Webpage created: September 17, 2018
Webpage updated: August 26, 2019
EGGBUCKLAND AND LAIRA GREEN BOARD SCHOOL
The Eggbuckland and Laira Green Board School was erected by Mr J Williams, of East Stonehouse, on behalf of the Eggbuckland and Laira Green School Board and opened on July 11th 1892. It was to accommodate 90 boys, 90 girls and 108 infants. It replaced the Laira Green Day School. The first building was of a single storey. Mr Williams's tender, which was accepted in July 1891, was for £2,112.
Mr William Henry Sleeman Coom was the master; Miss Annie Reynolds the mistress; and Miss E A Watkins was the mistress in charge of the infants.
The rapid growth of Laira as an attractive area in which to live brought about an increase in the number of pupils from 250 in 1892 to 370 by the beginning of 1896. Mr H J Snell, the architect, was asked to draw up plans for the extension of the School by providing an extra classroom for each of the three departments. This extension was opened at 3pm on the afternoon of Wednesday March 18th 1896 and was followed by a Punch and Judy show for the children and a tea with their parents, all paid for by Mr H O Serpell, the chairman of the Eggbuckland and Laira Green School Board. Mr Serpell had also presented the School with an aquarium, gymnasium equipment and 'other means of enjoyment and amusement'.
There was a plan at that time to open up the playground in the evenings 'for the young men of Laira to disport themselves in' but this was opposed on the grounds that the playground had been laid out with small plots for the children to learn about horticulture and the ornamental flower beds would suffer as a result. It also happened that by doing this it gained extra grant from the Board of Education. Even in the 1890s it all came down to money and the prospective rowdiness of the local youths.
The extension of the Plymouth Town boundary on November 9th 1896 brought the transfer of the School to the Plymouth School Board. One of the benefits of this arrangement was the introduction of "Domestic Economy" classes, which were taken at Mount Street Board School in Plymouth.
On June 4th 1897 Sergeant-Major Fullerton was engaged to take the girls for drill.
By that time the School was becoming seriously overcrowded. There were 170 infants: 110 in one room and 60 in another. They started at the age of 3, incidentally. The other rooms were shared between the older boys and girls. Indeed, on May 9th 1899 it was reported in the School Log Book that the passage and an unidentified summer house were also used for classes and on October 20th that a movable canvas screen was being used to separate classes in the same room. In August 1901 there were 216 children on the roll and the situation in hot weather was termed 'impossible'.
It would appear that the Plymouth School Board took the initiative to provide a new school building as it was logged on March 5th 1902 that a boy had been injured 'while playing with a truck being used in connection with the new building'.
Following the passing of the Education Act 1902, which received the Royal Assent on December 18th 1902, the financial responsibility for the Eggbuckland and Laira Green Board School was transferred to the Plymouth Local Education Authority on April 1st 1903 and management responsibility on May 1st 1903, when it became the Laira Council Elementary School.