JP van Rooij ULO-MAVO in Drunen

A new episode of Historisch Heusden written by Bart Beaard and this time it’s about part 128 of Historisch Heusden JP van Rooij ULO-MAVO in Drunen. Advanced primary school educationabbreviated ULO, was a school type after it public school and was established as a result of the Education Act of 1857.

Until 1963, the students from Drunen municipality had to rely on the ULOs in Heusden, Nieuwkuijk and Waalwijk. With the introduction of the Mammoetwet in 1968, MAVO came and ULO disappeared.

The topic package
For ULO, the standard curriculum without options consisted of: Dutch, French, English, German, algebra, geometry, geography, history, biology, physics, business accounting, accounting and gymnastics. Religion and biblical history were also on the program at the Protestant Christian and Roman Catholic ULO schools. The teaching was given in a fixed schedule. In addition to the 3- or 4-year ULO-A, there was ULO-B, where additional algebra, geometry (including trigonometry) and physics (physics including mechanics) were taught and examined in the final/exam year.

Teaching staff at the RK boys’ school in Stationsstraat, around 1945. JP van Rooij; seated, 2nd left

The basis for the ULO school
Due to the drastic increase in the number of inhabitants in Drunen municipality and a shift from vocational education to general education, more and more students attended ULO schools in Waalwijk, Heusden and Nieuwkuijk. The need for a ULO school in Drunen was increasing. This growing need was substantiated by a report from the Economic Technological Institute on the local and regional educational situation, a municipal education memorandum from 1961 and data from the Catholic Central Bureau of Education. Drunen proved to have a sufficiently broad base to found a ULO school. On 24 September 1963, the founding meeting was held in the parish rectory of St. Lambertus. The foundation’s first board was formed by H. Pelders (chairman), J. van Herpt, J. Handgraaf (secretary), G. van Hulten, A. Wagemakers and dean F. Werner (bishop commissioner).

Began to wander
Already in the middle of 1963, the provisional board was looking for a director ‘who knew his stuff’. Hans Barten, a teacher at the ULO school in Goirle, was appointed director. But there was no building and no students yet. Only a declaration of intent from 67 parents who wanted to place their children at a ULO school in Drunen. Hein Nass was subsequently recruited as a new teacher. In September 1963, two classrooms were rented by the Protestant Albert Schweitzer School. The ULO school started with two classes with 33 and 34 children. During the school year, Hennie van der Maazen was recruited as a third teacher, and an extra room was rented. In the school year ’64-’65 there were three classrooms in the Albert Schweitzer School and two classrooms in the former Vocational School for Shoemakers. In the school year ’65-’66, five classrooms in the Paulus School were rented instead of the three classrooms at the Albert Schweitzer School. The number of students continued to grow steadily. A few more mobile saloon cars were placed behind Paulusskolen. In 1966 there were nine classrooms and in 1967 eleven. On 1 August 1967, 140 pupils left the Druen public schools and went there; 33 for MO, 53 for ULO, 25 for LTS, 5 for the agricultural school and 24 for the home economics school.

JP van Rooijschool with the artwork by Wim Suermondt on the right

A new school building
In 1966, Drunen’s architect J. Verhagen was asked to prepare a sketch plan and a budget for a new 12th-grade school. In the meantime, the municipal council has designated a piece of land on Kastanjelaan. After many consultations and many adjustments, a final design was made. Then the ministry’s permission was still required. This came in mid-September ’67, just as the building permit and tender for construction could be completed. The building was awarded to the construction company H. Pennings & Zn. from Rosmalen and the tender amount was ƒ899,700. It was to be completed within a year. The building consisted of two wings with six classrooms each, auditorium, teacher’s room and gymnasium. On Saturday 19 October 1968, the school was officially opened by Mayor H. Stieger.

The board believed that the school should be named after someone who had meant something in teaching in and for Drunen. JP van Rooij, the former head of the primary school for boys, was soon named. In the period 1919 to 1948, Mr. van Rooij the youth in and out of school.

by Mrs. A. van Rooij, the name of the new school, “JP van Rooij MAVO”, was announced. With the introduction of Mammoetwet, it was no longer a ULO school, but from now on a MAVO school. Approximately two months after the opening, a work of art by Wim Suermondt depicting the mobility of youth was placed. Suermondt was a teacher at Møller College in Waalwijk.

Throughout its existence, the school has realized an extensive cultural program, but the most talked about in the 1980s was the financial support for a building for the primary school in La Sabana in Nicaragua. Thanks to this school, the foundation stone of which was laid in 1982, many children from poor families can continue their education. The school now bears the name of the late IKON journalist Koos Koster.

The teaching staff around 1968. B: Hans Barten, M: Hennie van der Maazen, N: Hein Nass

The ending
In 1993, the new d’Oultremont College was opened in Drunen, as the only secondary school in the current Heusden municipality. So far, the college offers courses for MAVO, HAVO, Atheneum and Gymnasium. The students come from Heusden municipality and surrounding villages, which means that the school fulfills a regional function. But that meant the end of the MAVO schools in Drunen, Heusden and Vlijmen.

In 1996, the MAVO building on Kastanjelaan was demolished and made way for housing. After the demolition, the artwork by Wim Suermondt was moved to the courtyard of d’Oultremont College. In mid-2022, it was moved to Dr. Mollercollege at Olympiaweg in Waalwijk.

Bart Beard

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