West Ruislip ES History

Opened: 1962
Closed: 2006

The West Ruislip American Elementary School was located fifteen miles west of the center of London and was situated next to the last station on the Underground Central line. The school was not situated on a base facility. All major support facilities were located at High Wycombe which was eighteen miles away or Upper Heyford which was fifty-five miles away. West Ruislip was officially opened in the fall of 1962 and the school closed forty-four years later in June 2006. The school facility was returned to the British and was later used as a childcare center.

Almost all of the students lived in the surrounding English communities and were brought to school by bus. High school students attended school at London Central High School.

In the late 1950’s, plans were developed for the construction of a new school at West Ruislip. The school was to consist of twenty classrooms in the shape of the letter “H” with the horizonal line being the link corridor to the classes on the vertical lines of the “H”. There were to be twelve classrooms on the west side and eight on the east side along with the administrative offices, cafeteria and main entrance.

During the 1980’s the main entrance was moved to the north side of the link corridor as the old entrance was blocked off and replaced by new offices. A multi-purpose was built as a separated facility that was used for physical education classes, assemblies and community functions. The playground was extensive, surrounding the multipurpose room including a large area north of the building known as the “hardtop”.

For the 1981-82 school year, the school facility included sixteen classrooms, library, cafeteria, offices, faculty lounge, parent room and a multi-purpose room. There were twenty staff personnel for the 1981-82 school year. The staff included nine classroom teachers, music specialist, learning development specialist, school psychologist, counselor, librarian, host nation teacher, two educational aides, supply clerk, school secretary, and principal. There were 220 pupils enrolled in grades kindergarten through six.

During its forty-four-year history, the principals in charge of West Ruislip were:

  1. Mrs. Eunice Matthews
  2. Dr. William Kilty
  3. Ms. Gertrude Riley
  4. Mrs. Lois Robertson
  5. Dr. Edward Brenna
  6. Dr. Karla Stark
  7. Mr. James Burns
  8. Dr. Raymond Smith
  9. Ms. Judith Mayo
  10. Ms. Cathy Magni
  11. Ms. Martha Parsons

During the first fifteen years of the school, the enrollment was 400 plus, thereby relieving the nearby Eastcote Elementary of its heavy student enrollment. In 1975, the base at South Ruislip closed and the school’s population decreased significantly to about 140 students. In 1980 the High Wycombe Elementary School and West Ruislip consolidated and for the next twenty-six years the enrollment ranged between 200-300 students.

The curriculum included activities in mini-courses, weekly assembly programs and student government. Up until the 1980’s there were weekly assembly programs every Friday at 9 am. All staff members took part in organizing a 10–30-minute program for students and staff to share their learning. The programs included drama presentations, holiday programs, multi-cultural presentations, music events, talent days and guest speakers. One of the school’s famous assemblies was a visit by a team of American astronauts during the 1990’s.

During the 1970’s and 1980’s West Ruislip Elementary School conducted mini-courses so students could take special programs such as drama, board games, bridge, chess, tumbling, gardening, cookery, folk dancing, knitting, cardboard carpentry, choir, flag football and library club. The classes lasted for about eight weeks, two times a week for one hour for the last hour of the school day.

The school had an active host nation program taught by a qualified British teacher. The program included a myriad of study trips and experiences for the students both in school and away from the school. Students visited many cultural sites in London and the surrounding area. In the spring of 1979 some students participated in the International Year of the Child in Hyde Park, London. A few students were able to meet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and others met the newly installed Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. Many years, students participated in overnight study trips of three to five days. There were trips to Wales, the Isle of Wright, Kent, York, Bath, Stratford-on-Avon and an outdoor education trip to the Devon seaside.

In 1994-95 there were 290 students in PreK–6. The staff included eleven classroom teachers, physical education and special education teachers, school social worker, pre-school handicapped teacher, teacher for the hearing impaired, nurse, speech therapist, counselor, librarian, host nation, talented and gifted teacher, compensatory education teacher, educational aides, school secretary and principal.

The school colors were blue/light blue and the school mascot was a stegosaurus named Steggy Spike, “Steggy”, for short. The first yearbook for the school was for the 1981-82 school year. Yearbooks were published until the school closed in 2006.



Information from an essay written by Edward J. Brennan Ed. D. and published in Home Bases, Memories and Stories of US Military Bases Around London by Sean Kelly and from DoDDS School Information Guides.


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