Dursley Schools

Schools in Dursley have seen large variation since the early ones sprung up in the 19th century. One of the first was housed in the old cottage at the bottom of Hill Road, now home to The Old Spot public house. In 1833, Henry Vizard funded the building of the National Boys and Girls Schools behind St. James' Church and around 1840 the Dursley Agricultural and Commercial Grammar School occupied a building in Woodmancote. Around this time there was also a school for nonconformists which met at the chapel in Boulton Lane, more latterly known as the Drill Hall but now demolished.

Church, either the established or nonconformist, played a large part in education in the 19th century and in 1861 the Jubilee school rooms opened next to the Tabernacle. In 1898 the Victoria Memorial Day School opened adjacent to the Methodist Chapel, a school which later continued as the County School and whose buildings continued in use in later life as the Dursley Education Centre. Unfortunately, all the Victoria Day (Council) School buildings (apart from one wall) were demolished in February 2009 as part of the site development for the new Sainsbury's supermarket. For a last look at the inside and outside of these buildings see the Victoria Day School slideshow.

The separate Boys and Girls National Schools were joined in 1843 by an adjacent Infant School, once again funded by the town's philanthropist, Henry Vizard. The two National Schools continued separately until amalgamation occurred in 1923 when the Dursley Church of England Mixed School was established. In 1936 there was another merger, this time with the Infant School and the whole became known as Dursley Church of England School. This pattern continued in 1966 when a new C of E school opened in Boulton Lane to accept all the infants from the old school. The juniors from the Council School moved to the church school which then ceased to function as a school. However five years later, in 1971, they moved again when all the juniors moved to the primary school at Highfields, recently vacated by children attending the Dursley Secondary Modern School when it merged with Dursley Grammar to form Rednock Comprehensive.

Independent schools also thrived in the town, especially at the beginning of the 20th century. A few that existed include the "Boys Boarding and Day School" in Prospect Place, the "School for Girls and Preparatory School for Little Boys" in Woodmancote and the "Boarding School for Young Ladies" in Long Street.

  Picture Gallery (Click on picture for larger view)
    Dursley C of E School, Infants Department
The gable end of the Infants Department of Dursley C of E School is seen here from Bowers Court. Beyond are the buildings of the original Boys and Girls National Schools with which the old Infant School combined in 1936. The Infant School buildings shown here were demolished in 1981.
(1959 - courtesy Cam & Dursley Camera Club)
    National Schools near St. James Church
Now used as St. James' Parish Centre, this building, dating from 1833, housed the National Boys and Girls Schools. The two schools were run separately with the girls classroom to the left of the door and the boys to the right.
(May 17th 2003)
    National Schools viewed from the church tower
Another picture of the old National Schools, visible beyond the roof of St. James' Church. The Boys and Girls schools combined as the C of E Mixed School in 1923 and then further consolidation occurred in 1936 when it combined with the Infant School to form Dursley C of School. Teaching continued here until 1971 when the juniors moved to Highfields school which had become vacant after the opening of the new Rednock Comprehensive School.
(August 24th 2002)
    Dursley Council School buildings, The Knapp
Originally the Victoria Day School and dating from 1898, this picture shows the Council Junior School, whose buildings survived as the Dursley Education Centre until February 2009. On 25th April 1966 all the juniors transferred to the Church School or the new C of E school in Boulton Lane leaving just the infants to occupy the building for a few more years. See the slideshow for more pictures.
(October 19th 2003)
    Boulton Lane Infant School
Built on the site of the Dursley Union Workhouse, this new school resulted from an amalgamation of Dursley's primary schools in 1966. At the time of its opening it accepted all the infants from the church school. The vacant space at the old school was taken up by juniors transferring in from the County School.
(1968 - courtesy Cam & Dursley Camera Club)
    Boulton Lane Primary School buildings
Following use as a school, these buildings were latterly occupied by Dursley's Social Services Department until demolition in January 2007. The Boulton Lane C of E School ceased use as a school in 1982 when its pupils went to join the juniors who had transferred to the Primary School at Highfields in 1971.
(May 3rd 2003)
    Entrance to Dursley C of E School, Highfields
Construction of the building began in 1939 though it halted when the war began later that year. Following the end of hostilities, construction resumed and it was officially opened on 20th September 1949 as Dursley Secondary Modern School. In 1971 it became redundant when Rednock School opened and it was at this time that the juniors from the old Church school moved in. They were later joined by the infants from Boulton Lane in 1982.
(September 8th 2002)
    Dursley C of E School, Highfields
Dursley Church of England Primary School (now Academy) is now Dursley's only primary school and continues to serve the town well. Being an ex secondary school, the building is comparatively spacious and the playing fields cover a very large area. Development on the site continues and 2004 saw the opening of the new 'Treetops' Neighbourhood Nursery in the grounds.
(September 8th 2002)
    Dursley Grammar School
Dursley Secondary school opened in 1921 and initially occupied Rednock House, formerly owned by Captain Graham. It converted to a Grammar School in 1947 and then in 1971 merged with Dursley Secondary Modern School at which time the house was demolished and Rednock Comprehensive was built on the same site.
(c1930 - courtesy Cam & Dursley Camera Club)
    Emblem of Dursley Grammar School
The emblem of Dursley Grammar School shortly before it amalgamated with Dursley Secondary Modern School.
(1971 - courtesy Gerry Pierce)
    Rednock School, Rednock Drive
Opened in 1971 on the site of Dursley Grammar School, Rednock Comprehensive School now serves the whole of Dursley, Cam and the surrounding villages. In 2007, work started on a brand new school on the existing playing fields. On completion in late 2009, most of the existing buildings on the site were demolished.
(September 1st 2002)
    A new school for Dursley
Work began on replacing Rednock School in November 2007 and this completed in September 2009, in time for the new school year. Built on the existing playing fields, it has a distinctive modern appearance and a brand new entrance off Kingshill Road.
(November 15th 2008 - copyright Andrew Barton)