Nostalgia: Memories of Bishop Luffa School

A picture from the Chichester Observer of the Queen Mother's visit
A picture from the Chichester Observer of the Queen Mother's visit

A REUNION across five decades will see past pupils and teachers return to Bishop Luffa school this year.

The secondary school, on the west side of Chichester, marks its 50th birthday in September.

Tickets for the official opening of the school by the Queen Mother'CONTRIBUTED PICTURE

Tickets for the official opening of the school by the Queen Mother'CONTRIBUTED PICTURE

In September, 1963 what was then Bishop Luffa Church of England Secondary Modern School began with 62 pupils and four teachers, including headteacher Leslie Bartlett and deputy head Margaret Marples.

The harsh winter of 1962-63 had seriously delayed building work at the new school on its present site, so until January, 1964, lessons had to be held in two classrooms in Orchard Street, with Mr Bartlett’s office in a cloakroom.

Once in its proper home, the school was free to flourish and the emphasis on a Christian ethos was symbolised by the altar and sanctuary incorporated into the design of the main hall, now named the Bartlett Hall.

The original four houses: Wilson, Bell, Ridgeway and Burrows, were named after the then Bishop of Chichester and his three predecessors.

Year 11 record of achievement 2003. House colour recipients.'CONTRIBUTED PICTURE

Year 11 record of achievement 2003. House colour recipients.'CONTRIBUTED PICTURE

In 1965, the Queen Mother officially opened the school building and visited all four classes, before a memorable departure from the playing field in a red helicopter.

By 1970, 120 new pupils were joining the school each September and in 1971 the intake became comprehensive in ability, with 180 pupils admitted each year.

The buildings were bursting at the seams before large-scale extensions were completed, and the number of pupils and buildings has continued to grow, so that there are now 1,420 students, including a sixth form of more than 300, with 
95 teachers and 50 support staff.

The 50 years have seen many changes in education and at the school, yet Bishop Luffa has had only three headteachers in that time. John Ashwin took over from Leslie Bartlett in 1981 and Nick Taunt has been headteacher since 2000.

Bishop Luffa building in the early days'CONTRIBUTED PICTURE

Bishop Luffa building in the early days'CONTRIBUTED PICTURE

n What are your memories of Bishop Luffa? If you were a former student or teacher at the school, get in touch with the Observer.

Bishop Luffa students in Home Economics around 1966'CONTRIBUTED PICTURE

Bishop Luffa students in Home Economics around 1966'CONTRIBUTED PICTURE