Walsall Wood: Education

Pages 283-284

A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 17, Offlow Hundred (Part). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.

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From 1804 until 1826 the governors of Walsall grammar school paid two schoolmistresses to teach children in Walsall Wood to read. Both taught in Walsall Wood village until 1806, when one of them apparently moved to Shelfield. (fn. 1) The vicar of Walsall started a Sunday school at Walsall Wood in 1825 (fn. 2) and set about establishing a day school. Land was leased from Lord Bradford at a nominal rent, and later in 1825 a schoolroom for 50 boys and 50 girls was built. The National Society made a building grant. The vicar intended that the children should be taught free and relied for funds upon subscriptions and help from the governors of Walsall grammar school. The school did not in fact open until 1829, when the governors of the grammar school began to pay the salary of a schoolmaster. In 1833 68 boys and 68 girls attended on weekdays and 80 boys and 84 girls on Sundays. The governors of the grammar school stopped paying the master's salary in 1841, but in 1844 they joined Lord Bradford in settling the school site in trust; the minister of St. John's, Walsall Wood, then became manager. (fn. 3) In 1845 a teacher's house was built with the aid of grants from government and the National Society. By 1857, however, the schoolroom was in disrepair and the school was threatened with the loss of its annual government grant. In 1859 a larger school with a teacher's house was opened in Lichfield Road on a site given by Lord Bradford. The old school and teacher's house were sold and the money applied to the new buildings. (fn. 4) An infants' school was added in 1882. (fn. 5) In 1885 men from the village who attended Sunday morning classes in reading and writing at the schools built a new classroom for the 1859 schoolhouse and altered and added to the infants' school. (fn. 6) The mixed school was again enlarged in 1898. (fn. 7) The schools were reorganized into junior and infants' schools in 1932 and were merged into a single school in 1974. (fn. 8)

Walsall Wood did not come under the jurisdiction of Walsall school board; it was instead one of four areas grouped together in 1876 under a new Nortonunder-Cannock United District school board. (fn. 9) Responsibility for education passed in 1903 to the county council and in 1974 to the metropolitan borough of Walsall.

Schools opened since 1876.

Castlefort Junior and Infants' School, Castlefort Road, Walsall Wood, was opened in 1960 as Holly Lane Junior and Infants' School. It was renamed in 1961. (fn. 10)

High Heath Church of England School was opened c. 1886 as a National school in connexion with the mission church of Christ Church, High Heath. It was closed in 1932. (fn. 11)

Holy Trinity Church of England Infants' School, Clayhanger, was opened in 1880 as a National school for girls and infants. It was housed in a schoolroom beside Holy Trinity Church. (fn. 12) It later became a school for infants only. In 1968 it was moved to a new building on an adjoining site. (fn. 13)

St. Francis Roman Catholic Junior and Infants' School, formerly St. Peter and St. Paul Roman Catholic School, was opened in 1893 for boys, girls, and infants in the Roman Catholic school-chapel on the corner of Mill Road and Broad Lane, Shelfield. (fn. 14) In 1938 the school, renamed after the patron saint of the new church, became a junior and infants' school only. (fn. 15) New buildings in Mill Road to replace the old school were opened in three stages between 1961 and 1969. (fn. 16)

Shelfield Infants' School, School Street, Shelfield, is housed in the premises of the former Shelfield Board School. The board school was opened in 1878 as a mixed and infants' school and was enlarged in 1885 and 1895. (fn. 17) A new building for the infants was opened in 1909. (fn. 18) In 1932 senior pupils were transferred to new buildings in Coalheath Lane, Shelfield, and the School Street buildings became a junior mixed and infants' school. In 1961 the juniors were also moved to the Coalheath Lane buildings. (fn. 19)

Shelfield Junior and Infants' School, Coalheath Lane, Shelfield, was established in 1961 as a junior mixed school with pupils from School Street. It became a junior mixed and infants' school in 1964. (fn. 20)

Shelfield School, Mob Lane, High Heath, a comprehensive secondary school, was opened in 1932 in Coalheath Lane, Shelfield, as Shelfield Senior School. It became Shelfield Secondary Modern School in 1945. In 1960 it was moved to new buildings in Mob Lane. It became a comprehensive school in 1971 and was renamed Shelfield School. (fn. 21)

Shire Oak School, Lichfield Road, Walsall Wood, a comprehensive secondary school, was formed in 1970 by merging Shire Oak Grammar School, opened in 1961, with Walsall Wood Secondary Modern School, which had been moved to new buildings adjoining those of the grammar school in 1966. (fn. 22)

Walsall Wood Junior and Infants' School, Brown hills Road, Walsall Wood, was opened in 1903 as the mixed and infants' Walsall Wood Board School. A new infants' school was erected in 1906, and the original building was enlarged in 1912. (fn. 23) In 1932 the school was reorganized to form a senior school and a mixed and infants' school. The former became a secondary modern school in 1945, moved to new buildings in Lichfield Road, Walsall Wood, in 1966, and merged with Shire Oak Grammar School to form Shire Oak School in 1970. (fn. 24)

In 1974 there were two special schools in the area: High Heath, in Green Lane, Shelfield (1965), and Aldridge (later renamed Oakwood), in Druids Walk, Walsall Wood (1971). (fn. 25)


  • 1. Fink, Queen Mary's Grammar Sch. 267-8.
  • 2. Ibid. 443-4.
  • 3. Nat. Soc. files; Educ. Enquiry Abstract, H.C. 62, p. 890 (1835), xlii; Fink, Queen Mary's Grammar Sch. 268.
  • 4. Nat. Soc. files; S.R.O., D. 812/Walsall Wood National School, plans dated 1857; P.O. Dir. Staffs. (1860).
  • 5. Nat. Soc. files.
  • 6. Ibid.; Lich. Dioc. Mag. 1885, 122.
  • 7. Kelly's Dir. Staffs. (1900).
  • 8. Nat. Soc. files; Walsall Observer, 25 Jan. 1974.
  • 9. S.R.O., C/E/1/B/7, pp. 1, 11.
  • 10. Ex inf. the headmaster (1974).
  • 11. Nat. Soc. files; Staffs. County Council Educ. Cttee. Mins. (1932-3), p. 39 (copy in S.R.O.).
  • 12. Log bk. 1880-1921, p. 1 (at the school, 1974); Nat. Soc. files.
  • 13. Ex inf. the headmistress (1974).
  • 14. Log bk. 1893-1958, p. 2 (at the school, 1974); above p. 282.
  • 15. Log bk. 1893-1958, p. 422.
  • 16. Ex inf. the headmaster (1974).
  • 17. Kelly's Dir. Staffs. (1900).
  • 18. An inscription on the building gives the date 1908, but it was not opened until Jan. 1909: G. Balfour, Ten Years of Staffs. Education, 1903-1913 (Stafford, 1913), 126 (copy in W.S.L.).
  • 19. S.R.O., Survey of log bks. and other sch. recs. (1965), sub Shelfield.
  • 20. Ibid.
  • 21. Ibid.; ex inf. the deputy head teacher (1974).
  • 22. Ex inf. the headmaster (1974).
  • 23. S.R.O., C/E/1/B/7/12, p. 247; Balfour, Ten Years of Staffs. Educ. 126; inscription on building.
  • 24. S.R.O., Survey of log bks. (1965), sub Brownhills.
  • 25. Ex inf. the head teachers (1974).