1920 - 1932
A permanent replacement for Mr. Major was not appointed until February 1920. The new headmaster was Mr. Ernest William Johnson, a mathematics honours graduate from Cambridge University. He came to Ardwick from the Central High School for Boys where he had been a staff member.
Electric lights were installed in the building in May of 1921. Mr. Woodhead says of the school in 1921 "The school was selective, many teachers gained promotion to Headships from the school and therefore it would be fair to assume that with the reputation of the school standing very high, teaching posts at the school were very much sought after."
In 1922 Mr. Albert Mercer took over as the Headmaster of the school and Principal of the Evening Centre.
Apart from the Manchester Leaving Certificate examination for those leaving after 5 years, the main examination was the Joint Matriculation Board's Matriculation and School Certificate examination, which was firmly established as a national examination.
It was during this period that some staff members arrived who continued to serve the school into the 1950s. Mr. H. F. Hirst arrived in September 1924 and stayed for 37 years. In September 1926 Mr. H. E. Marchington joined the staff, and like Mr. Hirst, he, with one six month break, stayed for 37 years.
In 1926 a national education committee, the Hadow Committee, published a report on national education and this stimulated further changes to the structure of schools.
By 1929 the Manchester Education Committee produced its re-organization plan. They proposed establishing several senior schools for the purpose of providing courses to 11 to 14-15 years olds. Many Central Schools became senior schools and by 1934 there were 11 Central Schools accommodating 4200 pupils. Ardwick was one of the 11.
The school motto was "Duty First" and by this time, school colours were green and yellow. Girls wore gym slips, and there was a winter hat, known as a "pork pie" hat, which fitted like a skull cap. In summer a wide brimmed straw hat with coloured hat band could be worn. School ties were worn by both boys and girls. A green blazer was also available with a school badge bearing the letters A. C. S. and with the emblem of a brightly burning torch. School uniform was not compulsory.
Mr. Mercer retired as Headmaster on March 23, 1932. Present at his retirement celebration was Councillor Wright Robinson, Chairman of the Education Committee.