History of Wraxall School

The first school in Wraxall was started by Betty Bowley in 1801 in a small cottage below The Rectory which has now been demolished. This was a small dame school where the children were taught “Criss-Cross” or “Christ-Cross” which was the alphabet in the form of a cross.

In 1809 Richard Vaughan Esquire of Wraxall Lodge (now Wraxall Court) built a school in the churchyard. Mr John Weekes was the builder and much of the timber used came from Man-o-War ships broken down in Bristol shipyards. The school was given in trust to The Rector ‘for the education of the children of the Parish forever.’ A few years later, Mr Richard Vaughan gave the Rector more money to be invested for the upkeep of the school. Some of this was used to build ‘The School Cottage’ (now Church Lodge, near the Churchyard gate). Until 1960 the house was generally used by the Head Teacher of the school. Thereafter, the property was sold under the 1944 Education Act to Wraxall Parochial Church Council. The Trustees of the school invested the money, and the interest on the capital is used for the maintenance of the fabric of the school.

 In 1865 a boys’ school known as Trinity Boys’ School was built. Sir Greville Smyth of Ashton Court gave the land, and Mr William Gibbs - (Lord Wraxall’s great grandfather) paid for the building to be erected. The Girls and Infants remained in the Churchyard School and the boys moved to the Trinity school at the age of 7 years. This School remained open until just before the Second World War.

 The building we use today was started in 1863. Sir Greville Smyth donated more land to build a new school for the Girls and Infants in place of the Churchyard School. Antony Gibbs Esq., (Lord Wraxall’s grandfather) paid the expenses for both the Architect and the builders. Mr Butterfield (Architect for Keble College, Oxford), drew up the plans and supervised the building. When the day to transfer to the new building came, it is recorded that the children assembled at the old school at 2.00pm and then marched to their new school singing “Onward Christian Soldiers”. Mrs Anthony Gibbs treated the children to tea. A Trust Deed was taken out granting the care of the school and education to the incumbent and two trustees.

 In 1902 the building was extended by the addition of a new classroom, porch and cloakroom. This school was then known as “The Girls’ School” and was for girls up to the age of 14 and Infant boys. In August 1938 the school was re-organised. It was designated a ‘Junior Mixed School’ and took boys and girls up to the age of 11. At 11, both boys and girls moved to the Senior School in Nailsea. Since this time, Trinity Boys’ School has been closed.

 Following the 1944 Education Act, the school status changed. The Trustees and Managers opted for the school to become a Voluntary Aided Anglican School in order to fulfil the terms of the original Trust Deed. The Trustees retained the buildings and continued to be responsible for their maintenance, for which they received grants direct from the Ministry of Education. All other expenses were met by the Local Education Authority.

 In 1958, the West Classroom, was added to the school.

 During the last 20 years, the school has been considerably modernised and much money has been spent on improving facilities. In 1983 the school was re-tiled. In 1993 a new heating system was installed in and 1994, an additional temporary classroom was added. In January 2002 a major building project was completed. This provided two new classrooms, additional playground a library/computer suite, a secure play area for the under 5’s and a new administration and entrance area.

 Following the generosity of a local landowner, Mr John Winter, a 2500sq.m sports field was leased adjoining the school.

 The Governors and Trustees are jointly responsible for the premises, and together with the local Education Authority and the Diocesan Education Committee of Bath and Wells, are responsible for the running of the school and the education of the children.

 The school maintains strong links with Wraxall Church and the local community, and aims to provide a caring family atmosphere where children are valued as individuals and encouraged to fulfil their potential academically, socially, physically and spiritually. Considerable value is placed on educating the “whole child” and maintaining quality of life and quality of learning throughout the school.