Our present school, Stillington Community Primary, opened its doors to pupils over 100 years ago.
With that opening two educational establishments in Stillington became redundant.
The National, or Church, School was founded in 1820 by Harry Croft, the Lord of Stillington Manor, who donated land on The Green at the instigation of his uncle Robert Croft, Prebendary of Stillington.
Its charter allowed for up to 36 poor local children to be educated free, with the remainder paying a small fee. It was maintained through grants, subscriptions and fundraising, and could accommodate up to 110 children. Its average attendance was about 60, rising to 80 at times.
This school replaced an earlier National School mentioned in almanacks. This was one of the earliest in Yorkshire, being founded about 1817.
The other school was The Wesleyan, or Chapel, School. It had long been an ambition of the Methodists in Stillington to have their own school. A peripatetic school met in Stillington as early as 1740. Though it seems to have mostly taught adults. In the 1850s one was run from the chapel meeting room, or vestry. This proved unsatisfactory, for various reasons, and in 1860 the Chapel Committee obtained permission to erect a schoolroom behind their chapel in Main Street. It was built along the same lines as the National School - a low, one-roomed building catering for 70 children, but with an average attendance of 46.
There was an element of rivalry between the two schools, as their surviving logbooks can attest.
By the early 20th Century it became apparent that neither school was fit for purpose despite the best efforts of their teachers and managers. After a series of meetings it was decided to replace these schools with one custom-built building...
A site was chosen in the centre of the North side of Main Street. The location was cleared: a row of cottages were demolished. Signs of their existence can still be seen - on the side of the Gulshan facing into the school playground and in the amounts of pottery and clay pipes dug from the school garden.
The ‘Council’ school, a red brick building with three classrooms, was constructed on the site and officially opened by Colonel Legard, Chairman of the North Riding Education Committee, at 2:30 on 16th October 1907, taking the registration of scholars the following day.
This new school was non denominational and members of the old schools’ management were invited to sit on the new school’s committee, with Matthew Liddell, the owner of Stillington Hall, as chairman. Having no religious character was a prime element in securing Mr Liddell as a steading hand in charge of the new school as he was a practising Roman Catholic.
The appointed Head Master was William Henry Metcalfe, the last master of The National School. He served in the post until 1945, when he was replaced by his old pupil, Charles Denton, who can be seen as a five year old in the school's very first group photograph at the opening ceremony.