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National School

New Road

A conveyance was drawn up by Robert Stayner Holford the owner of Wootton Manor Estates giving land at Bridge Mead for use as a school in Wootton Bridge in 1866. The land was given into the ownership of the Minister and Churchwardens of Arreton, [at that time Wootton was part of North Arreton]. Part of the conveyance stipulated that: -
”said premises and all buildings thereon erected or to be erected to be for ever hereafter appropriated and used as and for a school for the education of Children or Adults or Children only of the labouring manufacturing and other poorer classes… and for no other purposes”

R.S. Holford, Rev. Charles Islewood Burland, Minister of Arreton, Frederick Roach, and Robert Jacobs, Churchwardens signed this document.

Subjects to be taught would be reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, scripture, history and needlework for girls.

The main schoolroom was 34ft 6inches long by 18ft wide, and the infants measuring 16ft by 14ft. The building was designed by Mr R. Jones of Ryde.

The official opening of the school took place on the 18th May 1867 with 67 children enrolled [reported in The Isle of Wight Recorder]. In the 1871 census it lists 128 children as scholars whose age range was from 4 to 12 years old, in 1872 the number of scholars was 105 and by 1885 the number had reached to 200.

An extension to the school was opened in 1873, made possible by public subscription including a contribution from Queen Victoria. A further list for 1878 shows that an additional £37 15s 2p had been raised by subscriptions. In the early days responsibility for the school rested with the church or other bodies. In 1902 education became the reasonability of the Local Education Authorities and in 1933 control off the school passed Newport Borough Council. Initially the school taught all ages, but in 1953 the school changed to become a mixed infants, teaching up to the age of 11 years.

During its 102 year life the school only had 7 head teachers, which must be something of a record. The first headmaster was a Mr Guy who with his wife was in charge until 1876. Mr Edmund Brading from Rookley School was the next to be appointed, by which time the school role had risen to 97 pupils and 5 teachers. Mr Brading was in charge for 23 years until 1899 when a Mr Harry Sait was appointed; Mr Sait was in charge of the school through the First World War until retiring through ill health in 1919.

The next to be appointed was a Mr Frank Steers who was in charge for 8 years; he was followed in 1927 by a Mr Sidney Leonard who was forced to retire in 1936 through ill health. The next headmaster was Charles Reed whose appointment was initially on a temporary basis but lasted through the Second World War; his was a difficult period for the school with wartime restriction, air raids and evacuees. He was replaced 1944 by Alan Charles Blundell who was in charge for 9 years before being forced to retire through ill health.

In 1953 Mrs Megan Marlar who came from Barton School was appointed and became the first headmistress of the school, it was at this time that the school was designed as a junior infants school with an age limit of 11 years.

Mrs Marlor was the last of the seven head teachers who had provided over a 100 years of service, the school finally closing its doors on the 25th April 1969 with the transfer of children and staff to the new school in Church Road.

For those people who want a more detail history of the school, please refer to “the History of New Road School” which is part of the Wootton Millennium Project.

Wootton School During The Second World War

Life inevitably was widely disrupted, despite the proximity of two major ports; the Island was considered a safe area, suitable for evacuees, a view that the Islanders who found themselves in the firing line undoubtedly did not share. Enemy bombers used the Creek as a guide and on occasions jettisoned their remaining load on their way back to base, while “dog fights” were a familiar sight. Later in the war the Island was designated as a “pink area”, meaning that enemy invasion was highly probable.

The following is an extract from a personal account by George Osborn entitled “An Evacuee’s Story”

With the arrival on 1 September 1939, 12,246 Portsmouth schoolchildren sent to reception centres over a wide area of Hampshire, Wiltshire and Isle of Wight.

Three ferries formed part of the Special Evacuation between Portsmouth and Isle of Wight. The first batch arrived at Clarence Pier at 9 o’clock with Sergeant Wilson in charge of policing. Just over 4000 schoolchildren and helpers arrived at Ryde Pier during the first day.

Children was given an official paid postcard to send back home when there billeting address was known.

George Osborn was five years three month on 3 September 1939. Brenda his sister was fifteen months older. They were from the Meon Road School (Infants) in Portsmouth.

Each child was given a paper carrier bag containing a tin of condensed milk, 2 tins of something else and a bar of chocolate.

Mrs. Gallop, later known as Auntie Annie snapped up Brenda. Mrs Gallop lived in the house next door to the girl’s orphanage [Holford House] in New Road with a garden that extended to Red Road. The house was built in 1863. It had three floor, top 2 floors had two bedrooms, with the third story in the roof.

Mrs. Wilson of Station Road, close to St, Marks Church eventually took in George on a temporary basis. On a grey Friday in October 1939 “I was thrown out of their digs, and told to go to Mrs. Gallop”

The schoolteachers: Miss Draper – infants; Miss Pilchard [later Mrs. Blake] – juniors and Miss Scott – standards 3 & 4.
School lesson were taken in split shifts, from 8.45 to 12 noon for the Wootton pupils and from 12 to 4.15 p.m. for the evacuees. All but one teacher returned to the Portsmouth School the following Easter though the children remained and took part in the normal timetable. Eventually many of them drifted back home again till only a handful of evacuees were left.

Sadly on 28 December 1941, Brenda May Osborn died at St. Mary’s County Hospital Ryde of what was then called blood poisoning but actually was toxaemia in modern times. Mr. W. H. Please made all the arrangements.
Mr. Please was the builder, painter and undertaker. One wall of his workshop in Red Road was boundary of the garden.

The village school was known as “Isle of Wight County Education Committee Wootton Council Mixed School” In November 1944 a new Headmaster – A. J. Blundell. In a letter sent to parents, among the things listed was SCHOOL BADGE – From suggestions of the children the following design has been evolved: - A steel (white) anchor with an interwoven blue rope on a field of green. This badge to be worked into the blazer pocket by the parents.

This page was last edited on: 26th January, 2022 17:50:40

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