A short history of Fleetwood School and Chessington Community College
Before 1953 there was only one secondary school in the Chessington area, this being Moor Lane secondary mixed school which was opened in 1936 with Mr. Loveless as Headteacher. After the Second World War large areas of Chessington, east and west of the Leatherhead Road, were scheduled for building development to serve as overspill areas for Surbiton, Kingston and Malden. This meant that new schools had to be provided and it was decided by the then county council to build a new secondary boys’ school in Garrison Lane and retain Moor Lane as a secondary girls’ school.
In September 1953 Fleetwood County Secondary boys’ school was opened as a three form entry school with 324 boys on role and with Mr. Loveless as Headteacher. There were the usual problems connected with establishing a new school and others due to the following reason:
As house building progressed, boys of all ages were continually being admitted to the school making a stable organisation almost impossible, and in some cases resulting in boys of different age groups being taught in the same classes.
The school very soon became overcrowded and this problem was accentuated because all the rooms had been built for classes of 30. Some forms in fact had more than 40 on roll and it was only just possible to get them into the rooms. This situation was relieved in 1958 by the addition of two classrooms and a library.
Many boys travelled in from a distance. For the majority there was, as yet, no community tradition and the first settling down period of two or three years was difficult.
Time and the natural course of events solved most of these early problems, building slowed down and the annual intakes were reduced to the normal 3 form entry. Casual admissions during the year became normal and forms were reduced in size so that no form was of more than 35, most being just below 30.
A healthy community spirit began to develop in the school with the increasing growth of extra curricular activities, societies and other activities which had a noticeable effect on the attitude and behaviour of boys in general.
In July 1957 Mr. Loveless retired and Mr. Johnson replaced him. As a boys’ school, Fleetwood was inspected by HMI inspectors from the Ministry of Education in July 1962, just prior to the admission of girls. The inspection concluded that Fleetwood County Secondary School for Boys was a good school which made a most valuable contribution to the community it served.
Under the Surrey Development Plan for Secondary Education girls were admitted to what was renamed Fleetwood County Secondary School, the first girls being admitted in September 1962 when 38 girls joined the existing 383 boys. In the following years numbers began to rise as more girls joined the school.
During the 1980s, during a period of falling rolls and partly due to the geographical location of the school, numbers began to fall. Consideration was given by Kingston local education authority to close the school. This angered many of the parents and residents in the Chessington and Hook area who felt that local amenities were being taken away from the south of the borough to its detriment. Following a great deal of political debate locally, Kingston’s Education Committee decided to keep the secondary school in the south of the borough but given the complaints about lack of recreational facilities, decided that a new educational establishment in the borough which would also serve the community needs of the Chessington and Hook area was needed.
In September 1989 Chessington Community College was established with Mr. J. P. Hayes as its first Headteacher.
In 1992 the school opened its £2 million sports centre which was built not only to provide excellent indoor sporting facilities for the pupils of Chessington Community College but also to serve the sporting needs of the local community in the evenings and at the weekends. The school progressed well under the headship of Mr. Hayes.
In 1997 Mr. Hayes was appointed to a new headship and Mr. J.P. Allen took over the headship, followed by Mr. D. Kemp who took over as Principal in September 2002 having been Deputy Principal since April 1990.
In 2006 the school became a Building Schools for the Future Pathfinder School, receiving a grant of £27 million for a total rebuild. The new building was finally completed in 2009 and officially opened in September 2009. At the same time Rob Niedermaier-Reed took over the role of Principal. The last few years have been a period of significant continuous improvement for the college. In 2007, 26% of students achieved 5 or more GCSE grades at grade C or above including maths and English; in 2011, this figure had increased to 47% and a phenomenal 82% achieved 5 or more GCSE grades at grade C or above in any subject. In 2010 and 2011, for the first time in its history, the school was oversubscribed with a waiting list. In other words, the school’s rising standards and its ambition to be the best mean that local people are confident that the school provides high quality education for their children.
In the last few years, standards at the school have seen phenomenal improvements. In 2014, 63% of students achieved five or more good GCSE grades including maths and English compared to 25% in 2007. This meant that the school’s GCSE results had increased for seven consecutive years and were rising significantly faster than the national trend. The school was now able to boast that CCC students on average achieved higher grades and that they made faster progress than most other students in the country. From highly academic students, destined to excel at ‘A’ level and beyond, to those students wishing to go straight to training or employment, high standards enable Chessington Community College’s students to reach their goals. The reasons for these successes are simple: the ambition, endeavour and resilience of its students, effective support from teachers and parents, and a relentless focus on the needs and aspirations of its community.