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History of the School

Chronology

1840: A National School was established in Eastry.

1853: Trust deed for a Church of England school enrolled at the Public Record Office - so 2003 was our 150th anniversary.

1859: School rebuilt and enlarged on the Church Street site.

1899: Earliest reference to a separate Infant School.

1910: Mr Trantor appointed as head of Junior School. Including a three year break for military duties in WWI, Mr Trantor is our longest serving headteacher with 29 years’ service when he retires in 1939.

1934: The Infant School is housed on a "temporary basis" in the Village Hall.

1944: Education Act (the Butler Act). Subsequently, Eastry CE Junior School becomes a "Church of England Controlled" School in 1949 - controlled by the local education authority but still with important links to the Church.

1960: New County Infant School built at Cooks Lea.

1969: When Mrs Capron retires as headteacher of the Infant; School, the opportunity is taken to combine the Infant and Junior Schools as a single establishment under the headship of the then serving Junior School headteacher, Mr Fright.

1977: Mr Gabriel appointed as headteacher.

1982: Mr James appointed as headteacher.

1984: Church Street premises closed with school consolidated on Cooks Lea site. Two so-called
"mobile" classrooms installed at Cooks Lea on a "temporary" basis: they were joined by two
others in later years.

1997: School's first OFSTED Inspection.

2000: Millennium Gates installed. School Governors launch latest initiative to build a three classroom extension to replace the "temporary" classrooms - two of which have been "temporary" for sixteen years. Best chance for many years!

2005: Tim Halling appointed as headteacher.

2006: The School began a huge programme of refurbishment.

2006: OFSTED Inspectors found the school to be a good school with a strong Christian ethos.

2009: OFSTED Inspectors found the school to be outstanding.

2011: OFSTED Science Inspection Inspectors found the school to be outstanding.

Yesteryear (and no more)

The school Log Books provide an insight into our community's past. It was a yesteryear though  that was not entirely unique to Eastry and the other local communities that we serve. Many of our past pupils will doubtless remember some of the references.

Empire Day

Celebrated on 24th May each year. Pupils would march through the village, sing patriotic songs and listen to speeches by the headteacher and local dignitaries such as Lord Northbourne. And best of all, there was a half-day holiday in the afternoon.

Our Agricultural Past

When agriculture was more labour intensive, attendance at certain times of the year could be affected. The hop harvest was often cited as the reason for low attendance: as was pea-picking, bird-scaring (from the cherries) and attendance at agricultural shows.

Health

Attendance was also affected by illness. Outbreaks of mumps, whooping cough and diphtheria (scarlet fever) were not uncommon. Pupils were also sent home for "uncleanliness".

Church Links

Links that have changed over the years. Our links with the Church play an integral part in our endeavours to be the gentle school.

1895: School holiday on 25th October to enable teachers to attend the Annual Meeting of

Sunday School Teachers in Canterbury.

1915: Diocesan Inspector's Report: "I heard lessons given in each group. They were all on the New Testament ... All were good and useful lessons".

1938: Scripture Report: "Mr Trantor and his staff have continued to carry on the Religious Instruction of this school in a very commendable manner".

1940: Ash Wednesday. School attended Church Service 9.00 a.m...... School closed in pm in accordance with usual custom.

1941: Ascension Day. School attended Church Service at 9.00 a.m..... Customary half day's holiday taken in pm.

1980: A christingle Carol Service was held in the Parish Church in aid of the Church of England's Children's Fund. Our first ever Christingle Service.

1997: OFSTED Report: "The spiritual, moral and social development of pupils is well promoted".

2009: The Church Inspectors found the School to be ‘outstanding’.

War

1914: Four Belgian refugees attended school

1915: Children (girls) made protectors for soldiers on active service.........." to protect our soldiers from the latest German atrocity in way of gas bombs".

1939: Mr A Davis called at the school "with respect to ARP and billeting in Eastry".

1939: War with Nazi Germany declared (this was underlined in red in the Log Book). Gillingham and Medway towns' civil population evacuated to Sandwich district. Many extra children of  school age arrive in Eastry

1940: From this date there are numerous references in the Log Book to air raids and taking shelter in the church, the school and eventually an air raid shelter.

1945: The Log Book records that the war in Europe was over and was celebrated with 2 days national holidays.

School Discipline

1895: The Punishment Book records that "S" was caned for impudence. Caning was often referred to as so many "cuts".

1906: PC Butler made complaint against "HB" in Class 4 (for stealing). Parents gave permission for correction at school i.e. the cane.

1946: One of many references to Cottage Homes boys: this time about their (apparent) "complete lack of any sense of obedience". Some of their contemporaries have said that they were often unjustly treated.

1997: OFSTED found that "behaviour around the school is of a high standard".

2006: OFSTED reported that the children were polite and helpful.

2009: OFSTED reported that behaviour was ‘outstanding’.

Headmaster Mr Goodsull – (c1933-1956)

By 1933 Mr Tranter had retired after 23 years as the master. The following year the Parish Council minutes stated that the school had become overcrowded so it was decided to move the Infants

Department to the Village Hall in the High Street. In 1935 the minutes record that Mr Goodsull was in charge of the Church of England School for Juniors in Church Street, and that Miss Scott had been succeeded by Miss Peacock at the County Infants School.

In November 1938, the government was of the opinion that a Second World War could happen shortly, and they should make arrangements to evacuate the children and their mothers from the village. Provision was made for special trains to be allocated for this task. At the beginning of 1939, the Parish Council was informed that accommodation was required to be ready in the village in the event of an evacuation of children from the Medway Towns. It was suggested that the Eastry Infants School should be returned to the Church Street School so that the Village Hall could be used as an A&E centre should the need arise but this idea was turned down.

When the schools opened for the autumn term the infants attended full-time at the Village Hall. At the school in Church Street, children attended in the mornings and the Gillingham children in the afternoon. Senior children attended part-time as Sandwich Central (now Technology) School. Later however, when the threat of attack was directed more to this area, the evacuees were returned home. During this time educational needs of the village children were provided by the staff and the Headmaster, Mr Goodsull coping under extreme difficulty. On 4 September 1939, a day after the Prime Minister announced that this country was at war with Germany, The Daily Telegraph carried a Government announcement that all schools would be closed for lessons for a week. They would remain closed until advised by the schools authorities.

In 1940 much to the surprise and delight of the children and teachers, central heating and installation of electrical lights were installed at the schools costing £180.00. But in May The East Kent Mercury reported that village schools were not to be provided with air raid shelters, precautions were to be taken against flying glass by applying sticky tape to windows.

During the early months of 1941 the Board of Education announced that schools can have their own air raid shelters built and the cost reimbursed, on the understanding that such shelters would be made available, when required, as public shelter out of schools hours. Civilians of all shapes and sizes were told to carry a gas mask at all times as a precaution against an enemy gas attack. To encourage young children to wear one, a Mickey Mouse design was produced but a child of five and above had to wear the standard smelly grotesque model which they objected too.

In an article in the East Kent Mercury in 2003, Mr Page of Tilmanstone recalls his early days at the school in 1943, stating: ‘Chanting times-tables and enduring strict discipline are among has lasting memories, particularly remembers the head’s bamboo stick which he kept on top of the cupboard. But I was a good boy, so he didn’t use it on me’.

When the end of the war in Europe was announced on 8 May 1945 there were peace celebrations and parties. When the war in Japan ended later in the year a series of events was held in Peak Pastures on 22 September, where over 600 children and adults were entertained with tea and games. In the evening there was a huge bonfire followed by fireworks, and an open air dance with floodlighting in Church Street.

With the expected post war baby boom it became obvious that the Church Street School would not have sufficient places to accommodate this growth in the population so plans were prepared for a new school in the village to be built. During the 1950’s accommodation was so inadequate that the Kent Education Committee was obliged to hire the Village Hall as an extension to the school until the Infants Department was built in Cook’s Lea. By the summer of 1955, the KCC Estates Department had produced a map indicating where the new school was to be built. Details were kept in Kent Education Committee file No.743.

In February 1957, Mr John Fright was appointed Headmaster of the Junior School on the retirement of Mr Goodsull.

Information provided by Rodney Betts

 

School Children Illustration At Eastry School