Marston Vale Middle School, Bedfordshire

| September 2, 2009 | 7 Comments 

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Back to school, and today we were invited to Marston Vale Middle School in Bedfordshire. A lovely warm welcome from Jim Godfrey and his staff.

Marston Vale Middle School is a lively, dynamic and innovative middle school serving Stewartby and the surrounding villages. The school is justly proud of its traditions – the buildings date back to 1937 when the school was built on land donated by the London Brick Company as part of the model village it was creating for its workers.


Marston Vale Middle School has an interesting history. It was originally known as Stewartby Council Senior School and opened in 1937.

Screenshot 070We are always fascinated by “new” developments in education. It is amazing how quickly some of them become “old” developments. Even back in 1937 they felt they were Building Schools For The Future.

An article, in the Bedfordshire Times from 29th January 1937, described what would be needed in the future for this school: “Organised games, physical training, gardening, cooking and handicrafts” were “just as much a part of education” as were “arithmetic and geography”.

Traditional subjects such as arithmetic were to be applied to real life so pupils would see that it was: “not just a mental exercise but something they would have to do once their schooldays were over”.  Schools needed to be larger and better equipped to teach these new subjects and this had been an important point when the new school was planned.

They had no clue that only a couple of years later life would change. Tomorrow is the 70th anniversary of the declaration of the 2nd world war.

During World War Two the school received evacuee children: ” 11September 1939: The school re-opened.  Senior School (local children and evacuees) under L W James.  Junior School (evacuees only) under L C Symes of Mission Grove Junior School Walthamstow” [SDStewartbyMiddle1/1]. In total there were 58 official evacuees attending the Senior School.

Great to be in a piece of history and look towards another future in education today.

Thank you to Jo Padbury, head teacher Jim Godfrey, and their colleagues, for a fun way to start the new academic year.

Category: 1) Events and Training days

Comments (7)

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  1. Ed Fairbanks says:

    Thanks for a very interesting day with lots of great resources and ideas, I can only apologise for the strange, impromptu conducting. I blame the hat.

  2. John Bojczuk says:

    Thanks Tim and Sarah for a stimulating inset today.
    Can’t wait to try some of the ideas from the session.
    Need to find someone who has used Myst III for KS3 SEN as would like to develope this as an underlying theme.
    Look forward to your next visit.
    Thanks again.

  3. Maxine Lane says:

    Hi, great resources and URL links.
    Here is the link to our new VLE parent front page,

    log in – mvmparent
    password – school

    Thank You.

  4. Tracy Creasey says:

    Very informative. Really liked the idea of using the game, only wish I had enough idea of how to create a similar resource for history. A walk through one of the major battles would be fab. Look forward to trying all the other stuff. Still trying to rebuild my reputation after the spurious name-calling.

  5. Graeme Meek says:

    In March 2009 Life & Times worked together with the school choir at Marston Vale Middle School to produce a limited edition CD of songs about the area’s history, heritage, legend and future. It is called ‘Marston Vale’ and information about the project can be found at


    Dear Sir,

    During the period from 1950 – 1953, my brothers, Leonard, Robert, Terrance and I all studied at Stewartby School. I should be grateful if you were able to let me know if there is a website, which I can go to and view other pupils and teachers of that period. Or any other history that may be viewed.

    Thank you.

    Yours ever,

    Reginald Steers.

  7. Tim says:

    Dear Reginald
    Thank you so much for getting in touch through the blog.
    Just to clarify, we don’t work at Stewartby School, (or Marston Vale), but we will try investigate a bit further.
    I found this page, which might be of some help, and maybe you would like to get in touch with them through these contact details.
    Please keep in touch if you DO find any information. Maybe we can add it to the blog page
    My kind regards for now

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