Preston Primary School is fast approaching its 100th Birthday. Read on to discover all about our school, from 1907 to the present day.
In the beginning...
To most people Preston on Tees is a place you pass through on the way to and from Yarm and Stockton in the North East of England. It is home to the beautifully historic Preston Hall and its surrounding park, which also includes a famous butterfly farm.
Preston's history stretches way back to the Norman period, when the settlement was made to protect a crossing point of the River Tees.
It was in the 19th Century when the Preston we have come to love was born. Development was rapid as the first ever railway track was laid in the Parish grounds. This made for an ideal residential area for all classes of society. A mix of houses from terraced cottages to large detached properties was built.
Throughout this time, many people believed that the best education of children was work experience. Children as young as 4 were employed in mines. When the 1870 education act was passed, many employers were set against it. It embraced the idea of free education for all children aged 5 to 12. In 1902 there was a new education act raising the school leaving age to 14. It was at this time that a school at Preston was considered. It took until 30/6/1906 before money was supplied to design and build this new school, called Eaglescliffe Junction School.
Mr J Sanderson was given the post of architect, and he oversaw the whole construction work. For this he was paid £80.
On the 10th of April 1907 the school appointed its first ever headteacher - Mr Adam Currie-Snaith who was given a salary of £125 per year.
Work was deemed completed in December 1907 and in the end the school cost £3,371. 5 shillings 7 and a half pence to build.
Eaglescliffe Junction School opened on the 26th of August 1907. The first infant school pupil registered was Edith A Lennard. The first pupil registered in the mixed section was Sarah Annie Easton. On the first day there were 58 infants, and 78 in the mixed 7 to 14 age group.
Within a few years, possibly by local usage Eaglescliffe Junction School Preston was universally known as Preston School Eaglescliffe.
Preston Primary School 1910
The middle years...
The school went through many changes; new staff, pupils and new ways of doing things. In the beginning, pupils used sand trays to write sums in and slates were used for writing. Pencils and paper were only used for special occasions and only the older children were allowed pen and ink, which were used by dipping nibs into inkwells.
Throughout the Second World War Preston Primary had an interesting but tragic time. In the event of severe bombing of the area, the school was to be a community centre, and for this purpose blankets and mattresses were stored in the cupboards in the corridor. Four air raid shelters were built around the playground and each child had to bring a small pack of biscuits to school which were kept in the shelters in case of an extended air raid.
Unfortunately, one of the school's pupils died while attending school during the Second World War. The 6 year old girl, Margaret Lilian Cooke, was found dead under a pile of mattresses which had collapsed in the corridor. It was thought that she died from suffocation.
During the 1950s, the school attendance numbers increased to around 320 children. This is around twice the numbers that currently attend the school. Imagine the crush!
As the school increased in numbers, it also increased in size, and new huts were built around the edges of the school.
Preston Primary School 1985
The later years...
Preston Primary School has been going through some big changes just recently. We built a very popular Play Area, with wooden beams, a log house a bright blue wigwam and a springed see-saw. The children love it and play on the Play Area during break times and special treats.
We modified existing buildings to create a Foundation Stage area, incorporating Nursery, Reception and Y1 children, and ahoy there shipmates - we put a fantastic, multi-coloured boat in the Foundation Stage's very own fenced off area.
In 2003 we were able to open our brand new building, the Galloway Resource Centre. This incorporated a new library with audio and visual learning facilities, and a state-of-the-art ICT suite. The resource centre was named after Miss Marjorie Galloway, a previous pupil at Preston Primary School and a governor of many years service whose aim has always been to provide the best possible education for the children of Preston.
ICT Suite and Library - Built 2003