This is the story of our very unique school and one which we are all dedicated to seeing continue well into the 21st century.
Founded in 1880, the School was started in the Old Mission Room until 30 years later when the Spottiswoode sisters and Mr Blackburne-Hall decided to open a building fund and 200 villagers raised money to build the school.
Described as “a jewel of a school”, it was opened by the Bishop of Winchester and provided for children aged from 5 to 14 in two rooms - a further generous gift from Mrs Blackburne-Hall added a third room. In 1950 the School became a Primary then a First school in 1973.
THE FIGHT TO KEEP THE SCHOOL
Government policy changes in 1991 shifted the age of transfer to 7 and the local authority declare the school, along with others in the region, too small to be viable and plans are made to withdraw financial support. The local community is stung into action and a vigorous campaign is waged by both parents and villagers to overturn the decision, including a final appeal to the Secretary of State. Despite all the efforts, the appeal fails and all government funding is removed resulting in the closure of the School by the Local Authority in 1994.
That very same year, the Peaslake Schools Trust was formed with the express intention of continuing schooling in the village. Whilst funding for the School was raised, Ridgmount, the home of Margaret and Leslie Jones, welcomed 14 children and the school, albeit fragile, lived on.
In December 1996, 18 households came together to purchase the former School buildings on behalf of the Trust, raising over £120,000 - access to the original school buildings is secured. The school, which had lain derelict for three years, required significant refurbishment before the children could return and once again the village pitched in with countless volunteers helping with carpentry, painting and maintenance.
THE TRIUMPHANT RETURN
June of 1997 saw a triumphant return to the school buildings with a march through the village by parents, children, Trustees, benefactors and volunteers who had made everything possible.
Since its inception the Trust has raised nearly £2m to operate the school.
FREE SCHOOL STATUS
In September 2013 Peaslake School became Peaslake Free School re-entering the state maintained sector as a 'Free School'. This has allowed the school to continue to thrive within the community, providing a special child-centric and community-centric education in the idyllic rural setting of Peaslake.