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Epsom College, 1962-2000

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From the 1960s to the end of the millenium was one of the greatest periods of change at Epsom College. To some degree this was the result of events far beyond the College's control, but much credit must be given to the leadership shown by successive headmasters and to the College Council. This period was brought to a close, both by a further change of headmastership and by the Statutory Instrument of 2,000, which greatly modified the administrative framework of the Foundation.

The 1960s showed the College to have been remarkably true to its founding principles. More Foundationers and Pensioners than ever before were being supported, while the College was delivering a reasonably priced, high quality education to boys from neighbouring and non-medical families. The College ran firmly along its own principles as a highly Christian, academic, sporting and primarily boarding institution. The challenge of Government regulation through inspection and the exam system had largely been met and the College had the reputation of being one of the best value schools in the country. However, the 1960s saw a social revolution in which boys began to think more for themselves and parents became more demanding, e.g. Sunday Chapel for day boys was unpopular among both parents and boys, while a classical and scientific education was not though sufficiently rounded in a new era of Social Sciences. Friction between parents and the College continued through the headmastership of Mr. McCallum and it was only under Mr. Rowe that changes began to be made. Economics was introduced as an A Level subject, a separate Sixth Form Centre was established and day boys were only required on Sunday on four occasions during the school year. Friction had caused a dip in pupil numbers, which Mr. Rowe more than reversed, but his success was deeper and more important than this. It was under Mr. Rowe that inflation began to change the basic economics of schools like Epsom. Inflation depleted hard-won endowments, necessitating a diminution of the charitable character of the College and the Foundation, but it also diminished debts. In any case, by now the National Health Service was well established and the Medical Profession was no longer in such great need, especially as the immediately post-war generation began to gow up. It was therefore necessary for the first time for the College to operate as a profitable business, which could fund its own renewal. Mr. Rowe began to build, adding a new Swimming Pool and Music School, new Geography classrooms and a totally refurbished Chemistry Block. Indeed, ambitions had gone further, in that a scheme for a new Chemistry Block was stillborne, and plans to admit girls to the Sixth Form remained on a very small scale.

Mr. Rowe's achievements laid the foundations for Dr. John Cook, who from 1982 embarked on a very extensive programme of building and refurbishment. By now fees were rapidly rising and yet numbers of pupils were continuing to grow. Dr. Cook introduced day boarding, increased the number of feeder prep schools, reinforced the academic character of the school while encouraging sports and other activities. It was under his headmastership that the remarkable Ronald Raven Sports Centre was opened by HM the Queen. Mr. Beadles continued in this direction, introducing girls from 13 on the same basis as boys, beginning Design Technology, creating a full IT Department, remodelling the old Swimming Bath and Gym into modern teaching and library spaces and totally changing the central Quad. Mr. Beadles brought more of an emphasis on the Arts and Social Sciences, building the Mackinder Block and making many other changes to reinforce the character of the College, which continued to grow and prosper, but now as an all-round education emphasising activities, sports and of course academic success.