Springston School turns 150

by Kent Caddick

At Labour Weekend Springston School and the local community will celebrate the school’s 150th birthday.

The school’s jubilee committee has been working hard to organise a weekend full of events to cater for everyone.

The 150th-anniversary events will kick off on Friday, October 19 with a special assembly and afternoon tea, which will be followed by an informal catch up for past pupils at the Springston Hotel.

The following day, the school will host a country fete, from 10am to 3pm, and in the evening a Jubilee Jive formal will be held in the Springston Domain.

That will be followed by a service at St Mary’s Church, opposite the school on Leeston Road on Sunday morning.

Deputy principal, Wendy Hamlin, said any proceeds from the weekend would be donated to the school to provide sunshade, landscaping and play areas for the children.

“The jubilee committee welcomes ex-pupils, teachers, board of trustee, community members and current school families to attend all events.

“The country fete in the school grounds will be open to everyone and will include Jubilee photos. There will be entertainment, market stalls, pony rides, a bouncy castle and picnic games. Food and drink will also be available.”

The idea for a school in Springston began in May 1868, when a group of local landowners and householders declared themselves willing to form the Springston Education District.

Later that year, the first one-room school and schoolhouse were built on Ellesmere Junction Road, with James Gammock donating the land. 

The opening ceremony was held on October 30 1868, and the school began with a roll of 25.
In the early days attendance grew quickly, and by the 1880s there were 186 children on the roll.

However, the average daily attendance was only 89 — mainly due to the fact many of children were often needed to help out at home as well as the affordability of the education charges imposed on the families.

Springston School as it looked in 1928

The school roll fluctuated in the following years with additional rooms being added in 1878 and 1886; however, by the late 1940s the school roll had dropped back to 25, and the school returned to being a single teacher school.

In 1956 the construction of a new school on the present site on Leeston Road revitalised the school and the old school was pulled down. The school community decided to mark the occasion by also building a swimming pool.

Today the school has a roll of 237, made up of 10 classes that include collaborative learning spaces, integrated technology, well-resourced library, a community garden and a large outdoor learning centre.
“The focus of the school is still very much connected to the community and local families,” Ms Hamlin said.

People can register for the jubilee weekend online at springston.school.nz, on Facebook facebook.com/SpringstonSchool150th or email 150thjubilee@springston.school.nz alternatively phone 03 329 5724 to have a registration form sent out.