Charter Academy opened its doors in September 2009, replacing St Luke’s C of E School. St Luke’s had stood on this ground from 1864 when it was set up to educate the poor of Marylebone. Originally a Sunday school it quickly expanded. 24th April 1865 marked the official opening date of St Luke’s School, Marylebone. 90 boys were admitted. Still in use today, the building of Aldwell was completed by April 1865 at a cost of £1000.
Over the course of its history St Luke’s had the threat of closure hanging over it but poor buildings and Hitler’s bombs failed to close the school. In 1920 the school either had to be rebuilt or closed down, due to the conditions of the building but the Governors, Headmistress and Headmaster thought otherwise in the hope of gradually building up the school.
1922: More adjoining land was purchased and funds were raised to replace the obsolete structure. At this time St Luke’s was the largest and most prosperous school in the town and the diocese. St Luke’s became a school for senior boys and girls of eleven and over, following the Hadow Commission’s reorganisation of schools. The re-organisation cost £8000 due to larger accommodation; much of this was met by voluntary donation.
1933: The senior girls from St Agatha’s, St Jude’s and Portsea Free were admitted as part of an amalgamation. Girls and boys were educated on the same site.
1934: New building erected to house 450 pupils.
September 1939: The school was evacuated by paddle steamer to Ryde on the Isle of Wight, then Newchurch.
April 1940: St Luke’s re-opened in Portsmouth for any remaining pupils, whilst the other pupils remained on the Isle of Wight.
December 1940: The school was damaged by enemy action. Bombs had fallen in Belgrave St., and South Brighton St. Many houses were demolished. The school suffered roof damage from the blast and 100 panes of glass were blown out. Considerable damage was caused by falling shrapnel resulting in leaks. Children were sent home and the staff went to the refuge for the homeless at Omega St. to give assistance. The school was closed until further noticed, owing to extensive damage.
January 1941: Two factories adjoining the school were burnt out by fires caused by incendiary bombs, but the school managed to escape. As many as 25 incendiaries damaged the school, going through the roof, burning two cupboards and their contents and creating holes in the floor. These were put out by sand and the building escaped destruction. The Infant section caught fire but was put out and the school was saved. Many of the roads in the neighbourhood were destroyed and the people evacuated. It became difficult to trace families.
January 1941: The school opened part time. There was no heat as the caretaker was ill and it was impossible to find a man who could manage the boiler. Due to burst pipes there was no water and loos could not be flushed.
March 1941: Portsmouth heavily bombed for six hours. The main school building again suffered damage to roof and windows. All staff reported for duty next morning but only five pupils attended. Pupils were sent home and the staff cleared the debris.
May 1941: The school received a direct hit, tearing the roof away and demolishing a wall and part of the shelter. The new building suffered from the blast and the stockroom and classrooms were badly damaged. The staff room was undamaged. Pupils were sent to Cottage Grove.
1960-61: New school building completed. (Partridge and main school building).
1963-64: The gymnasium was completed. Total cost £168,000.
1966-67: Erection of a new block and agreement over enlargement of the school to cater for 900 mixed pupils from 11-18.
1969: Four storey block (Lovett) was erected.
September 1969: New canteen and catering service introduced.
April 1972 Swimming pool completed. During one bad winter the pool was used for ice hockey! It was also home to the ducks.
September 1990: New gym opens.
November 1992: St Luke’s bottom of league tables at 3% GCSE pass rate.
March 1994: Hampshire County Council in talks to buy troubled St Luke’s which for the last two years had sat at the bottom of Hampshire league table and had 200 spare places.
March 1999: St Luke's was placed in Special Measures and under threat of closure.
2001: School was released from Special Measures. The Technology Block and new swimming pool opened by Prince Andrew.
June 2003: The huts burnt down.
January 2006. A flat in Ladywood house caught fire and the whole block was evacuated to the school, where the pupils looked after the elderly residents.
July 2009: With our opening as a Charter Academy, sponsored by ARK Schools, a new chapter in our history began.