An educational pioneer in Stevenage, James Wyn Lewis joined the staff of an emergency teacher training college after his demobilisation from the army in 1945. Four years later he entered the world of Secondary Modern education when it was still in it’s experimental stage. In 1955 he opened a new school in a New Town- the Heathcote County Secondary Modern School, Shephall.
Although born in Hereford in 1914 Jim Lewis spent the first 27 years of his life in London. After attending Latimer Upper School he entered St Marks and St John’s teacher training college in Chelsea where he took an Honours degree First Class in history. Awarded a Research Scholarship he went to King’s College for a year after which he taught in junior and secondary schools until his call up in 1941. The war over he took up several more teaching positions in London before arriving in Stevenage as Headmaster of the new Heathcote School which opened with just over 120 pupils. Within three years the number had risen to 818 and there were plans for new extensions to the building to accommodate the rising numbers.
Of being headmaster of a new school in a new town Mr Lewis commented “The job is the most interesting of any I have undertaken; it is both stimulating and exciting. To build up from scratch any new school in a new community which has no setteled background or traditions is pretty hard in the early years, and in a new area such as this the school has a most important role to play, for the more stable a community the school becomes the greater its effect in helping to pull together the neighbourhood and build up a community spirit.” Of his boys and girls Mr Lewis says “They are very good material, very biddable and very responsive too : you can get the best out of them” And of his staff “”Whatever success I have had here is due to their support and some pretty solid teamwork.”
Married with two children of primary school age Mr Lewis is connected with the Methodist Church locally and is a member of the Rotary Club of Stevenage