History of the School
The History of Heswall Primary School
On the 8th October 1909, Professor Gonner opened the Heswall Council Mixed School in Dale Avenue facing the Puddydale. The only other non-private school in Heswall at the time was Heswall Church of England school, which was then in School Hill.
On Monday 11th October 1909 the school in Dale Avenue opened its doors to pupils. 123 pupils were registered that morning and 7 more had arrived by the afternoon. Mr James Munro was headmaster and there were three female teachers. The two-storey building by the gates to Dale Avenue was built in 1911 and provided a handicraft, cookery and housewifery centre for older pupils of the area. The pupils attended this school for all their educational life.
In 1915 the school was used as a billeting station for soldiers and also housed the Heswall Library collection for several years.
School attendance fluctuated due to farmers needing the older boys to help with jobs like potato picking and harvesting. Another reason for low attendance occurred in the winter when parents could not afford new boots for their children .
In the 1920s, electric lighting was installed enabling the school to be used for evening entertainment. The bell on the roof was rung after lunch each day to summon the children back to school. This bell is now in the school hall in Whitfield Lane.
The Second World War saw many changes to the school. Air raid shelters were put on the Puddydale and in June 1941, when several incendiaries dropped on Heswall, the school lost many panes of glass. Five people lost their lives in Heswall that night. 1945 saw the installation of a telephone and it was in that year that the first 11+ exam was taken in the school.
The 1950s saw overcrowding in the school and theTemperance Hall in Poll Hill Road was used as a classroom. Extra classrooms were also built in the school grounds when the school leaving age was raised. In 1953 the two Secondary schools in Irby Road were opened and the older children and some of the staff went there.
In 1967 it was first acknowledged that the school premises were inadequate for the number of pupils. Various options were considered and two more mobile classrooms were erected in the ever-diminishing playgrounds. Various sites were being considered for a new school.
Heswall Primary school, as it was then named, although everyone referred to it as the Puddydale, had by then a thriving Parents Association and the annual fete and sports day held on the Puddydale was a very popular local event. Links with the Children's Hospital across the road were strong and some patients would come to the school for the day despite the hospital having a school. It was thought to be beneficial for them to have a change of scenery.
In 1974 the school, which had previously been under the Education Authority of Cheshire, came under the auspices of Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council and the new local authority agreed to make changes to the building. In 1975, the Assistant Director of Education visited the school to discuss the new school that was to be built on land in Whitfield Lane, which had previously been the Beehive Dairy. It was later decided that the 'Busy Bee' would become the school emblem. This was to be a Junior school called Whitfield Junior school as the Infant department was to remain on the site in Dale avenue and that school was to be called Heswall Infants school.
In September 1976, the Junior department moved into their new open plan premises in Whitfield Lane. A uniform of red and grey was adopted at both schools as there had been no uniform previously.
As the school was in a hollow, there were many problems after heavy rain until the plants and trees matured. There were still many links between the schools and in the following year they both joined in the Heswall Pageant for the Queen's Silver Jubilee. Many changes and additions to the school occurred during the first few years.
In 1980, after extensive repairs to the original building, the staff were informed that there was to be an amalgamation of both schools on the Whitfield Lane site. The following year was a sad time for all those involved with the school. The parents association worked long and hard to save the building.
On May 19th 1981, closure notices were put on the school gates bringing to an end education at the school on the Puddydale. It closed on 23rd July 1982 and was later demolished. Red Dale apartments are now built on the site. The combined school was known as Whitfield Primary School until 1992 when it was decided to revert to the name of Heswall Primary School.
Since that time many more changes have taken place both to the building and the curriculum. The school celebrated its centenary in 2009. There are now 205 pupils and many more than three teachers but the school has served Heswall well throughout all that time.
Jenny McRonald (Teacher 1969-2006)