A History of Change
Greenfield School was founded in 1935 and began life as a co-educational junior school.
During the Second World War, Miss Hilda Ruth Hicks, who had trained as a teacher in Bristol, was teaching and working as Deputy Head at the Woking Girls’ Grammar School on Old Woking Road. In 1939, Miss Hicks purchased a house on Brooklyn Road in Woking, known as Beechlands.
In 1948 Miss Hicks and her cousin, Miss Joyce Pearce, rented Greenfield School from the estate of Miss Pearce’s uncle, Henry Quartermaine, and in 1954 opened a girls’ senior school in Miss Hick’s house on Brooklyn Road as an addition to Greenfield Junior School. Also in 1954, Miss Hicks and Miss Pearce, along with their friend, Margaret Dixon, set up the Ockenden Venture; a charity dedicated to assisting children and young people displaced by war and to provide them with an education. Many of the children who came to Woking as part of the Ockenden Venture were educated at Greenfield School.
Ruth Hicks was Principal of Greenfield School from 1948 to 1982. She passed away in 1987 and the school, which was by this time a charitable trust, continued to operate as a co-educational junior school on Constitution Hill, and a girls’ senior school on Brooklyn Road for the next 5 years.
In 1992, the difficult decision was made to close the girls’ senior school. With so many schools on larger sites attracting both boys and girls further afield, the decision was made to close the senior school and move the junior school to Brooklyn Road. Both Ockenden House and the school site on Constitution Hill have since been sold and replaced with more modern housing, but the name Ockenden lives on in the road names of the properties built on the land.
In the years since the junior school transferred to Brooklyn Road the school has maintained its nurturing and caring ethos, welcoming children from all walks of life and embracing diversity in all its forms. The school has continued to thrive under the leadership of women; Mrs Becker (Headmistress), Mrs Radcliffe (Headmistress), Mrs Richardson (Bursar) and now Mrs Botting (Headmistress). Each of whom endeavoured to continue the legacy left behind by Miss Hicks and Miss Pearce. Many changes have been made over the years, including a new sports hall, music rooms, additional classrooms and many reconfigurations to the internal layout. Investment has been made to the school’s curriculum, timetable and staffing to ensure all the children receive the very best education available. The introduction of pre-school classes have allowed more children to benefit from a Greenfield education and the senior school entrance results have never been better.
Junior School pupils have spent 27 happy years at Brooklyn Road and the various staff and leaders who have passed through have made every effort to utilise the site to the best of its capacity. Despite this, the school has outgrown the Brooklyn Road site and it is time to start another new chapter.
We firmly believe that it is the people that make a school feel like home and not the building it exists within and we will ensure that wherever Greenfield exists, now or in the future, feels like home to all those who enter. By a strange twist of fate however, the school’s new home on Old Woking Road brings us back to the beginning of Miss Hick’s teaching career in Woking; the site which was once the Woking Girls’ Grammar School where she was Deputy Head.
Whilst there will be sadness on the part of all the staff, parents and pupils at leaving the Brooklyn Road site, the school’s history of change reassures us that this opportunity is not to be feared but should be embraced; ensuring that Greenfield School may continue to provide an outstanding education in Woking for another 85 or more years.