St Mark's School Bath and predecessor schools
Records of St Marks C of E Comprehensive School and its predecessor schools the Diocesan Girls' School and Walcot Secondary Modern (formerly Walcot Parochial School).
St Swithins (known as Walcot) National School was erected in Guinea Lane in 1840 to accommodate up to 1000 children - boys, girls and infants. From 1862 the parish of Walcot took over responsibility for the provision and management of schools within the parish from the Weymouth House Committee. By 1899 the Walcot Parochial Schools (as it was by then known) building in Guinea Lane had been condemned, and while negotiating for a site for a new boys school the Committee found it necessary to provide for girls and infants as well, and secured a site in Walcot St. In 1900-1901 the school was rebuilt in Walcot Street, with completely separate boys, girls and infants departments. In 1937 the decision was taken that the duplication of functions, staffing and space caused by this arrangement was no longer sustainable, particularly in view of the increased accommodation necessary when the school leaving age was raised to 15, and that the school should be converted to one mixed school under one Head. The Senior Boys' School was therefore amalgamated with the Senior Girls' School in January 1938, to form Walcot Senior Mixed School. In 1945 it became Walcot Secondary Modern School following the changes brought about by the 1944 Education Act. The infants department was transferred to East Walcot School in 1947 to create more much-needed space for the new secondary modern.
From September 1959, despite opposition from some staff including the Headmaster, who believed in the co-educational future of the school, the school was reorganised as a purely girls' school under the control of the Diocese rather than Walcot Parish. It was perceived that single sex education was more popular with parents, and would also help to distance the school from a former poor reputation. It would also be necessary to rebuild the school, and this was something which only Diocesan money could fund. The school was named the Diocesan Secondary Modern Aided Girls' School (later Bath Diocesan School for Girls), and boys were transferred to Oldfield Boys' and Westhill Schools. In 1963 the foundation stone was laid for the rebuilding of the school on the Bay Tree Farm site to provide non-selective secondary education for girls from Central and Eastern parts of Bath and for children whose parents wished them to be brought up in the Anglican faith from the whole of Bath and the neighbouring County area. In 1965 the new buildings were occupied. Throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s various plans for the future character and size of the school and the place it would take alongside other schools in Bath were under discussion with the Bath Local Education Authority. Under the leadership of Amy Cadwallader, who retired in 1974, the school's strong wish was to remain single-sex, whether as secondary modern, grammar or comprehensive. In 1972, following the Bath LEA's resolution to abolish selection for secondary education, the school became comprehensive, by resolving to "admit all pupils without reference to ability or aptitude" from September 1973. By 1976 the small size of the school was threatening its position, particularly as it seemed unlikely that it would be able to maintain a viable 6th form. Co-education thus began to be seen as the most sustainable option for going forward and for strengthening the perceived role of the Church of England in educating all pupils regardless of gender. Plans were put forward for the school to become co-educational from September 1981, which it did as St Mark's C of E Comprehensive School. The Governors chose St Marks as St Mark was the only major Christian saint to whom no church in the City was then dedicated, to demonstrate that the school served the whole of the Bath Deanery and several parishes beyond.
See 0699 for further records relating to East Walcot Infants School, one of the schools in the Walcot Group.