About Longlands Primary School
Click any thumbnail marked with a magnifying glass to view an enlargement!Longlands School is situated in Woodside Road — by the side of a wood, with the school taking its name from a house which probably took its name from an area cut out of Priestlands Wood.
The school was built on a site known as “Stebbings Field”, which was named after its owner Mr Stebbings, who was a local builder. The site had previously been used as a cricket ground and later as a football field. It has also been suggested that it was at one time used a a practice ground for the Fire Brigade.
A brief history
Foots Cray Council School was opened on 23rd October 1905, with 77 children on roll and a staff of two. This is when the registers of Longlands School were marked for the first time and is now celebrated as the school’s birthday. In October 2005 we celebrated the school’s centenary.
The original building on the site was officially called a “Temporary Iron School”, but quickly became known locally as “The Tin School”, the roof being made of galvanised iron. It has been said that during bad weather, the noise of rainfall on the metal roof was so great that the children could not hear each other, or their teacher speak!
The first two or three years of the school’s life appear to have been temporary in many ways. The building certainly was temporary and, according to the Log Book of the time, so were the staff. There was no permanent Head Teacher and it certainly seemed to be a time of disappearing Head Mistresses!
In 1906 a report on the school recorded that the attendance exceeded the accommodation of the temporary building and that the staffing was inadequate. The heating arrangements were not satisfactory and the two powerful stoves in the corners of the room were so close to the match-boarded walls that the walls had become too hot to touch!
In 1907 one of His Majesties Inspectors complained about the lack of accommodation, saying that the ventilation was poor and that it must be improved either by the removing of a pane of glass or by making the sliding partition work! Although in 1906 the remark “until the new school is ready” was made, it was not until 8th July 1907 that the foundations of the permanent building were laid.
On 13th March 1908, Mr HG Morgan, the newly appointed Head Master of the school, called to see it and eventually on 11th May 1908 he records in the Log Book that he took possession of the new buildings with 346 children on roll. Mr Morgan remained at the school until his retirement in 1926.
He was succeeded by Mr HA Hill who stayed at Longlands until his transfer to the new Blackfen Central School. In 1945 Mr Hill was awarded the MBE for his services to education.
Mr Hill was succeeded by Mr W Billing who stayed for two years before going to Burnt Oak Lane School.
Mr ST Hayes was the Head Teacher from 1936 to 1959, when he retired. His time at the school coincided with an unsettling period in the history of our country. Through the war years children missed a great deal of their education, often spending hours on end in the shelters, either at home or school, waiting for the “all clear”. It was also at this time that Miss Watson, a very popular teacher at the school, was killed by enemy action.
In January 1960, Miss Doris Poulton succeeded Mr Hayes and stayed at the school until her own retirement in 1977. Former pupils have mixed memories of their time during Miss Poulton’s years. Varying descriptions of her refer to her formidability, and her fairness, her strict routines and her sense of humour. Miss Poulton was responsible for introducing a number of new ideas into the life of the school — many of which continue to work very successfully at Longlands today.
Mr Lawrence was The Deputy Head at the school when he was appointed Head Teacher in 1977. He continued in this role until his retirement in the year 2000, when our previous Head Teacher, Mrs Dear, was appointed. Mrs Dear retired in December 2013 and has been superceded by Miss J Owen.
Until 1935 the school provided an education for local children up to the age of 14. In 1935 the school was reorganised into a Junior Mixed and Infant school catering for children aged 4–11.
In 1970, Dulverton County Primary School was opened to ease the pressure of overcrowding at Longlands and two clearly defined catchment areas were created.
Many children have received their education at Longlands over the years. It is, in every sense of the word, a forward–looking community school with traditional values and discipline.
Over the last one hundred years, Longlands has undergone a great deal of change. However, some things remain the same. In their recent reports, Ofsted Inspectors have referred to our lack of accommodation, just as their predecessors had done in 1906. Hopefully, this is going to be rectified in the very near future!
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