Ilkeston - Education, Education, Education
w/e 02 March 2003

Larklands School

Among the many educational establishments scattered around Ilkeston is this comparatively new school that caters for infant pupils up to the age of seven and goes by the name of Larklands. It opened its doors for the first time to an intake of infants from Kensington School in December 1971.
Kensington School

Kensington then became purely a Junior School, where today, pupils moving up from Larklands, spend the next four years of their school lives. The external view of Kensington has changed little in the half century since I was a pupil there and probably looked much the same when it first opened back in 1886. The classroom nearest the camera certainly looks no different to when Mr Jackson (Jacko) - a teacher of the old tradition - prepared his "top class" for their first steps into secondary education.

In those days the eleven plus examinations sought to separate the children into different streams before sending them on to the next stage of their education. Those that passed went to either the Grammar School or Hallcroft whilst those that did less well (I hesitate to say failed) went to Gladstone Boys or Cavendish Girls. This is the building that was formerly the Cavendish School. It is now known as the Cavendish Centre and is part of the South East Derbyshire College campus.
South East Derbyshire College

The main college buildings stand on Field Road, a few hundred yards away from the Cavendish Centre and students from all over the district partake of many and various full or part time courses here to extend their learning after the completion of their secondary education. The two views here show the main entrance and, inset, from the rear across the sports ground.
Ilkeston School

This is the building that was formerly known as the Grammar School. It was opened as a county school, unlike Hallcroft which was founded and financed by the town, on 25th June 1914 by King George V but following several reorganisations of the educational system and mergers and amalgamations of schools, it is now called Ilkeston School.
Hallcroft and Gladstone

For ex-students of the Hallcroft and Gladstone Schools, myself included, this is probably one of the saddest views in town. This desolate site close to the town centre was once home to four separate schools. At the far end stood Gladstone Boys'. A little nearer was Gladstone Infants' which is where my education started. In the foreground the footprint of Hallcroft Girls' School can still be made out and to the left of the line of bushes where a high wall once acted as a boundary was the Boys' School. Following an amalgamation of the Hallcrofts in 1960, a merger of Hallcroft, Gladstone and Cavendish took place in 1976 to form the Cantelupe School. After a 20 year life, Cantelupe closed, the pupils coming under the jurisdiction of the newly formed Ilkeston School on the old Grammar School site. Gladstone Infants' had closed in 1983. The buildings on the site pictured above were soon demolished and save for an invasion of travellers and the consequent clean up operation, the site has been one of dereliction ever since.

The Class Of 1956/7

Class of 1956/7

But here is a picture on the same site from happier times when "amalgamation", "merger" and "closure" were just words in a dictionary. With form teacher Clifford "Friz" Dyke (far left) who later went on to become Mayor of Ilkeston and headmaster Austin Nash (far right), this is one of the classes that started at Hallcroft in 1956. I wonder who that highlighted boy could be? As if you didn't know!

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