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History of Pennington Junior school written by Mr R Cruse, teacher at Pennington from 1946 - 1988

The first school in Pennington opened in September 1852. The Lady of the Manor Mrs E Pulteney, had given the site and contributed most of the cost of the building, about £1600 pounds. It was a Church of England School, and its architecture echoed the Victorian Gothic style of the neighbouring parish church of St Marks.

The master lived in a three bedroom house on the premises and, with monitors, controlled about 175 children aged form 5 to 13 years,

As numbers rose a new school was needed for the infants. Again this was provided by the Pulteney Family, and opened in April 1887.

The two original buildings still stand, but are now used for other purposes. The village clock on the earlier school commemorates the coronation of King George V in 1911.

The 1944 Education Act raised the school leaving age to 15, ended elimentary schools and introduced universal secondary education throughout the country. A secondary morden school for the lymington area was established in the original Grammar School building in Brockenhurst (now the education development centre), but before its opening in 1949 overcrowding and lack of facilities in the old Pennington school caused the transfer of our over-elevens to Ashley secondary.

Meanwhile Hampshire County Council bought the Priestalands estate for Eductional use. The big House was first let to a small private school next it should have been converted for juniors, but as the managers considered it to be unsuitable it became Pennington Infant school in 1952. Then Hampshire needed teacher's residential courses so a new infant school was built on the estate and the old house became the Gurney-Dixon Centre. The estate was also the site for Priestlands school, which opened in 1956. The northwest corner was reserved for a new junior school; but nothing was done about that for some time.

The 1877 building in South Street housed one or two junior classes for eighteen years, as pupil numbers continued to increase.

At last the county decided to start work on a new two form entry junior school to a 1950's design. The first two classrooms were built under the minor works programme (for projects costing upto £20 000) and opened in March 1960. No permanent additions were made for another 10 years, although three temporary wooden classrooms were built to hold increased numbers. Eventually the authority completed our present building in 1970.

During the 1960s the school raised over £2000 for a swimming pool, and this was constructed by the school builders in the summer of 1970.

By Christmas 1970 the Victorian buliding ceased to be used as a school; the temporay classrooms were removed in 1980. The only significant addition to the buildings in the 1980's was the block of dual purpose changing room completed in 1981 and again paid for by the school.

Currently the school is part of an on going Landscape Project. Over £20 000 was raised for phase 1 which involved landscaping the grounds to provide an adventure playground and a social area, both of which are enjoyed by the children. Phases 2 is now under way with the filling in of the swimming pool to eventually make way for an ampitheatre. Plans have already been drawn up to make the changing rooms into a drama and music classroom.


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