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Our History

September 2014
Our school moved from Front Street to a brand new building on a large campus site on Goathland Avenue, next door to St. Stephen's RC Primary School.

Our new shared building

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Time-lapse construction of our new school building

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January 2013
Mr. Richard Restall was appointed as Headteacher and refreshed the school's vision statement and curriculum.  Our website was updated and the school began using social media.
Headteachers (1911-2012)
From 1911, Mr. Robert Nichol ran the school well and efficiently until the outbreak of war in 1914 when he joined the army. He resumed his duties in 1919 and proved to be a sound headmaster, gaining both the interest and co­operation of parents to whom he sent termly reports on the progress of their children.

Mr. Nichol died in 1925 and was succeeded by Mr. William Wade in the following year.

Mr. Wade retired in 1952 and was succeeded by Mr. James Atkinson who continued the excellent standard of work set by his predecessor. Willing to introduce new educational ideas, he was continuously hindered by the perennial problems of lack of space and inadequate facilities.

Mr. Atkinson retired in 1968 and was succeeded by Mr. J. Thompson, who was to lead the school through comprehensive education

David Scott was Headteacher from 1978 to December 1981 when he took up the Headship of Battle Hill First School in Wallsend.
In January 1982 Andrew Littleton was appointed Headteacher until his retirement in April 2004. Mr Littleton oversaw the implementation from three tier to two tier and the extension to the school to accommodate the increased numbers of pupils. In 1988, the National Curriculum was implemented with a series of initiatives to follow, including the Literacy and Numeracy Strategies as successive governments strove to address the national decline standards.
In April 2004 Gillian Surtees was appointed Headteacher until her retirement in December 2012. Mrs Surtees introduced the International Primary Curriculum.
The 20th Century - Local Authority Education
It was soon after Mr. Walker’s arrival in 1898 that the Education Act of 1902 was implemented. This Act established a single administrative structure for education based on the existing County and County Borough Councils, which became the local education authorities. These replaced the old school boards. Long Benton National School came under the County Council of Northumberland. The L.E.A’s also had the powers to supply education other than elementary, and this led to the extension of secondary education. Voluntary schools like the Church School were now known as ‘non-provided’ schools and they became eligible for rate aid, thereby gaining a healthy infusion of money which has helped to carry them into the second half of the twentieth century.

Overcrowding was the main problem that Mr. Walker faced, and following a rural fete to raise funds, an extension to the school was added in 1899. Built on the east end of the school, this extension consisted of one large and one small room and a cloakroom area. Dissatisfaction still prevailed however with the conditions in the main building. There was still no central heating and classrooms were either heated with a coke stove or open fire. On wintry days, it was sometimes necessary for the pupils to change places every ten minutes, to allow others to get near to the fire. There was no running hot water and the toilets (known as either ‘netties’ or ‘closets’ were at the other side of the playground, which meant getting wet on rainy or wintry days.It was the year of the Hadow Report of 1926 when the ‘Education of the Adolescent’ had just recommended that primary education should end at eleven years and that all children should then proceed to some form of secondary education either at a grammar or a modem school, depending on their ability as assessed at an ‘eleven plus’ selective education. This aim was not realised until the Education Act of 1944 which introduced universal,compulsory and free secondary education for all, along the lines suggested by Hadow. L.E.A’s now had a duty to secure adequate provision of primary and secondary schools. This Act retained the existing dual system which had existed since 1870, but the council schools were renamed ‘County’ schools and the voluntary (Church) schools were divided into “Aided” and “Controlled” schools depending on the amount of authority and financial obligation left to the voluntary body. Some voluntary schools passed under the control of the L.E.A. and became county schools.

It was under Mr. Wade’s headship that the important decision precipitated by the 1944 Act was taken. Following lengthy discussions, it was decided to continue the tradition of Church education at Long Benton. Finance was raised to pay the Diocesan Board to ensure the continuation of a Church school, which was to be called ‘Longbenton Church of England Aided Primary School’ for pupils aged five to eleven years.In the 1950's there was still no hot water available in the school and with high small windows, artificial lighting was very poor. Attendance figures reached 219 in the six classes and the school was in the enviable position of having more children wishing to attend than could be accepted. The attendance of parents to church played an important factor in selection..

Following a General Inspection in 1960, the inspectors were full of praise but warned that new premises were essential if the school’s high standards were to be maintained. Work on the new school commenced in 1964 and when it was finished, four classes were able to move into the new building, which included a staff room, secretary’s room, headmaster’s room and toilets. playing field was levelled behind the old school. Two infant classes remained in the old building.In 1970, the Church School became a first tier school in a three-tier system of education and was re-named Longbenton Church of England Aided First School. The age range of pupils was now five to nine years, organised into five classes. By 1973, Phase Two of the new school building was completed with the addition of a reception classroom, a hall/dining room and a kitchen. The old building was therefore rendered surplus to requirements and demolished. On 1st April 1974, the school came under the administration of the Metropolitan Borough of North Tyneside.

In 1980 the school suffered damage through fire. In January 1982 Andrew Littleton was appointed Headteacher. The children had been back in the newly restored building for 3 months. There were challenging times ahead. The school was quite small with 108 children in 5 classes. North Tyneside implemented a change from three tier to two tier in the Longbenton pyramid of schools in 1985. Extra classrooms were needed to accommodate the two older classes as children now stayed on at the school until they were 11, then transferring to High School. The Middle Schools closed. At the same time the LEA and the Diocesan Education Board agreed to the addition of a Nursery class. The building work provided new Nursery and Reception classes and a school office at the North West corner. The main school hall was extended to enable whole school assemblies, PE and school lunches to be accommodated. Two classrooms for the older children were built on the South East corner.

During this transition the Headteacher and the Governors applied to change the name of the school to ‘St. Bartholomew’s Church of England (Aided) Primary School’.

In 1990 schools became responsible for their own budgets. Allocation of funds was based on the LEA's formula. St. Bartholomew’s School has never been adequately funded under this system and relies heavily on the hard-work and good will of parents and friends to raise funds through a full programme of social events.
Headmasters (1873 - 1911)
William Banks became the next headmaster, following the sudden departure of Mr. Hargreaves. His wife joined him and acted as the sewing mistress at the school. Mr. Banks inherited a school with low standards and poor behaviour; so much time was spent in attempting to raise standards. Unfortunately, Mr. Bank’s health deteriorated, and following an adverse report on the school as being inefficient in 1895, he resigned after 22 years service.

Mr. C. Wilde followed as headmaster in the same year. At the same time, the building was becoming very overcrowded as the number of pupils reached an all-time record of 225. Discipline was also much better and the authorities were impressed. However, Mr. Wilde left suddenly and without waming and was succeeded by Mr. Arthur Lund Walker in 1898. In 1911, Mr. Walker left to open the more modem Forest Hall Council School.
Victorian Period (1837- 1901)
The 1830’s saw many statutory measures covering municipal matters and there were several Health Acts: following the cholera outbreaks, although it was many years before effective action was taken. Education came under scrutiny in due course, and in 1870 an Act was passed allowing for the establishment of school boards in districts where there was inadequate school provision.

At the commencement of the 19th century the state had no say in, and gave no help to schools. The church had provided some tuition and later, the voluntary societies added further facilities. But the 1870 Act, while giving power to school boards to build schools, also provided for grants to be given to voluntary agencies. This marked the beginning of the dual system, which still exists to this day.

The grant by itself would have proved insufficient, so the new vicar, the Revd. J.W. Tait called a meeting of parishioners to appeal for funds and these were duly raised.The piece of land, on which it was planned to build the new school, lay adjacent to the present building and belonged to two Northumbrian gentlemen. The terms on which the land was transferred and the purpose to which the building was to be put are best quoted from the deeds.

‘We, John Craster of Craster Tower in the County of Northumberland, Esq., and Watson Askew of Killinbum in the same county, Esq., under the authority of the Acts of the fifth and eighth year of the reign of Her Majesty for affording facilities for the conveyance and endowment of sites for schools do hereby freely and voluntarily and without valuable consideration grant and convey unto the Minister and churchwardens of the Parish of Long Benton and their permit the said premises and all buildings thereon erected or to be erected, to be forever hereafter appropriated and used for a school in the education of children and adults, or children only of the labouring, manufacturing and other poor classes in the said Parish of Long Benton and for no other purpose’

The post for headmaster was advertised and a Mr. W. Hargreaves from Bumley was appointed, with his wife to teach the infants. The official opening of the school took place on 28th April, 1871. 
Post-Restoration School (1714-1820)
In 1769, the Rev'd. George Stephenson appointed Robert Riddle as school teacher. At this stage, school fees were charged at the rate of 1p. per week. 

In 1791, Mr Thomas Rutter who lived in the Clerk's House, ten years previously was made the schoolmaster. The Clerk's House became the School House (this was also known as Rutter's School. This stone cottage stood on the site now occupied by the car showroom adjacent existing St.Bartholomew's School. At about the time, two boys were about to enter the school, who were later to gain international recognition. They were Robert Stephenson MP, DCL, M.I.C.E. (1781-1859) and Thomas Addison M.D. F.R.C.P. (1794-1860)
On the death of Thomas Rutter in 1812, his son James succeeded him at the age of 24. A James Stewart was engaged as assistant to James Rutter in 1820, but on Rutter's death in 1831, his assistant was unwilling to continue his appointment, so the post was advertised in both the Courant and Newcastle Chronicle. The response was unsatisfactory, and no teacher was available, the post was accepted temporarily by the new clerk, Thomas Shaw, and his wife Mary.
Restoration Church (1660-1685)
Teaching continued in the church- rebuilt in 1666, due to ruinous state. At the time, the Rev'd Richard Rogerson (1667-1675) was curate, priest's clerk and school teacher in the church.

A Church House had been built on glebe land in 1669, opposite the church, on land later occupied b the 'old' parish hall.

Commonwealth School (1649-1660)
During this period, times were too disturbed to allow organised church teaching.

Reformation School (1509-1603)
During this period:
1. the clergy were made legally responsible for educatiing parishioners to at least be able to read the English Bible in the Church.
2. The English Bible had to be left open in every church.
3. Churches had to be left open until sundown.
4. A 'Vicar's License' was required by all teachers - in writing.

The Mediaeval School
Following the building of the first church, the schoolroom was within the church, possibly above the porch as at Warkworth.