Development of Educational Facilities in Biggleswade

1557 Edward Peake’s will – School for five poor children in cottage in the manor of Holme
1725 Stratton Free School [Sir John Cotton] for twelve poor children in Shortmead St/Sun St
1795 – 1899 Founding of various Sunday Schools by all of the town’s churches

Circa 1833 – 1839 British Infants School started in Wesleyan Methodist church
1853 British Infants School was in premises in Market Place
1864 British Infants School moved to Back Street
1873 Became  Biggleswade Board Infants School
1874 Moved to Board School in Rose Lane
1903 – 1930 Biggleswade Public Elementary Non-provided Infants School
1909 Moved to premises in Shortmead Street
1930 Moved to Rose Lane [Amalgamated into Board School]
1903 – 1946 Biggleswade Council Infants School at Rose Lane
1946 – 1958 Re-named Biggleswade County Primary Infants School
1959 Lawnside opened – for 5 to 9 year old children. – Rose Lane move to Lawnside
1959 – 1979 Lawnside County Primary Infants School
1979 Re-named Lawnside Lower School
1973 Southlands County Primary School opened – [5 to 9 years old]
1979 Re-named Southlands Lower School
1958 St. Andrew’s Voluntary Controlled Lower School opened – [5 to 9 years old]

EARLY BOYS SCHOOLS – (And some mixed schools)
1790 – 1854 Various day and boarding `private’ schools for fee paying children
1908 – early 1930’s Parkfield School in Stratton Park House [Day and boarding]
1811 National School founded by Anglican church [Believed to be in Station Road]
1815 Another National School started in Langford Lane [Hitchin Street]
1815 Throughout Britain, British Schools founded by Quakers, Methodists and Baptists
1832 National School started by vicar in St. Andrew’s church
1830’s British School Society founded school in Chapel Fields [children of nonconformists]
1833 – 1839 Biggleswade British Boys School in Market Place
1849 Report stated 16 boys, 24 girls in school in Union Workhouse [The boys were later transferred to the National School]
1866 National School name changed to Biggleswade National Mixed School
1870 Education Act created School Boards empowered to levy rates to fund education [Successive Board Schools in St.Andrew’s Street, Chapel Fields and Market Place]
1873 School Board took over British School
1874 National Mixed School name changed to Biggleswade National Boys School
1874 New Board School opened in Dog Acre Field, [Hicks Pits] making places available for 213 infants, 200 boys and 200 girls [Pupils paid 1 penny per week until 1891]
1874 British Boys School moved to Rose Lane – became Biggleswade Boys Board School
1900 Biggleswade School Board passed Bye-Law raising school leaving age to 14
1902 School Boards abolished. Control of education passed to County Council
1903 National Boys School name changed to Biggleswade Public Elementary Non-provided Boys School (P. E. N-p. B.S)
1903 Boys Board School in Rose Lane re-named Biggleswade Boys Council School
1904 Biggleswade P. E. N-p. B.S. moved to Church Street next to old Fire Station [Name later changed to Biggleswade Public Elementary Junior Boys School]
1930 Rose Lane boys school renamed Biggleswade Senior Boys Council School

Mid 1800’s to early 1900’s Various private [fee paying] academies for young ladies]
Mid 19th C.- Separate schools – [National and British schools] – for boys and girls, by voluntary public subscription. [Pupils paid a small fee]
?TBI Biggleswade British Girls School [ex Wesleyan Methodist] started in St. Andrew’s Street
1873 Biggleswade British Girls School moved to Rose Lane, re-named Girls Board School
1874 Separate Biggleswade National Girls School started
1903 Girls Board School in Rose Lane re-named Council Girls School
1909 Biggleswade Public Elementary Non-Provided Girls School at rear of Kingdom Hall [Name later changed to Biggleswade Public Elementary Girls School
1930 Council Girls School re-named Senior Girls Council School

LATER MIXED SCHOOLS – [World War Two and onwards]
1942 Boys and girls at Rose Lane amalgamated as Senior Mixed Council School
1944 Education Act raised compulsory school leaving age to 15, to be followed by option to remain at school until 16 years old. Also provision to be made for free full-time state education for children of suitable ability, up to university entrance
1946 Boys and girls junior schools amalgamated as Biggleswade Voluntary Controlled County Primary Junior Mixed School – [Later moved to Rose Lane]
1950 Stratton Grammar/Technical School opened, [for pupils who passed 11-plus exam]
1964 11 to 16 year old scholars moved from Rose Lane to new Holmemead School
1970 Hitchmead School opened, for 7 to 16 year olds with moderate learning difficulties
1971 Sunnyside School opened, for 3 to 16 year olds with severe learning difficulties
1972 Compulsory school leaving age raised to 16 years old from 1st January 1973
1974 Holmemead became Middle School for 9 to 13 years old
1974 Edward Peake Middle School opened [9 to 13 years]
1974 Stratton School 14 to 16 years old, and up to 18 years old if taking `A’ Levels
1976 Stratton School became `Comprehensive’, i.e. no more 11-plus selection

1848 Mechanics Institute and Reading Room founded by Town Hall meeting
1850’s M.I.R.R. closed and replaced by Biggleswade Literary Institute
1875 B.L.I. closed, funds handed over to new Biggleswade Institute and Public Library [Occupied premises in St. Andrew’s Place]
1880 B.I.&P.L. moved to bigger premises, [in what later became Whiteman’s cycle shop]
1884 B.I.&P.L. amalgamated with the Public Library, – renamed Institutional Library
1903 Library moved to High Street
1907 Evening classes introduced, for further education of people older than the normal school leaving age. Held initially in the old Mead House school house, then later in Rose Lane School and finally in Stratton School. [Fees recorded in 1908 – One shilling and sixpence for the first subject, and one shilling for each additional subject]
1926 Library Centre, funded by County Council, sited in Rose Lane School
1932 Branches of Bedfordshire County Library in both Senior Boys School [Rose Lane] and Junior Boys School [Church Street] – (Open 6 Hours per week)
1940’s Library for a short period in Stratton House
1946 Library rehoused in old Police Station [ex Civil Defence HQ] in Station Road
1968 Library moved to present premises in Chestnut Avenue [ Open 45 Hours per week in 2005]