Although only partially complete Harris Church of England Secondary School first opened its doors over 60 years ago on 7th September 1954 to 75 boys. The popularity of the school was such that although it was built to accommodate 560 pupils the demand from places meant that over 650 pupils were admitted in the first few years.
The building was named after Mr Charles Frederick Harris, a local solicitor and layman who for many years was the Chairman of the Coventry Diocesan Board of Finance. In July 1953 his daughter, Miss Marjorie Harris, a governor of the new school laid the Foundation Stone at the main entrance of the school and the Lord Bishop of Coventry Dedicated and Blessed it.
The original plan had been to build two schools, one for boys and one for girls but under the ‘special agreement’ with the Ministry for Education only one school could be built so a girls block and boys block was planned. However when girls first joined the school in 1955 the unusual decision was taken by Governors to educate the girls alongside the boys.
The school was formally opened by Sir David Eccles, Minister of Education on 9th December 1955 and a Service of Dedication led by the Right Reverend Bardsley, Bishop of Coventry was held on 10th March 1960 to dedicate the extensions to the school premises and mark the completion of the school.
“We have met together here today as Brethren, young and old, to mark the Official Opening of this School and by God’s grace we are united in our purpose that this shall be a School of the Church of this realm; wherein the Gospel of Our Saviour Christ may be taught, our duties as His disciples learned, and our membership and fellowship in His Church fostered and nourished. Here boys and girls are given encouragement and help to learn God’s truth and obey His will; that, equipped in mind and strengthened in spirit, they may go forth as worthy citizens to take their place and give due without God’s help; nor can the responsibilities of leaders and teachers be rightly discharged except the Lord uphold and guide them; we shall pray that this School may be dedicated to God; and that all who teach and all who learn within its walls may know God’s Presence and be illuminated by His Holy Spirit.”
TAKEN FROM THE SERVICE OF DEDICATION FOR HARRIS CHURCH OF ENGLAND SECONDARY SCHOOL – THURSDAY 10TH MARCH 1960
The same traditions and commitment to serve the local community and provide a quality faith based education for the young people of the town of Rugby and the surrounding villages, under pinned by a strong Christian ethos, continue today.