Happy memories of Eastfield days

Eastfield School, July 1985

Eastfield School, July 1985

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Although I was not a student at Eastfield School, which then became Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School and is now the Lightcliffe Academy, I do have many happy memories of visiting Eastfield School from the mid 1970s through to the late 80s after it was renamed Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School.

This was in my days as the community policeman when I would call into school to give talks and advice as well as the occasional problems.

Memories go back to meeting Mr Ken Pickard, who was a highly respected teacher at the school whose idea it was the school should be called Eastfield. He submitted the name to the authorities who agreed with his suggestion and from that day the name was Eastfield School.

The name came from the Eastfield Chapel, which was the name of the church opposite the Sun Inn on Wakefield Road - a church that dated back to 1529. It was re-built in 1775 and it was that building that was demolished leaving just the tower as the only part of the church building left.

The head teacher was Mr Des Cameron, who had been at the school since its opening on Thursday, September 25, 1969 when Sir Edward Heath was flown in by helicopter to formally open it. I am sure many former students of Victoria and St Martin’s secondary schools will remember transferring from the two old schools to this bright shiny new one all those years ago.

While moving to any new school is a worrying time for many students, this was potentially an even bigger problem for the staff. Firstly, there had always been rivalry between the old Victoria School and St Martin’s School. What kind of trouble would there be when both sets of students are under one roof?

As all the students came together that first week the potential trouble never materialised. Why? One suggestion offered was as the school was so big compared to their old schools, students were forever getting lost, leaving no time to cause trouble - finding your way about was so difficult.

While those first weeks of newness would have been a mild state of disarray, it was under the leadership of head teacher Des Cameron and deputy head Charles North that the school soon began to get into a routine.

Old students still talk about the facilities they had which they had never seen before – science equipment, domestic science as it was called in those days, and of course the vast open green spaces around the school – everything brand new.

Those students transferring from the old schools to Eastfield and being in the top school year took a little time in coming to terms with having their own canteen facilities and their own common room.

In September 1985, following the introduction of a comprehensive system, the school changed its name to Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School to become one of three comprehensive schools in the area.

In 2002, following a lengthy bidding process, the school was granted Specialist School Status, and became Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School and Sports College, the first sports college in the authority. This year the school’s name was changed again from Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School to Lightcliffe Academy.

This July 1985 photograph was taken as the school closed as Eastfield and would re-open in the September as the Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School.

I am sure many will recognise: Unknown; Mrs Mona Mitchell OBE, JP; Mr Des Cameron (head teacher); Mr Richard Bailey (deputy head); Mr Stanley Pearsall, from the caretaking team; Unknown and Mr David Cooper, who worked for many years at the Eastfield Jubilee Centre and was involved with the youth service.

I know the two people not named are now almost 65 - even I cannot remember their names. Please help me out.