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.