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Primary Schools

Bryn County Primary: Church Road, Fryerns

Bryn School    
Year of photo:

Bryn County Infants' and Junior School was one of two new schools built in the 1950s in Church Road, Fryerns.

The first to open was Manor infants' and junior in 1956. Bryn followed soon after in 1958 on a site next to Manor and directly opposite Holy Cross Church and Recreation Ground.

It was the first of three planned temporary schools for mixed children below senior entry; the others being Springfield (1962) and Chowdhary (1966/67).

The school's catchment areas were from the new development corporation housing estates erected earlier in the decade.

The first appointed Headmistress of the infants' school was Miss G. Jones and Mr. William H. Granath was the first Headmaster of the junior school.

In the late 1960s Mrs. B. Jackson took over as Head Teacher of the infant school and around 1971 Mr. Granath moved to Brightside County Junior in Billericay. Following Mr. Granath's departure the Head Teacher of the junior school from the early 1970s was Miss M.P. Krelle.

Further changes at the top occurred during 1973 when Mrs. Jackson left for the Headteacher's job at the new Lincewood Infants' School in Langdon Hills. P.R. Brookman took over as Acting Head while in the juniors Mr. E.E. Living became the new Head Teacher.

In September 1974 the two schools merged to become Bryn County Primary which it remained for the duration of the schools life. Later Head Teacher in the 1970s Mr. John E.K. McGeachie remained in charge almost to closure, leaving at the end of the summer term in 1981 to take over at Lee Chapel Primary School.

The school closed in 1982 as a result of falling pupil numbers (a fate that would also befell nearby Springfield). Mr. Deely was Bryn's last Head Teacher.

The decision to close the school was the not the first time closure had been contemplated. Years earlier in October 1970 pupil numbers had dropped to 320 which was considered unacceptable and the school was deemed uneconomic to run. The local Education Committee were recommending closure from September 1972 which was supported by the conservative controlled council in a narrow vote but in the event the school remained open but clearly it was on borrowed time. It was also noted that Bryn was always considered a temporary school. The school hit the headlines again the following year in June when chairman of the Education Committee Councillor Alf Dove proposed the school transfer itself to serve the new Fryerns XI (Craylands) housing development. His plan, which did not gain the committees' support, included the closure of Nevendon primary, which he said could be sold to the development corporation and incorporated into the Burnt Mills industrial estate.

Although the school had closed it was not the end of the building - yet. Essex County Council, who set up an Education office in the school around the late 1970s, continued to use part of the building as their Youth and Community office, and in 1983 Basildon Council took over another part where under the guidance of long serving labour councillor Alf Dove the Bryn Activity Centres for the elderly was established. This last venture proved very successful and it was a big disappointment to the council when in 1992 the centre closed following Essex County Council's decision to sell off the site for a residential development.

Following completion of the new development a short cul-de-sac was named Bryn Farm Close as a reminder of the areas past.

Teachers known to have taught there include: Mr. Ringer, Mr. Perry, Miss Harrison, Mr. Lang, Mrs. Brookmans (infants), Mrs. Elliott, Mrs. Cook, Mrs. Hawkes, Mrs. Carroll, Mrs. Leggit, Mrs. Powell, Mrs. Bibby (infants), Mrs. Huett (infants), Mr. Bullbeck, Mr. D. Skilbeck, Mrs. Bolton, Miss George, Mrs. Feeney, Mr. Williams (juniors), Mrs. Tilley, Mr. Watson, Mrs. Bankhead, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Palmer, Mrs. R. White and Mrs. J.A. Whitmore.

Page added: 2013

Other points of interest:
(1) The schools' name already had an association with its location; there once having been a Bryn poultry farm off Church Road long before the new towns inception.

(2) Mr. E.E. Living, Headteacher in the 1970s had previously held the same post at the former Craylands senior school from around 1966 to 28th April 1968.

(3) From the academic year 1990-1991 the school numbering system was changed to run consecutive from primary school onwards. The first year of secondary school is now known as Year 7.

(4) During its time as the Bryn Centre local drama company the Thalian Theatre Group staged three small scale productions there; Timepieces (13th/14th November, 1988), Sweetie Pie (3rd/4th March, 1989) and George & Womberang (29th November-1st December, 1990).

(5) In the 1980s the MSC (Manpower Services Commission) - as part of the Action For Jobs 'Restart' programme - held 'Job Club' sessions there aimed at helping those in long-term unemployment.

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Bryn Primary School

Text researched and written by William Cox, 2013.
Copyright © 2013, B. Cox - Basildon History Online. All rights reserved.

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