Headington history: Schools

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Margaret Road/Headington Council School

Windmill School

Windmill School

Windmill School in Margaret Road (originally known as Headington Council School) opened in 1908, and the above postcard probably dates from around that time. It was Headington’s first council school: the other two elementary schools (St Andrew's and Quarry) were both Church of England National Schools.

Left: The original buildings of Windmill School in c.2000

Headington was very late in getting a board school. Following Forster’s Education Act in 1870, the Headington Parish Magazine urged the people of Headington to support their local church school, partly for financial reasons, but also to prevent a “godless” board school being set up. The parishioners of St Andrew’s and later Quarry duly followed this advice for over thirty years, until the1902 Education Act abolished school boards.

This 1902 Education Act designated borough and county councils the new local education authorities, and made rate aid available to all elementary schools (including church ones). Headington Council School was the first school to be built in Headington by the local education authority, and it opened in Margaret Road in 1908, with accommodation for 220 children and 150 infants. This led to the immediate closure of New Headington Infant School, which had been set up by the church in Perrin Street in 1873, and its teacher, Mrs Price, transferred to the new school with the pupils.

Class 3 in 1913
Above: Class III of Headington Council School in 1913

Headington Council School was an elementary school, taking children up to the age of 14, and in 1936 a new building (later Headington Middle School) was built next door for the older children. The school was now named Headington County Primary School (Junior Mixed and Infants) (often known as Margaret Road School).

Teachers, c.1951

Above: Teachers at Margaret Road School in c.1951.
Back row left to right
: Basil Woodward, John Ligertwood, Mr Coppock, Mr Puddifat, Mr Goodall, Mr Morgan,
Mr G. H. Heath (headmaster). Front row left to right: Mrs Green, Mrs Peacock, Mrs Foster-Jones, Mrs Brown,
Mrs Pymm, Miss Shrimpton, Mrs Smith, Mrs Herbert (school secretary)

In about 1951 the school was renamed Windmill Junior Mixed & Infant School. This in turn became Windmill First School (for children aged 5 to 9) when Oxford adopted a three-tier system of comprehensive education in 1975.

In September 2003 Oxford reverted to a two-tier system of education and these school buildings were closed. In June 2004 the new Windmill Primary School opened in the Headington Middle School buildings, and the 1908 school building was converted into dwellings.

© Stephanie Jenkins

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