Stapleford Primary School 150th Birthday Celebrations (1872-2022)

On the 23rd September 1872 Stapleford Primary School officially opened the doors of its new school building for the first time. Now, 150 years later, we are still in residence and are going from strength to strength! To mark the occasion of our 150th anniversary a special church service was held for pupils, staff, families, governors and even some of our alumni. Archdeacon Janet McKenzie and Reverend Jenny Gray led the service which was a wonderful celebration of our history. To really gain an insight into what it was like all those years ago some of our pupils read out extracts of interviews, from the early 1970’s, when ex-pupils were reminiscing about their childhoods for the centenary anniversary. One example is below:

Reading 1: Hello, I am Mrs M Shepherd and I attended Stapleford Primary School between 1897-1909. I started school at the age of three as we all did in the olden days. We had a School Master, Mister Tinner, and his wife taught the infants. There was one small room for the infant class and the big room (this is now our school hall) was divided into three parts by green curtains. There was one fireplace in this room. The first lesson every morning was scripture and every Wednesday morning the Rector came in to take the scripture (Reverend Jenny still visits every Wednesday morning). Once a year a scripture inspector came to inspect our knowledge (These days our Diocese inspection happens every five years). In my early years we paid half a penny into a shoe club and at the end of the year Mr Abel Smith, of the Woodhall Park Country Estate, added one penny to every half penny we paid. We were then able to buy boots for all of the family. Hunting took place in those days and sometimes children would go hunting instead of going to school. We had several floods in the village and enjoyed them as we couldn’t get to school but sometimes we were taken in carts.

Another of the historical interviews referred to going on a weekly nature study walk which was followed up by the Pupils writing an essay on what they saw/found.  150 years on we still make the most of our wonderful countryside location. Our Forest School visits the local woodland and stream every week which is a vital part of our mental health and wellbeing curriculum.

It should be noted that the Abel Smith family have been incredibly generous to the school and its pupils over the years. Even today we access the Woodhall Park Estate Countryside to enhance our lessons and still only pay a peppercorn rent, of a single home grown rose, for the use of the school house each year. We would like the family to know that we are all incredibly grateful for this generosity. Thank you.