History of the School
The building of church schools in the area had been instigated by Rev R H Bradling of St Nicholas's Church in 1845, to serve the children of coal miners. We remember the history of serving those most in need yesterday, today and always. We also remember the school's often difficult history and the determination by all those associated with the school to keep us running, serving all within our community.
Church records reveal that the education of the young of the area continued to be a preoccupation of the churches in the late 1800s. The two schools (paid for by the churches) were in the parish of All Saints, one in Kenton (shut 1950) and one at the bottom of Salters Road (All Saints' School). All Saints' later paid for new classrooms, a cloak room, and a folding screen. In 1889, education became compulsory until 11 years and, by 1905, the school had expanded 3 times.
Thomas Laws was Head Teacher from 1882 to 1906. He had to cope with the indifference of parents and poor attendance. Friday afternoons were a particular problem when children stayed at home waiting for their fathers to return with their wages. There are records that absenteeism was overcome by football on the town moor!
In 1934, County Education Committee decided to provide schools for older children. From then All Saints' School only welcomed infants and juniors. In 1946, the Education Authority tried to close the school due to the poor state of the building. Documents reveal that, in 1951, All Saints' paid £200 per annum towards the running of the school due to it being in financial difficulty.
Rev. Robert Runcie, later Archbishop of Canterbury, was Curate of All Saints’ from 1950-1952. He led collective worship in the school. In the late 1950s again, the school was under threat. In 1955, the school received notice of closure in 1960 yet in 1957 converted to run from gas to electricity!
By 1980, All Saints' School was the oldest primary school in the city. In that same year, disaster struck. Dry rot was found - so extensive that the building was beyond repair. Subsequently, the school moved into mobile class rooms in the grounds of Gosforth West School on Regent Rd.
In 1982, the Local Authority served notice that it was not going to pay for repair - the school would therefore close. However, an action committee to save the school was founded and Dr Snow was appointed as chair. The campaign produced a petitions of 3500 names which were presented to Councillor George Leyburn of the City Council. In addition, a petition went to the Secretary of State for Education. There was much local pressure with the congregation of All Saints fully involved and help from Archbishop Runcie. The news that the then Secretary for Education - Sir Keith Joseph - reversed the decision was greeted with much joy in March 1983. The council were told they had to find a new site. The old school was demolished and converted into a car park.
In October 1986, planning permission was granted on a site on Christon Road. In June 1987, a foundation stone was laid and on February 29, 1988, children finally moved into the School. The school was opened on 29th September 1988 by the Archbishop of Canterbury and renamed Archbishop Runcie Church of England First School.
We are very grateful to Canon Andrew Shipton for collating this information for us.