Nateby Primary School

A brief history

As you may expect a school as old as Nateby Primary School has a long history – many of our parents were children here and so were their parents! It is a source of pride for many members of the Nateby community.
Nowadays the school admissions policy allows children from outside Nateby to be admitted (our children come from Garstang, Pilling and other Over Wyre areas) but the school, founded in 1870 and opened in 1872, was built primarily for the benefit of children living in the Nateby Parish, school attendance being compulsory. Although in those days children had to pay a fee, the numbers kept increasing and within two years the building had to be extended. At times children were noted to be absent to work on the mosses, to ‘tent’ cows, to plant or harvest potatoes, and to help with turf-cutting and haymaking. They were even absent for ‘pace-egging’.
In 1873, an Education department report described the schoolroom as being “small and crowded”. It was also “under 10 feet high, had no ceiling and a lime and gravel floor”. The following year, 1874, the school was enlarged, a room built for the infants, a wooden floor laid and the roof was raised. By 1876 the master noted “the school too small”.
1883 saw the opening of the “new” school. An inspector’s report states that it was “supplied by the munificence of a neighbouring gentleman, with admirable new buildings which comprised, besides principal classrooms, an excellent Teacher’s residence and Reading Room”. The gentleman concerned was Mr William Bashall who, together with his daughter Mrs Bretherton, kept a keen interest in the school. (Mrs Bretherton’s name can be seen on the War Memorial near school, which she and her husband donated).
By now school fees had been abolished. The school was the responsibility of the Parish. The vicars of St Helen’s, Kirkland and St Thomas’, Garstang, frequently visited and one of the managers checked the attendance register regularly. Children were still being absent to “help at home” or to “help in the fields”. Bad weather was often the cause of absence with remarks such as “the children have to walk 3 miles”. Pupil numbers dwindled but in 1939 numbers doubled as evacuees from Salford arrived in the district. After the war, changes were made and the school became a Primary School instead of an all-age school. The “teachers residence” was sold by the County Council. Nowadays, the School Governors have the responsibility of keeping the school in good repair, the County Council providing backup services.