Key Stage One Pupils at St Peter’s CE Primary School, Cowfold, were delighted to welcome back ex-pupils and their grandparents at an event to celebrate 200 years since a school was founded in the village.
The children, aged from four to seven, did themselves proud by presenting a clear synopsis of the school’s history to a packed school hall.
Assisted by the Cowfold History Society, the children researched into how the school was first founded at a meeting in the village pub in 1813. The community decided that the first headteacher should be a man who could read and write and the following year pupils started to attend school in Cowfold.
The children learnt about this from an original record of the Parish Council notes from the meeting which was found in West Sussex Council’s records in Chichester by Sue Crofts from the History Society.
Ex-pupils, some of whom attended the school 70 to 80 years ago, had a guided tour of the school after a celebration with cakes and biscuits that the children had made. During the celebration the guests shared their memories of the school with the children. Memories, such as the children evacuating to an air raid shelter during WW2, were brought back. 88 year old, Mr Bob Farren, was a mine of information and told the children that only what is now the school hall existed when he attended.
One of the stories that was related was how the Cowfold Memorial Swimming Pool was opened in 1970 after three young men drowned in the sea at West Wittering trying to save a girl. The heated, outdoor pool is still running today and Mr John Blyth, from the Cowfold Village Fete Committee, took the opportunity to present the current Headteacher, Mr Giles Kolter with a cheque for £2000 towards a new liner for the pool. Mr Kolter was delighted and said: “This will help secure the future of the pool for years to come!”
(The general public can swim during the school summer holidays for £2:50 per person between 2pm and 4pm – anyone is welcome).
Overall, this was a wonderful community event which left pupils and parents, past and present, feeling proud of their village school.
Contributed by St Peter’s School, Cowfold