Bury Primary School
Bury school was founded in 1844 by the local vicar, Richmond Powell, local landowners Charles Newland and Edward Ireland, another local vicar Rev. Imalley and the Duke of Norfolk. These men gave both money and land to enable the creation of the school on its current site on West Burton Lane. They also asked other locals to contribute a yearly subscription or one-off payments. They worked out that the minimum they could pay a ‘mistress’ was £30 a year (this is about £3,000 in today’s money – about 10 per cent of what a teacher earns now!)
Initially the school was based in the school master’s house, with a classroom added soon after. The school had regular changes in leadership over the years with the average tenure of a head being about six years – not dissimilar to nowadays!
Over time, the school built on two new classrooms, a hall and two offices, but the footprint of the school is nearly unchanged since its inception (barring a small slice of land added to build ‘earth closets’ in 1912).
School numbers have stayed steady at 40-60 children over the years, with increases during both wars when evacuees joined the school.
The position of the school in the South Downs has always been important, never more so than now, when as an Ambassador School for the South Downs National Park, Bury Primary’s children spend a lot of time in the environment, learning why this area is so important.
Outside space is vitally important to ensuring children grow up knowing about both the social and geographic history of the area. Each year the school starts by teaching a ‘Brilliant Bury’ unit to the whole school to help the children learn about all aspects of the village.
Of course, history, geography and nature are not Bury School’s only subjects. Instead, the school has a broad curriculum covering diverse areas, as well as Bury Rangers, an afternoon every week when the children learn curriculum objectives outside.
The school’s forward looking staff take part in and organise research and training for other schools in the area and are keen to make Bury Primary School the very best it can be – a small school with big ambitions!