Highfields School was established at the close of the Second World War, at a time when primary and secondary education were being separated. Previously, primary education had been provided within Newark’s Lilley & Stone High School site, but by 1945 that had been phased out and there was a need for a new primary school in the town.
Several interested parents, including Mr Gordon Benoy, Mr Eric Steel, Mr Reginald Sheldrake and Mrs Ida McDonald, pursued every avenue to find a solution without success until Mr Sheldrake offered the use of a single room, free of charge, above his Chemist’s shop in Appletongate.
So began Highfields, or ‘Sheldrakes’ as it was originally known. With just 21 pupils, each child had to bring along his or her own chair to sit on, to be taught by Miss White, the school’s very first Headteacher. Mr Benoy subsequently purchased Highfields House and parkland off London Road for £4,500 from the Ministry of Defence, just as the occupying Military Police were preparing to move out after the war, and ‘Sheldrakes’ – or Highfields as it had now become – moved to its present site off London Road.