Opening of Abington Secondary School
Order of proceedings
ABINGTON SCHOOL, WIGSTON MAGNA
The Abington Secondary School, Wigston Magna, was built to serve two immediate purposes. The Long Street School, which had housed the secondary modern school for Wigston Magna and its immediate neighbourhood since it was reorganised for that purpose in 1934, no longer provided either the accommodation or the facilities which are now considered necessary for secondary education and thus had to be replaced. At the same time the rapid growth of Wigston Magna and the high birth rate immediately after the war had brought about a grave shortage of primary school accommodation, which could be relieved by the retransfer of the Long Street premises to the roll of primary education. Beyond this short term view, however, the new school forms part of a long term scheme for the provision of secondary education for this district.
Work is already well advanced on the building alongside of the new Guthlaxton Grammer School, the nucleus of which has already been formed in temporary premises. Moreover, as the large numbers of children now in the primary schools reach the secondary stage and, as the housing projects in Wigston Magna are completed, yet more accommodation will be needed for secondary education. Proposals have already been formulated for the building of yet another secondary school similar in size to Abington. These three schools will together form what is known as a school base each conducted as a separate school but working in co-operation and sharing the amenities of the commodious site of over forty acres.
The Abington Secondary School is the first to be completed on this school base. Its compact planning results in economy in the use of the site, and leaves the maximum area available for other Schools, and also for playing fields.
Three form entry School for a five year course.
The School was designed in accordance with the Ministry of Education Building Regulations then in force, as issued in 1945. These were revised by the Ministry soon after this School was begun, the principal modifications being a reduction in permitted total teaching area. The Abington Secondary School, therefore, is slightly larger than the present-day three form entry Secondary Modern Schools.
The School was designed so that it could be erected in two instalments, to comply with the Ministry's of Education limit on capital expenditure at that time. The planning of the School enabled the first instalment at the south end of the building to be occupied while the remainder of the School (second instalment) was in course of erection.
The School is designed mostly on three floors, and considerable economy in circulation areas has been secured by adopting the staircase access system.
The kitchen has been placed so that meals may be served in part of the circulation area and also in three of the ground floor classrooms.
The gymnasium has been planned near the stage of the Assembly Hall, to enable the Changing Rooms to be used during theatrical performances.
A separate block contains the Handicraft Room.
The School contains - in addition to classrooms - handicraft, housecraft, science, light crafts, art and music rooms, and a library.
Main School Building
Steel frame with load bearing walls where possible. External facing of local bricks and with reconstructed stone dressings; floors and roofs of precast concrete units; roof covering, asphalt; windows, galvanised steel.
Light prefabricated concrete trusses and stanchions, with external brick walls and mineral finish felted roof.
Generally all walls, with the exception of stores, are plastered. Acoustic tiles have been provided in the Assembly Hall and Music Room.
Heating is by means of low pressure hot water, theromstatically controlled. Hot water is supplied to all lavatory basins, sinks and showers.
The sculpture on the north aspect of the school is carved in Derbyshire limestone marble by Ronald Pope. Its significance is described as follows by the Sculptor: The sculpture tries to attain a feeling of growth, of an organic whole, signifying the growth of the children, mentally, physically and spiritually. The two simplified figures attempting to scale the central plantlike structure, are at the same time fused into one whole becoming a "thing in itself", and not merely a story in stone.
The General Contractors were:-
First Instalment: Messrs. Edwin Fox & Company, of 6 Evington Road, Leicester.
Second Instalment: Messrs. Wm. Moss & Sons Ltd., of Queen's Road, Loughborough.
T. A. Collins, A.R.I.B.A., County Architect.