By the mid to late 1920s it became evident that the school site, enclosed in a corner between
a busy main road and railway, was unsuitable and likely to become even more
so with the great increase in road traffic.
The building was actually condemned by HM Inspectors but, due to the gathering storm clouds of another war in Europe, nothing was done until 1945 when Governors bought the Priory Estate as the future home of a new Camp Hill School.
The school’s new headmistress, Miss Muriel Mandeville, had already joined the school on the retirement of the long-serving and very appropriately named Miss Keen after 30 years. Under the new leadership of Miss Mandeville (1943-1962), the school was brought back together although great problems had to be overcome, with war damaged buildings, planning for the new school, and a rapid increase in school numbers.
The years between 1943 and the move to a new school in 1958 saw increasing overcrowding and the need for more space for school use.
Numbers grew from just 340 girls in 1943 to 550 in 1957 but the waiting ended in 1958 when the move to the present school site in Kings Heath, Birmingham, took place.
When Miss Joan Miller (1963-1978) became headmistress she was no stranger, as a former member of staff at King Edward’s in nearby Handsworth. She was a genius for winning the technical and financial aids the school needed at the time.
An able administrator, she kept the school at the forefront of modern development. During a period of financial stringency and the curtailment of building schemes, she instigated extensions to a school building only nine years old.
Part of an appreciation of Miss Miller stated:
Her wide and progressive outlook was soon reflected in the widening of the curriculum, the encouragement of experimental courses and methods and the provision of improved conditions and equipment to allow staff and girls to work to best advantage. The Sixth Form inparticular expanded under her leadership and another project she had very much at heart was the building of a swimming pool in the school grounds (available from 1972).
Miss Anne Percival (1979–1992) was educated at the King Edward VII Grammar School in Coalville, and intended to become an industrial librarian after graduating in Physics from the University of Birmingham.
But she chose teaching instead and taught physics for 20 years at the King Edward VI High School for Girls, for much of the time as Second Mistress.
Miss Percival led Camp Hill into the technological age, introducing more computer-based work, and increasing co-operation between Camp Hill Girls’ School and the Boys’ School next door, especially at Sixth Form level.
The economic climate of the 1980s, with trade depression, restrictions on public expenditure and high unemployment, and the problems caused by declining child populations, inevitably imposed some agonising decisions on her as an administrator.
Additionally, political prejudices against grammar schools (still a factor today) added extra pressures. In her safe tenure, the school celebrated its 100th anniversary.
Mrs Joan Fisher (1992-2003) was a former grammar school girl. She recognised that the school had to move forward to reflect changes in society and several physical changes took place such as modernising the schools changing rooms and renovating the Sixth Form block.
Mrs Fisher was proud to develop the school’s friendly atmosphere and one of the most rewarding comments from an Ofsted report at that time stated that:
the harmonious ethos of the school is a significant factor to its success.
Mrs Dru James (January 2004 – 2012), the former head of Wolverhampton Girls’ High School, has continued to improve the school, in terms of the buildings and the opportunities offered to the girls. Building projects have included new ICT rooms, renovating the library, additional science laboratories and geography rooms in the Learning Hub, and joint projects with King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys to improve the dining facilities, building a new Sports Hall, and cookery facilities.
The school has also gained recognition as a specialist school for Maths and Computing, and more recently Languages as a result of being a High Performing Specialist School. She has also been instrumental in the school gaining recognition for its work in aspects of Cultural Diversity, the Arts and International work. The most recent Ofsted report for the school states that:
There are many impressive features that combine to make this an outstanding school that gives excellent value for money. Standards are extremely high. The personal development and well-being of the students are exceptional. The outstanding curriculum and outstanding personal and social education very effectively prepare students for the future. The school’s specialist status has had a direct and beneficial impact on the school and the curriculum. Leadership and management are outstanding.
This is clearly due to the excellent leadership of the headteacher.
Mrs Johnson was promoted to her current position as Headteacher on the retirement of Mrs James. Prior to this she had been a Deputy headteacher at the school since joining us in January 2003. In recent meetings with the staff she made the following points.
“I am delighted to be the headteacher of such a great school, one which is unique and special in many ways. A parent at an Open Evening commented that having visited a number of other similar schools, he was so impressed by what he had seen here, he felt that the warmth and obvious enjoyment, the life of the school was evident and really shone through. He suggested that whatever it was that we had we should “bottle it” and market it.
I have come from a background of pastoral work and so recognise that things can and do happen to adolescents which make GCSEs and A levels less of a priority for some individuals at that particular point in their lives. Having said that our primary objective is education and through education giving individuals access to choice for their future. The power of education is immense, bringing with it the ability to transform lives and life chances. The school aims to provide excellence through aspiration and challenge, and high quality teaching and learning, in order that all students and staff achieve in an effective learning environment with good relationships and equality of opportunity. This is something I passionately believe in.
I would like us to make sure we inspire our very bright and able students to achieve all they can, to achieve academic excellence, to enjoy school and to leave ready to take on anything. The students who leave us should be feisty, caring, confident young women who will have very fond memories of their time with us.”