Cheadle's 'Model School' (written in 2003)
Being both a former pupil and teacher at Cheadle Primary School on Ashfield Road – and also having a great interest in, and well-researched knowledge of local history, I give some insight into the early days at the school which will celebrate it's centenary in six years time.
The building of the new Council School began in March 1908, the architect being Mr Earnshaw of Cheadle. The estimated cost of the building was £9,000 and the school was to accommodate 500 children –340 in the mixed department and 160 in the infants. Building progressed and in March 1909 a poster was put up in Cheadle to announce the opening.
The First Day
On the 1st April 1909 the school opened at 9.00 am with 178 scholars in the mixed department and 76 in the infants.
Mr George Bates, who was formerly headmaster of the Wesleyan School in Eden Place was appointed the first headmaster of the mixed school. Miss Muriel Dawes was the first headmistress of the infants department. She came from an old established Cheadle family and had taught at Cheadle National School on Wilmslow Road.
As time progressed, more and more children applied for transfers from the National School to the new Council School which was known as Cheadle's 'Model School'. The mixed department was graded into seven standards and catered for children between the ages of 7 and 14 years, whilst the infants' department had three classes according to age.
An early entry in the school log book states that the "mixed school timetable now includes brush drawing and clay modelling", also French to standards VII and VIII.
The school holidays in the early years added up to eight weeks – one week each at Easter, Whitsuntide and Cheadle Wakes – two weeks at Christmas, and three weeks at midsummer. Cheadle Wakes was the last week in September and was observed by the school until 1918.
Also in the log book it states that on the 15th July 1910 four children were presented for the Whitworth scholarship at Stockport Technical School and Tom Brooks of standard VII was successful – the very first pupil from this school to win a scholarship.
World War (1914-18)
On the 13th November 1914 several Belgian refugees were admitted to the school. The local newspaper of 25th June 1915 recorded that "the children attending Cheadle Council Infants School have been doing their little bit for the soldiers at the front. A large parcel containing 47 packets of notepaper, envelopes and postcards, 32 packets of cigarettes, 8 pairs of socks, bootlaces, boracic powder, Vaseline, soap and handkerchiefs were despatched on the 22nd May 1915. It was addressed to the Cheadle Territorials serving with the 1st/5th Cheshire Regiment via the Lancashire and Cheshire Comforts fund. That they were greatly appreciated by the soldiers is shown in the letters received by several of the little scholars.
The End of the First Era
In 1923 the first headmaster, Mr George Bates retired and on 13th April all the pupils and teachers of both departments assembled in the school hall for his presentation ceremony.
Nearly 4000 children and 3 generations of many families had received their education under his guidance. This was unique in the history of our village – and at the time was without parallel in the country.