The early years
Bromfords School was opened in 1973, one of two secondary schools which served Wickford. The first headteacher was Mrs Irene Ramm. It was designed to cater for a thousand plus pupils between the ages of 11 and 18. The school would grow by 180 pupils a year initially. The main catchment area was between the London Road and the A127.
Bromfords was based on one site of 31 acres, including playing fields. The first phase of the campus included six science laboratories, language facilities and technical rooms (e.g. art and woodwork rooms).
The second phase began in 1978 and included a library, a large hall and teaching rooms for english and mathematics. A third phase added more classrooms and a community sports hall. In fact the first pupils were taught in corridors because not all the classrooms were completed when the school opened.
Unlike the older schools in Wickford there seem to be few photographs of the school as it developed. Although a photographer would visit the school regularly to take pupil photographs which could be sold to parents, there was no policy of taking class photos, though some teachers did take photos of their own classes. Does anyone have any of them?
Teaching in the lower school was subject based in mixed ability classes. Maths and English was set by ability. External links were established with parents, local primary schools, and further and higher education establishments. Particular links were developed with Little Highwood School for severely handicapped children. Bromfords had up to the minute teaching aids “including tape recorders, record players, film and overhead projectors”. There was a “well-equipped remedial centre” for pupils who needed help with reading and number work. Extra curricular activities organised by the staff included adventure holidays, overseas trips, a film club and natural history groups. In addition to the usual football, rugby, netball and hockey teams pupils could also apparently be involved with “squash, golf, horse riding and volleyball”.
Some of the teachers in those early years were Mr Burr, Mrs Budd (languages), Mr Billing (geography), Mrs Bench (RE), Mr Bond (music), Mr Clamp (english), Mr Edmiston, Mr Ince (technology), Mr Key, Mr Davies (PE), Mr Rawlinson, Mr Saunders (art), Mr Taylor (history), Mrs Watson (cookery) and many more. By the early 80s there were about 50 full time teaching staff plus secretaries, technicians, care-taking and catering staff.