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Old Mortimer Wilson logoNew Mortimer Wilson logoOut With the Old � In With the New

On 13th February 1939, Mr Wilfred Dawes became the first Headmaster of the brand new Mortimer Wilson School and that date was soon followed, on 16th March 1939, by the formal opening of the school by Alderman W. Mortimer Wilson, MA, whose name went on to be borne by the school for close on 70 years. The school opened as a non-selective establishment with two separate schools within, the boys and girls being educated separately.

Mortimer Wilson was a local man who progressed up the industrial ladder to become manager of several local coal mines, and his name will continue to be celebrated when Alfreton Grange Arts College opens its doors at the beginning of September 2008, 69 years after the school was closed on account of the start of the Second World War! That closure lasted only a month and soon education in this part of Alfreton was in full swing.
The 1974 edition of the school�s newsletter celebrated the career of Wilfred Dawes, who retired in that year, and amongst the items in the diary of the school we are informed that J. Flint of 1a caught his foot under the roller at lunchtime on 3rd July 1940, whilst after the end of the war, in February 1947, one of the coldest winters on record, coal stocks were down to just 1 ton with little prospect of procuring more!

On 16th October 1950 there was a cleanliness inspection. Fortunately all of the boys were clean!

Now it�s the turn of Alfreton Grange Arts College to lead the educational needs of the town. The school�s new-found status will be accompanied by many exciting developments over the next few weeks and months.

There�ll be brand new electronically driven tiered seating in the main hall, the small hall will become a dance studio and there�ll be a new Arts Computer Suite in the Music Block. The current staff room will become an arts centre and there�ll even be a school TV station, GTV!

It�s not just the arts that will benefit. There�ll be a continuation of the upgrade of ICT equipment. There�ll be new computers in English and Humanities, whilst Science will have its own set of laptop computers.

And the school recently announced a really exciting package of technology that will be made available to all of the incoming Year 7 students, which will enable them to benefit from the additional funding made available to the school.

They will all receive a mini-computer of their own as well as an electronic keyboard to help their musical ability.

Wilfred Dawes, who was awarded the MBE for his services to education in Alfreton, was a proud man and the current Headteacher, Wendy Sharp, is delighted to have been given the blessings of Mr Dawes� children, Peter and Jill, regarding the new name. They will be sending some memorabilia to display in the school to ensure that the history of the school is never forgotten.

The �Old� may be about to relinquish its glories, but the �New� has many myriads of future history to write. Here�s to Alfreton Grange Arts College.

Phil Tooley,

Business Manager

Mortimer Wilson � Alfreton Grange Arts College

From the Derbyshire Times report �

Headteacher Wendy Sharp said: �This change coincides with the school�s success in attaining specialist status in the arts and heralds a new and exciting future for education in Alfreton and the surrounding district. The decision to change the name was not taken lightly. While we will continue to honour and respect the school�s heritage and Mortimer Wilson, the man whose name the school has carried since the 1930s, there was a majority support for seizing the opportunity to make a brand new start. Both within and beyond the school community, the school�s excellence in the arts has been widely recognised for many years. It is fitting that this honour is now formally recognised and we look forward to many more improvements in the coming months and years.�

The Grange Street school will move into a new school building by 2012 under the Government�s Building Schools for the Future programme, and will dedicate a special room to Mortimer Wilson to celebrate his contribution to Alfreton. The school�s specialist arts status will bring in funding to improve resources, ICT and create further opportunities for partnership work with other local schools. The new school uniform was designed in consultation with students and will see the current sweatshirts swapped for smarter blazer-style jackets and a tie.