History of the School

The school is physically very little changed since it was first built at the beginning of the twentieth Century. However it has gone through a number of other changes reflecting the changing policies of local and national governing authorities as well as the changing nature of the community it serves.

In 1929 Carnac Street Central School, a secondary elementary school was opened for children up to the age of 14. This was built by the London County Council. In the 1930s the school became known as West Norwood Central School. Following the Education Act 1944, when the schooling system in the United Kingdom was restructured into primary, secondary and further education, the school became a secondary school under the name West Norwood Central Mixed School in 1951 / 52, also known as West Norwood Secondary School or West Norwood Comprehensive.

In this form, the school was deemed to have been a pioneer. However, in the late 1950s a number of schools were established by the London County Council to form the vanguard of comprehensive education. A large number of pupils and staff from West Norwood Central moved to the brand new Kingsdale School which was opened in 1958. Of the remaining pupils within West Norwood Central’s catchment area, a great many went to the newly established Norwood School for Girls, based at that time on the same premises as the former Gipsy Road School. For those wanting boys only education, the giant Tulse Hill School for boys had been established in 1956 and had already been taking in pupils that may formerly have gone to West Norwood Central.

After this, in 1960 / 61 the school became a primary school for children up to the age of 11 under the new name of Elm Wood Primary School. This is thought to be because the area, which was once part of what was called the Great North Wood (from which the area Norwood itself is a corruption), was once strewn with Elm trees which is reflected in many other local place names, such as Elm Court Road, The Elms, Elmworth Grove, all within a half mile radius of the school.