School History

The school is named after Sir John Gifford who was a local land owner and owned the land on which the school is built, a copy of his last will and testimony is kept at Northolt Village church.

The first school building was built in the late 1940’s, to be used as a hospital during the war as we are close to the Northolt RAF base. It was never used as a hospital but established as a school in the early 1950’s. If the old school had been used as a hospital, the classrooms would have been the wards, and the offices, staffroom and kitchen areas would have been the operating theatres.

There were two separate schools – Gifford Infant School and Gifford Junior School, but you could walk through from one to the other without going outside. The first Head Teachers at the school were Mrs Mansfield for the Infants and Mr Maguire for the Juniors. Miss Williams and Mr Robinson were subsequent Head Teachers for the Juniors. Mr Maguire has since passed away, however the school planted a tree in memory of him on the school grounds which can still be seen on the path way at the rear of the school field that lead to Northala Park.  Ms Crookes was the Headteacher for 18 years before she left in December 2008.

The first Caretaker at the school was Mr Frederic Cann, who retired from his post in 1981. Ted Evans was the schools Assistant Caretaker. He worked at the school from 1964 (our present Site Manager Mr Townsend was only 7 years old), till 1972.  Shortly after his retirement Mr Evans passed away.  The bench purchased with a commemorative plaque is still on the school site in the Junior playground.

Long serving staff at the school believed that the school was haunted by the ghost of  Mr Evans. On cold winter mornings he would huddle up around the 3 bar fire in his room and cook toast. On some occasions staff returning to school from holidays, claimed that they could smell burning toast. It was believed that the ghost of Mr Evans remained lost in the old school or was it??? On one occasion Mr Townsend pursued after what he thought was a child running down the old school corridors, but when he arrived at the point where the child was last seen, there was no-one there, all the rooms were locked and there were no exits.  The child had disappeared into thin air!!

Gifford use to have it’s own lake. Gifford Primary school had a main drain in the Juniors playground which was always getting blocked and on heavy rainy days would almost completely flood the playground – hence Lake Gifford.

Goslin Close, road opposite Greenford High School, was used to house Italian prisoners of war (World War 2). Some of the roads leading to the school, Greenhill Gardens and Shadwell Drive were built by these prisoners.

Steve Perryman (ex Tottenham Hotspur captain) attended the school. Whilst attending the school, the football won the league in Ealing and Middlesex winning the Wilkinson Shield Trophy. He then moved to Elliott’s Green Grammar school, now known as Northolt High School and left there to join Tottenham Hotspur youth team and subsequently moved up the scale to the 1st team.

The school amalgamated in September 1993, and then plans were made for a new building. The school was knocked down in 2004 and rebuilt on the large site. The rubble from the old school, together with the rubble from Wembley Stadium and White City Stadium was used to build the hills at Northala Park. The new school, part of the governments Private Finance Initiative transformation, had room for 630 pupils, 100 nursery places and was fully equipped to cater for pupils with special needs and incorporated a Hearing Impaired Unit. The school was officially opened by Kwame Kwai Armah (ex Casualty and Fame Academy star). The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by Ealing Mayor Cllr. Ian Potts and Stephen Pound MP as well as Ms Crookes who was the headteacher at the time.

The current Headteacher, Mr Cook took up his role in September 2009. The school has grown since opening and now has 690 places plus a 100 place Nursery and from September 2011 has been a 4 form entry school which will mean 120 places in each year group.

In 2010, we were one of only 80 primary and secondary school recognised as ‘achieving’ and ‘highly improved’ to be invited to No 10 Downing Street, to meet the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for children, Families and Schools. We are delighted to be recognised for the huge improvements that have taken place at the school. Since then our end of key stage results have continued to improve and we have developed a huge number of clubs and other activities.

The school also has some long serving members of staff who actually attended the school when they were children. The current Assistant Caretaker Mrs Woolmore started at the school as a relief cleaner in 1985. Mr Townsend, Site Manager began work as a Caretaker on 10th June 1985.

Once the cleaners bombarded Mr Townsend with snowballs outside the building and ran inside, not for once thinking that he would still chase them inside the building and pelt them back with snowballs down the corridors – but guess what he did!!

The Gifford Shield – What do the items within the shield represent?

  • Oak tree – The Oak trees of Ealing Middlesex (Ealing has a lot of Oak trees)
  • The arms – The arms are based on the traditional arms of the kingdom of the East and Middle Saxons
  • The red circles – Taken from Lord Gifford’s Coat of Arms
  • GPS – stands for Gifford Primary School

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