleton High School in Winter

  •  Christleton High School from the Air

    Christleton High School from the Air

  •  Charles Mack Concert at Christleton High School

    Charles Mack Concert at Christleton High School

  •  Midsummer Nights Dream at Christleton High School

    Midsummer Nights Dream at Christleton High School

  •  Oliver at Christleton High School

    Oliver at Christleton High School

  •  Scene from Oliver at Christleton High School

    Scene from Oliver at Christleton High School

  •  Christleton High School Drama Group in 2000

    Christleton High School Drama Group in 2000

  •  Christleton High School Students and History Group

    Christleton High School Students and History Group

  •  Christleton High School Hall WWI Presentation

    Christleton High School Hall WWI Presentation

  •  Christleton High School Hall WWI Theatre Presentation

    Christleton High School Hall WWI Theatre Presentation

  •  Old Girs and Infants School

    Old Girs and Infants School

  •  Opening of Primary School April 1974

    Opening of Primary School April 1974

  •  Christleton Primary School

    Christleton Primary School

  •  Maypole Team on the Village Green

    Maypole Team on the Village Green

  •  Primary School Pit Project on Blue Peter

    Primary School Pit Project on Blue Peter

  •  Primary School Conservation Award

    Primary School Conservation Award

  •  Pit Group at Work

    Pit Group at Work

  •  Conservation in Action

    Conservation in Action

  •  Christleton Primary School Outdoor Education

    Christleton Primary School Outdoor Education

  •  Christleton Primary School 1990's

    Christleton Primary School 1990's

  •  Christleton Primary School Play 1980's

    Christleton Primary School Play 1980's

  •   Christleton Mummers Play for Darby and Joan Club

    Christleton Mummers Play for Darby and Joan Club

  •   Christleton Pupils in Chester Mystery Play

    Christleton Pupils in Chester Mystery Play

  •  Maypole Display Christleton Primary School

    Maypole Display Christleton Primary School

  •  Christleton Primary School Maypole Team with The Green Man, Tatton Park

    Christleton Primary School Maypole Team with The Green Man, Tatton Park

  •  Christleton Primary School Students at the Pit

    Christleton Primary School Students at the Pit

  •  Christleton Primary School Fund Raising Day

    Christleton Primary School Fund Raising Day

  •  David Harker and David Cummings Headteachers 1972 - 2017

    David Harker and David Cummings Headteachers 1972 - 2017

  •  Christleton High School Headteacher Oliver Mitchellopens the Fete 2017

    Christleton High School Headteacher Oliver Mitchellopens the Fete 2017

  •  The Villgae Fete on the Primary School Field

    The Villgae Fete on the Primary School Field

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© 2018 Richard Nicholson

Christleton History File August 2018

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