Primary Schools in Ivybridge

During the 18th century, Sunday schools held at church or chapel provided children from poor families with the opportunity to receive some basic learning such as reading. Many received charitable backing from the middle classes. The promoters of these Sunday schools also became involved in the provision of regular day schools.

 

In 1811, the National Society was formed and founded National Schools, providing elementary education in accordance with the teaching of the Church of England, to the children of the poor.

Until 1856, when the National School was established, education in Ivybridge was provided by a number of private schools. Judging by the advertisements in the newspapers, these schools continued to operate for a number of decades afterwards. Green House Ladies Boarding and Day School providing ‘a thorough education and every home comfort’ and Park House Boys’ School and separate Girls School were advertising during the 1860s and 1880s respectively.

Primary Schools in Ivybridge

The opening ceremony for the National School was attended by a very large gathering of local people as described by the newspaper article at the time:

On Tuesday last, the 30th December, a most interesting festive gathering came off at picturesque and pleasant Ivybridge. This was ‘apropos’ to the opening and inauguration of the village school, a building just erected, at no small expense – thanks to the liberality of the incumbent, the Rev. R.P. Cornish. Children, villagers, gentry, and clergy all seemed to bear an equal share in the rejoicings…

 

There was a large gathering of visitors, and blooming ladies, courteous gentlemen, and happy villagers, yet room was made for games of an exciting description. Carols were sung with great good taste; prizes were given to the best boys and girls; and a very encouraging report was read, from which it appears that the schools are in a flourishing condition. High encomiums were bestowed on Mr. and Mrs. Mee, the latter of whom had made her own hands 2,000 artificial flowers for the occasion, as also on the various ladies who give their services in the Sunday school. We should not omit to state that the incumbent had made good a deficiency of no less than £32 on the year’s expenses, the school being conducted on a very efficient scale, and the schoolmaster and mistress receiving a salary of £100 per annum…

 

Everybody seemed very happy, and we never heard more hearty cheering than was ultimately given to the deservedly-beloved incumbent, as also to the patron, Lady Rogers, on whose ground given for that purpose, the school is built; the ‘squire of the district, Mr Cotton, and his ‘Lady’, and other helpers and assisters. That ‘Lack of pence which vexes public men’, according to the Laureate, did not show itself upon this occasion; pastor and parishioner vying in liberality, and indeed a munificent spirit in the principal generally calls forth corresponding efforts…

 

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 03 January 1857

During the 18th century, Sunday schools held at church or chapel provided children from poor families with the opportunity to receive some basic learning such as reading. Many received charitable backing from the middle classes. The promoters of these Sunday schools also became involved in the provision of regular day schools. In 1811, the National Society was formed and founded National Schools, providing elementary education in accordance with the teaching of the Church of England, to the children of the poor.

 

Education in Ivybridge until 1856, when the National School was established, was provided by a number of private schools. Judging by the advertisements in the newspapers, these schools continued to operate for a number of decades afterwards. Green House Ladies Boarding and Day School providing ‘ a thorough education and every home comfort’ and Park House Boys’ School and separate Girls School were advertising during the 1860s and 1880s respectively.

 

The opening ceremony for the National School was attended by a very large gathering of local people as described by the newspaper article at the time:

On Tuesday last, the 30th December, a most interesting festive gathering came off at picturesque and pleasant Ivybridge. This was ‘apropos’ to the opening and inauguration of the village school, a building just erected, at no small expense – thanks to the liberality of the incumbent, the Rev. R.P. Cornish. Children, villagers, gentry, and clergy all seemed to bear an equal share in the rejoicings…

 

There was a large gathering of visitors, and blooming ladies, courteous gentlemen, and happy villagers, yet room was made for games of an exciting description. Carols were sung with great good taste; prizes were given to the best boys and girls; and a very encouraging report was read, from which it appears that the schools are in a flourishing condition. High encomiums were bestowed on Mr. and Mrs. Mee, the latter of whom had made with her own hands 2,000 artificial flowers for the occasion, as also on the various ladies who give their services in the Sunday school. We should not omit to state that the incumbent had made good a deficiency of no less than £32 on the year’s expenses, the school being conducted on a very efficient scale, and the schoolmaster and mistress receiving a salary of £100 per annum…

 

Everybody seemed very happy, and we never heard more hearty cheering than was ultimately given to the deservedly-beloved incumbent, as also to the patron, Lady Rogers, on whose ground given for that purpose, the school is built; the ‘squire of the district, Mr Cotton, and his ‘Lady’, and other helpers and assisters. That ‘Lack of pence which vexes public men’, according to the Laureate, did not show itself upon this occasion; pastor and parishioner vying in liberality…

 

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 03 January 1857

The National School in Ivybridge was linked to St John’s Church under the trusteeship of the minister and wardens of the church.

 

The land on which the school was built was part of the extensive estate of the Rogers family of Blachford, Cornwood, and was donated by Lady Georgina Rogers, wife of the eight baronet, Sir Frederic Rogers. The school was granted a 999 year lease and the annual rent in 1876 was 5/-.

 

Rev. Richard Pering Cornish was curate in Ivybridge from 1855. He made a lasting impression on Ivybridge and was described as ‘one of the most popular clergyman of the diocese, his liberality unbounded’. He was a man of considerable wealth and apart from contributing greatly to the construction of the school he went on to build a large parsonage for himself. William Cotton, the other financial donor lived at Highland House with his wife Mary. They were staunch supporters of the church and empathetic towards the impoverished.

The Elementary Act 1870

 

This was the very first piece of legislation to deal specifically with the provision of education in Britain, establishing a system of ‘school boards’ to build and manage schools in areas where they were needed. Board members were elected by the ratepayers and were permitted to draw their funding from the local rates. They were also eligible to apply for capital funding in the form of a government loan. Unlike the voluntary schools, religious teaching in the board schools was to be ‘non-denominational’. Parents were permitted to withdraw their children from religious education. These Boards were to provide elementary education for children aged between 5 and 13.

Between 1876 and 1895, the school came under the Ermington School Board.  A £600 loan was granted for alterations and improvements.

 

Ivybridge School Board was formed in 1895 and in September of that year the school was transferred on condition that the new board accepted to take on the remaining part of the loan which amounted to £380. The School Management Committee included representatives from the village churches as well as prominent member of the community including the Postmaster, William Mackay and James Chamberlain who served as Chairman on the Urban District Council for a period of 3 years.

 

Alterations to the school occurred in 1898, a date recorded within the plaque on the front of the building. It is assumed the building work was conducted by local contractors Gilbert Sincock & Henry Blight. Two years later they were awarded the contract to build the boundary wall ‘topped with forest coping, set in cement of stones alternately 18 inches and 9 inches’ and erect two iron wicket gates. It has been documented that the average attendance at that time was 172 boys and girls and 120 infants. In 1907 the school was enlarged further to accommodate up to 370 children and 176 infants.

 

The school was split into the Infants, with a School Mistress in charge and other female, mostly uncertified staff, and the Mixed School, for children aged 7 to 14, with a School Master in charge, assisted mostly by men, who were certified teachers. James England Lake was schoolmaster from 1873 until 1904, a total of 31 years.

 

By 1914, the attendance at the school averaged 224 children and 95 infants. Mr Fred Luxton was headmaster of the school from 1923 a position he held up to his untimely time death in 1935 following an operation in hospital. He was a valued member of the community of Ivybridge, serving as secretary of Ivybridge Bowling Club and a member of Erme Lodge of Freemasons. He had also been elected on the Ivybridge Parish Council which had superseded the Urban Council.

 

By the 1940s, the school was known as the Ivybridge Council School. It played host to a number of evacuees from Acton, London. The White House (in Erme Road) also acted as a school room for some of the evacuees. During the 1960s the Headmaster was Mr Christie who remained there until his retirement in March 1972.

 

With the population of Ivybridge growing, the village school became increasingly overcrowded and new mobile classrooms were introduced on the playground. In the education finance plan for 1971/2, funds were made available for a new school to be built at the western end of Ivybridge where new houses had been built after the war.

 

The Council School then became Station Road Infants School, with the Juniors accommodated at the newly built Manor Junior School.

 

In 1991, with primary school reorganisation, it became Erme Primary School.

Following several years of overcrowding in the village school (numbers reached 357 in June 1971), where temporary classrooms had been erected on the school playground and the school hall was used as a classroom, the building of a new school became a priority.

 

Built in 1972, the new school, Manor County Junior School, Ivybridge opened in Spring 1973, under headmaster Mr. Arthur Lynch who oversaw both schools, the old Ivybridge School now being known as Station Road Infants School.

When the school opened in March 1973, there were 179 pupils at Manor Junior School in five classes and 259 at Station Road Infants School in eight classes.

 

The school was officially opened on 28th June 1973. Its first Sports Day was held at Wiggins Teape Sports Ground. Phase 2 of the new school was completed by 1975.

 

In 1991, with re-organisation, the school became Manor Primary School, with both Infants and Juniors in the same school. Station Road Infants School became Erme Primary School.

 

There are now 220 pupils taught in ten classes. The school is the only primary school in Ivybridge with its own heated swimming pool.

Stowford County Primary School was built in 1978 in the east of Ivybridge to accommodate the new housing estates being built there.

 

The school opened in Oct/Nov 1978 with headmaster David Taylor.

 

Pupils had to be accommodated at Manor Junior and Station Road Infants Schools because the school was not completed in time for the start of term in September.

 

The original school consisted of the northern teaching block (now the Key Stage 1 block), the hall and the library and administrative corridor. The southern block (Juniors) was built in 1981.

 

By 1988, a double hut had been added to the west of the main building and in the early 1990s, a second double hut was erected by the northern boundary wall. A single hut was erected between the original double hut and the main building.

In 1991, a fire destroyed the single hut and caused damage to the adjacent double, so all three were demolished. The insurance money paid for a new four-classroom wing to be built, joined onto the west side of the Infant block. It also provided storage areas, cloakrooms and toilets and a wide corridor for computers and group work. It was officially opened in 1993.

 

Two further ‘stand alone’ buildings  – the Qube and The Nest – were added in the 2000s to provide accommodation for the ‘Before/After School Club’ and extra space for musical and drama activities.

 

With local primary re-organisation 1991, it became Stowford Primary School.

Woodlands Park Primary School was built in 1991 to serve the new estate of houses built at Stibb Farm, to the west of the town centre.

 

In 1988, news reports showed the need for a new primary school in Ivybridge as it was ‘the fastest growing town in the EEC’. Work on the new school was due to start in Autumn 1989, ready for the school to open two years later. In January 1989, confirmation was received that work would start but by February, a shortfall in the County budget made a delay in building work almost certain. This led to protests by parents who lobbied County Hall for the money to be found as a matter of urgency.

 

Despite initial fears, Woodlands Park Primary School opened its doors to its first pupils on 6th September 1991. It was built to accommodate 300 pupils.

In February 1992, forty trees were planted around the school grounds to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s 40th anniversary of her accession to the throne.

 

The first school disco was held in April 1992 and in May 1992, the school achieved first place in a choral speaking competition.

 

In June of that year, pupils started a campaign to stop vandals defacing the neighbouring park. They compiled questionnaires and took videos and presented their case at a South Hams District Council meeting at Follaton House in July.

 

To celebrate its first birthday, an animal patchwork tapestry included patches designed by all 140 pupils.

 

The school celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2016, with 306 pupils on roll.

Sunnyside School was a private school, run by Mrs. Sophie Harris. It ran from the 1930s (a newspaper advert gives the date 1932) to 1954 and occupied the two front rooms of the house now known as ‘Berberis’ in Blachford Road next to the Constitutional Club.

 

Former pupils remember open fires in the grate and the garden at the side was used as a playground. Pupils wore a brown uniform, unlike the village school children who did not have a uniform. Children could take 11+ to go to Plympton or Totnes Grammar Schools. The intake was mixed, with only younger boys and girls up to school leaving age.

 

All the pupils were taught in two adjoining rooms to the left of the front door, with the Principal’s office being in the room to the right. Messy activities took place in the kitchen at the back of the building. Children sat at wooden desks with the older ones at the back.

 

All the children received milk daily, brought to the school by Mrs Harris’s husband who was a farmer.

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IVYBRIDGE PRIMARY SCHOOLS

During the 18th century, Sunday schools held at church or chapel provided children from poor families with the opportunity to receive some basic learning such as reading. Many received charitable backing from the middle classes. The promoters of these Sunday schools also became involved in the provision of regular day schools. In 1811, the National Society was formed and founded National Schools, providing elementary education in accordance with the teaching of the Church of England, to the children of the poor.
Education in Ivybridge until 1856, when the National School was established, was provided by a number of private schools. Judging by the advertisements in the newspapers, these schools continued to operate for a number of decades afterwards. Green House Ladies Boarding and Day School providing ‘a thorough education and every home comfort’ and Park House Boys’ School and separate Girls School were advertising during the 1860s and 1880s respectively.
The opening ceremony for the National School was attended by a very large gathering of local people as described by the newspaper article at the time:

 

On Tuesday last, the 30th December, a most interesting festive gathering came off at picturesque and pleasant Ivybridge. This was ‘apropos’ to the opening and inauguration of the village school, a building just erected, at no small expense – thanks to the liberality of the incumbent, the Rev. R.P. Cornish. Children, villagers, gentry, and clergy all seemed to bear an equal share in the rejoicings…
There was a large gathering of visitors, and blooming ladies, courteous gentlemen, and happy villagers, yet room was made for games of an exciting description. Carols were sung with great good taste; prizes were given to the best boys and girls; and a very encouraging report was read, from which it appears that the schools are in a flourishing condition. High encomiums were bestowed on Mr. and Mrs. Mee, the latter of whom had made with her own hands 2,000 artificial flowers for the occasion, as also on the various ladies who give their services in the Sunday school. We should not omit to state that the incumbent had made good a deficiency of no less than £32 on the year’s expenses, the school being conducted on a very efficient scale, and the schoolmaster and mistress receiving a salary of £100 per annum…
Everybody seemed very happy, and we never heard more hearty cheering than was ultimately given to the deservedly-beloved incumbent, as also to the patron, Lady Rogers, on whose ground given for that purpose, the school is built; the ‘squire of the district, Mr Cotton, and his ‘Lady’, and other helpers and assisters. That ‘Lack of pence which vexes public men’, according to the Laureate, did not show itself upon this occasion; pastor and parishioner vying in liberality…
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 03 January 1857

ERME PRIMARY SCHOOL

The National School in Ivybridge was linked to St John’s Church under the trusteeship of the minister and wardens of the church.
The land on which the school was built was part of the extensive estate of the Rogers family of Blachford, Cornwood and was donated by Lady Georgina Rogers, wife of the eight baronet, Sir Frederic Rogers. The school was granted a 999 year lease and the annual rent in 1876 was 5/-.
Rev. Richard Pering Cornish was curate in Ivybridge from 1855. He made a lasting impression on Ivybridge and was described as ‘one of the most popular clergyman of the diocese, his liberality unbounded’. He was a man of considerable wealth and apart from contributing greatly to the construction of the school he went on to build a large parsonage for himself. William Cotton, the other financial donor lived at Highland House with his wife Mary. They were staunch supporters of the church and empathetic towards the impoverished.
The Elementary Act 1870
This was the very first piece of legislation to deal specifically with the provision of education in Britain, establishing a system of ‘school boards’ to build and manage schools in areas where they were needed. Board members were elected by the ratepayers and were permitted to draw their funding from the local rates. They were also eligible to apply for capital funding in the form of a government loan. Unlike the voluntary schools, religious teaching in the board schools was to be ‘non-denominational’. Parents were permitted to withdraw their children from religious education. These Boards were to provide elementary education for children aged between 5 and 13.
Between 1876 and 1895, the school came under the Ermington School Board.  A £600 loan was granted for alterations and improvements.
Ivybridge School Board was formed in 1895 and in September of that year the school was transferred on condition that the new board accepted to take on the remaining part of the loan which amounted to £380. The School Management Committee included representatives from the village churches as well as prominent member of the community including the Postmaster, William Mackay and James Chamberlain who served as Chairman on the Urban District Council for a period of 3 years.
Alterations to the school occurred in 1898, a date recorded within the plaque on the front of the building. It is assumed the building work was conducted by local contractors Gilbert Sincock & Henry Blight. Two years later they were awarded the contract to build the boundary wall ‘topped with forest coping, set in cement of stones alternately 18 inches and 9 inches’ and erect two iron wicket gates. It has been documented that the average attendance at that time was 172 boys and girls and 120 infants. In 1907 the school was enlarged further to accommodate up to 370 children and 176 infants.
The school was split into the Infants, with a School Mistress in charge and other female, mostly uncertified staff, and the Mixed School, for children aged 7 to 14, with a School Master in charge, assisted mostly by men, who were certified teachers. James England Lake was schoolmaster from 1873 until 1904, a total of 31 years.
By 1914, the attendance at the school averaged 224 children and 95 infants. Mr Fred Luxton was headmaster of the school from 1923 a position he held up to his untimely time death in 1935 following an operation in hospital. He was a valued member of the community of Ivybridge, serving as secretary of Ivybridge Bowling Club and a member of Erme Lodge of Freemasons. He had also been elected on the Ivybridge Parish Council which had superseded the Urban Council.
By the 1940s, the school was known as the Ivybridge Council School. It played host to a number of evacuees from Acton, London. The White House (in Erme Road) also acted as a school room for some of the evacuees. During the 1960s the Headmaster was Mr Christie who remained there until his retirement in March 1972.
With the population of Ivybridge growing, the village school became increasingly overcrowded and new mobile classrooms were introduced on the playground. In the education finance plan for 1971/2, funds were made available for a new school to be built at the western end of Ivybridge where new houses had been built after the war.
The Council School then became Station Road Infants School, with the Juniors accommodated at the newly built Manor Junior School.
In 1991, with primary school reorganisation, it became Erme Primary School.
Manor Primary School Ivybridge

MANOR PRIMARY SCHOOL

Following several years of overcrowding in the village school (numbers reached 357 in June 1971), where temporary classrooms had been erected on the school playground and the school hall was used as a classroom, the building of a new school became a priority.
Built in 1972, the new school, Manor County Junior School, Ivybridge opened in Spring 1973, under headmaster Mr. Arthur Lynch who oversaw both schools, the old Ivybridge School now being known as Station Road Infants School.
When the school opened in March 1973, there were 179 pupils at Manor Junior School in five classes and 259 at Station Road Infants School in eight classes.
The school was officially opened on 28th June 1973. Its first Sports Day was held at Wiggins Teape Sports Ground. Phase 2 of the new school was completed by 1975.
In 1991, with re-organisation, the school became Manor Primary School, with both Infants and Juniors in the same school. Station Road Infants School became Erme Primary School.
There are now 220 pupils taught in ten classes. The school is the only primary school in Ivybridge with its own heated swimming pool.
Stowford Primary School Ivybridge

STOWFORD PRIMARY SCHOOL

Stowford County Primary School was built in 1978 in the east of Ivybridge to accommodate the new housing estates being built there.
The school opened in Oct/Nov 1978 with headmaster David Taylor.
Pupils had to be accommodated at Manor Junior and Station Road Infants Schools because the school was not completed in time for the start of term in September.
The original school consisted of the northern teaching block (now the Key Stage 1 block), the hall and the library and administrative corridor. The southern block (Juniors) was built in 1981.
By 1988, a double hut had been added to the west of the main building and in the early 1990s, a second double hut was erected by the northern boundary wall. A single hut was erected between the original double hut and the main building.
In 1991, a fire destroyed the single hut and caused damage to the adjacent double, so all three were demolished. The insurance money paid for a new four-classroom wing to be built, joined onto the west side of the Infant block. It also provided storage areas, cloakrooms and toilets and a wide corridor for computers and group work. It was officially opened in 1993.
Two further ‘stand alone’ buildings  – the Qube and The Nest – were added in the 2000s to provide accommodation for the ‘Before/After School Club’ and extra space for musical and drama activities.
With local primary re-organisation 1991, it became Stowford Primary School.
Woodlands Park Primary School Ivybridge

WOODLANDS PARK PRIMARY SCHOOL

Woodlands Park Primary School was built in 1991 to serve the new estate of houses built at Stibb Farm, to the west of the town centre.
In 1988, news reports showed the need for a new primary school in Ivybridge as it was ‘the fastest growing town in the EEC’. Work on the new school was due to start in Autumn 1989, ready for the school to open two years later. In January 1989, confirmation was received that work would start but by February, a shortfall in the County budget made a delay in building work almost certain. This led to protests by parents who lobbied County Hall for the money to be found as a matter of urgency.
Despite initial fears, Woodlands Park Primary School opened its doors to its first pupils on 6th September 1991. It was built to accommodate 300 pupils.
In February 1992, forty trees were planted around the school grounds to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s 40th anniversary of her accession to the throne.
The first school disco was held in April 1992 and in May 1992, the school achieved first place in a choral speaking competition.
In June of that year, pupils started a campaign to stop vandals defacing the neighbouring park. They compiled questionnaires and took videos and presented their case at a South Hams District Council meeting at Follaton House in July.
To celebrate its first birthday, an animal patchwork tapestry included patches designed by all 140 pupils.
The school celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2016, with 306 pupils on roll.

SUNNYSIDE SCHOOL

Sunnyside School was a private school, run by Mrs. Sophie Harris. It ran from the 1930s (a newspaper advert gives the date 1932) to 1954 and occupied the two front rooms of the house now known as ‘Berberis’ in Blachford Road next to the Constitutional Club.
Former pupils remember open fires in the grate and the garden at the side was used as a playground. Pupils wore a brown uniform, unlike the village school children who did not have a uniform. Children could take 11+ to go to Plympton or Totnes Grammar Schools. The intake was mixed, with only younger boys and girls up to school leaving age.
All the pupils were taught in two adjoining rooms to the left of the front door, with the Principal’s office being in the room to the right. Messy activities took place in the kitchen at the back of the building. Children sat at wooden desks with the older ones at the back.
All the children received milk daily, brought to the school by Mrs Harris’s husband who was a farmer.