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A brief History

Meet the Headmaster
Word from Headmaster
A brief History
About Us
Meet the Staff
School Aims
Inspection Report
Charity Work
Cross Community
Contact Us

Primary Education in Garvagh

In the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's there were two public schools in Garvagh.  Garvagh Public Elementary School, which was the Presbyterian school, was at the Southerly end of the town.  Garvagh Youth Club now occupies the premises.


The second school, which was known as the Canning Public Elementary School, was the Church of Ireland school, and was positioned where the Christian Workers Union Hall now stands. 


In 1947 an Education Act was passed, changing education in Northern Ireland.  Public Elementary schools were to be called Primary Schools, with pupils transferring at 11+ to Intermediate schools, Grammar schools, and Technical schools.    This change took some time, as schools had to be planned and built.  Garvagh Intermediate school opened in 1953.  The primary school population fell as a result.  Both primary schools continued to operate for some time, but eventually the Canning Primary School closed.  Primary Education continued in Garvagh Primary School, but as housing development took place, the school could not cope with the numbers.  Temporary accommodation was given in Garvagh Orange Hall.


In the grounds of Garvagh Intermediate School was the school, and Garvagh House, the former house of the Canning Family.  In Garvagh House were flats for single female teachers, and some classrooms.  The house had fallen into disrepair over the years, suffering from wet and dry rot, and vermin infestation.  County Londonderry Education Committee decided to demolish Garvagh House and to build a new primary school on its site.  This was duly done and Garvagh Primary School opened in 1965.


But further change was in store.  In the early seventies, in education circles, ROSLA was constantly mentioned.  (Raising of School Leaving Age).  This meant that Garvagh Intermediate school numbers would rise without adequate building to house the extra pupils.  County Londonderry Education Committee decided that the existing primary school would become part of the intermediate school, and a new primary school would be built. 


And so in April 1973, the new Garvagh Primary School opened.  It was built on Ashe's Meadow.  Where the gates are, was the site of the old cinema (AVON - which stood for Allies Victory over Nazis).  The school was of a new design, with three wings.  Each wing consisted of three classrooms, lavatories and an open area.  Apart from the classroom for P1, the classrooms had no doors.  This was referred to as open plan.


In April 1973 the staff consisted of Mr Andy McFetridge, Mrs E Torrens, Mrs Bresland, Mrs Webb (who died in service.  A plaque and rose bed in her memory are near the front entrance) Miss Rae Stevens (who later became Mrs Thompson and died in 2007).  In September 1973 Miss N Hayes joined the staff.  She married, is now Mrs Freeburn and remains a member of staff.  Miss Crossett came in October 1979 and remains a member of staff.


Over the years, many staff changes have taken place.  Mr McFetridge the first head of the school, retired in 1989.  He was replaced by Mr Alan Millar, who left Garvagh in December 1998.  The present headmaster, Mr S McQuiston took up duties in January 1999. 


Previous caretakers have included Mr W Faith, Mr J Johnston and our current caretaker Mr W McLaughlin.  Previous secretaries have included Mrs Wilson, Mrs I Hunter and our current secretary Ms Z Moore.



Garvagh Primary School
1 Coleraine Rd
Co Londonderry
BT51 5HP
Telephone: 028 295 58540
Fax: 028 295 57151