History of St Luke's
History of St Luke’s Church of England Primary School
Compiled by Mr. S. Hardaker Headteacher 2012- present
Mr. C.E.C. Hooper Headmaster 1948 - 1962
How it all began?
From the official records of St Luke’s Church. The school was first opened in the year 1751. Its existence is owed to the sale of fields owned by six benefactors, the principal being the Lord of the Manor.
There were six children in attendance who were educated without any charge. Shortly afterwards the school became a fee-paying school which was charged to the master. By 1828 the school had 25 paying pupils.
Scholars were housed in a variety of places: at the old rectory; at a house on Stone Cross Lane; at a house on Church Lane and one on Newton Road. The infant school, which was the old parish hall, was built in 1854 by Mary Leigh. The school functioned satisfactorily until 1865 when there was a complaint that no Latin was taught at the school. As a result, the school master, Mr R. Peake resigned in 1867 and there were no trustees to appoint a successor. Therefore, the school was closed.
The school possesses minute books and logbooks that date from 1869. During this year the school reopened. It was known as the Endowed School of the Parish of Lowton. The Rector and Church Wardens of Lowton and five Laymen became the trustees. Each Warden and Layman had to sign a statement to confirm that he was a practising member of the Church of England. The reciting documents can still be read in the school’s minutes book.
“The Endowed School in the Parish of Lowton… Two pieces of land, one called the school and, the other, the school house.“ The document also states that the premises are vested in the official trustee of a charity lands - “and that all present and future buildings thereon are to be used FOR EVER as a school for the instruction of children or adults or children only in the parish of Lowton - and for no other purpose.“
“The principal, officiating minister (Rector) should have the superintendence of the religious and moral instruction of the children and may also use the premises for the purpose of a Sunday School under his control.”
The first official managers were:
W J. Leigh Esquire, Lymn
G McCorquodale, The Willows, Newton
W Newby Frazer, Lyme House
Thomas Withington, Culcheth Hall.
Thomas Warder, Fir House
Richard Peake, Clerk
Mr Richard Peake.
Another outstanding figure is Mr. Richard Peake who was born in 1820. He was master of Lowton Parish Church School for 25 years and was Sunday school teacher at St Luke’s Church for 30 years. He was also a trustee and manager of the school for many years. He died in 1902.
It appears that Mr Peake was often seen carrying his long stick which it was not unusual for him to wield it to call one of the younger members of the congregation to order. A tablet to his memory can be seen on the West Wall of the Church.
Headmaster/Headteachers of Lowton
1845 – Mr. R. Peake
1870 – Mr. R. Eaton– Lowe
1870 – Mr. J. Pilkington
1871 – Mr. R. McKee
1874 – Mr. Woodward
1875 – Mr. H. Bennett
1878 – Mr. M. Clapham
1880 – Mr. Cassen
1885 – Mr. T. Barnes
1921 – Mr. T. Wood
1948 – Mr. G.E.C. Hooper
1962 – Mr. J.D. Probert
1967 – Mr. R. J. Birks
1974 – Mr. C. G. Cutler
1980 – Mr. G.C. Burrows
1990 – Mr. I. Bowler
1993 – Mrs. K. Jones
2002 – Mrs. C. Groves
2012 – Mrs C. Groves/Mr. S. Hardaker
2013 – Mr. S. Hardaker
Timeline of interesting dates taken from the school log books
1751 October 18 – School was opened by the Rector of Lowton.
1828 – The school had 25 fee paying pupils.
1851 December 9 – The Lowton Infant School Committee met to establish an infant school in Lowton, of which the rector of the parish consented to be the patron.
1853 May 7 – The committee of Lowton Infant School wrote to Reverend T.J. Whittingham for his approval and signature of the new school building. After much deliberation a new school was finally granted.
1854 October 18 – The new infant school was built by Mary Leigh.
1867 – Mr R. Peake resigns as headmaster.
1869 – School re-opens.
1870 February 14 – A new school was officially opened under the mastership of Mr. R. F. Eaton-Lowe who was the certified master. It was a boy only school at this stage. The school was separated by two buildings – the Infant building (1751) and the Junior building (1854).
1870 July 22 – Only 19 boys attended school on this day due to a disastrous fire which burned down the cotton mill at the back end of the school during the previous evening.
1871 February 6 – The school master, Mr. R. McKee was late for school. He wrote, “having missed the early train from Wigan this morning. I did not arrive at school until 10:30 – but the boys had gone home!”
1871 March 20 – A violent shock! Later to be discovered as an earthquake rocked the village of Lowton. The headmaster gave lessons to the first, second and third classes about earthquakes. No learning opportunity missed!
1872 April 2 – The boys were all kept in all playtime to do evening lessons (homework).
1872 June 17 – With haymaking having commenced, many of the boys were absent from school as a consequence.
1872 November 1 – Two boys were taken as ‘full timers’ to work in the factory, finishing their education prematurely.
1872 December 6 – Many of the older boys were working as ‘half timers’ at the Mills.
1873 April 10 – Some boys were away on this day working on the gardens and the fields.
1873 June 3 – The school was examined by Her Majesty’s Inspectors. The inspection commenced at 12:25pm and ended 4 pm. This resulted in the boys having no lunch.
1883 April 27 – The headteacher, commenting on a Diocesan examination: “the writing of the catechism on slates and paper was good.”
1885 June 26 – The Rector visited school on the Tuesday morning for worship. A tradition that still happens in 2023! The tradition of the Rector handing out bibles to both new starters and school leavers started around this period.
1889 February 11 – A very heavy snowfall on Sunday left the road covered to a depth of 8 inches. Consequently, very few children attended school on this day.
1889 March 5 – The usual distribution of new pennies was given by the Rector to each pupil. This Shrove Tuesday custom continued right up till the 1990s. It began in 1886.
1891 August 31 – A national school holiday was declared on this day due to the account of schools being declared “free” from the 1st of September, 1891. However, fees were still collected of 3d or 4d for that week.
1892 April 29 – Attendance was very poor at school. This was due to several cases of influenza mumps.
1892 June 15 - The school was inspected and the report read, “the tone and discipline are very good, and the elementary work prepared with great care and intelligence, particularly the spelling and arithmetic. Grammar is a little weak in the fourth standard, and map drawing should improve, otherwise the classwork is good“.
1904 – Plans for the school building to be extended were approved and work was completed during the same year.
1904 December 22 – The Rector was not present at the closing of the school for Christmas holidays due to winter sickness. This was the first time he had ever been absent on this occasion for 30 years. Oranges was distributed to the children as usual.
1915 October 22 – The school was visited by the Lord Bishop of Liverpool, Francis Chavasse.
1921 – Mr. Thomas Wood became headmaster. Records show that he kept meticulous records regarding school attendance.
1924 December 12 – The school was inspected in Religious Knowledge by the Diocese. A report in the school log book written by a C.F.H. Saully reads, “the children in each room sang the hymns nicely. The prayers were said very reverently. The top group gave the inspector, a charming time, entering most happily and sensibly into the various questions, which he put to them on their work and the different ways in which he gave them opportunity to express what they knew and thought. The religious feeling and insight were noticeable. Boys and girls showed delightful interest. The second group consisted of the very little children. They gave a highly pleasing account of their lessons. Pictures have been here as in the other group, both a treat and a help. The lessons have been simple and suitable and the children have enjoyed them. The children did well to speak so fully with a stranger.The inspector has never heard the whole school here to better advantage. The children dropped their shyness of a stranger and did beautifully.“ This was the first mention of girls attending the school in the log books.
1939 October 2 – The school reopened on this day after four weeks closure due to the outbreak of the war.
1940 February 5 – Bad weather closed the school on this day.
1940 July 22 – The school was reopened today after being refurbished for two weeks. The headteacher commented in the school log book, “I do not hold myself responsible for any accidents that may happen on the school yard. Since Christmas, the yard has been littered with broken tiles and slates“.
1940 August 13 – The school was inspected and the teaching was found to be disappointing.
1940 December 10 – Total amount of time spent in the air raid shelters was 2 hours and 35 minutes. Visits to the air raid shelters were quite prominent during the month of December.
1941 June 4 – A teacher, Mrs Unsworth, was absent from school today because her husband had been given leave from the RAF.
1945 March 7 – The school was closed on this day so that the children could go to see the King and Queen at Newton Le Willows.
1945 May 8/9 – School was closed for VE Day and VE +1 day.
1947 August 29 – Mr Thomas Wood retired. He ceased duty after 26 years as headmaster. There is a short biography written by James Farrington in 1988; it provides a great account of his extraordinary life.
1948 – Mr C.E.C. Hooper was appointed headmaster.
1948 January – Electric light was installed throughout the “mixed’ school.
1948 – The school became a primary school. The seniors attended Golborne Secondary Modern.
1949 – A modern flushing system was installed in the existing lavatories.
1953 – The infant and junior school amalgamated as one school under one headmaster. The old 1854 school building now housed both infants and juniors.
1953 June 2 – The school celebrated the Queen‘s Coronation. Children received a commemorative tin containing sweets and chocolates from the Sovereign Toffee Works. They also receive a beaker from the Golborne Urban District Council. Although some first hand reports say that some children only received a bag of sweets inside a cup!
1953 December 11 – The school received a letter from Westminster Abbey, thanking them for their fundraising and the kind donation of £8.80.
1961 December 20 – Mr C.E.C. Hooper retired as headmaster after 14 years. His legacy remains through the designing of the school badge in 1948. The badge includes a image of a Bishop’s mitre and an ox. The ox depicts how Jesus sacrificed himself for us all. St Luke is often shown with an ox or a calf because these are the symbols of sacrifice – the sacrifice Jesus made for all the world. Luke is the patron of physicians and surgeons (lay down one’s life). The school badge depicts this.
1962 December 13 – After years of petitioning for a new school. The School and Home Association (now the Friend’s of St Luke’s) finally achieved their wish. A decision to build a new school was granted at an estimated cost of £25,000. The School and Home raised £3000 to towards the cost of the new school. The school has always had a very active and strong Parent Association.
1963 February 22 – The log book refers to this date as a milestone for the school as it reached 100 pupils on role. The school would grow to over 300 pupils within the next 17 years. However, we know from Mrs Unsworth’s account of the school in the 1920’s that there could be 100 pupils in the infant school and 300 pupils in the junior school.
1964 September 11 – The site of the new school was approved.
1964 November 2 – An architect was appointed for the new school.
1965 March 16 – Plans for the new school were approved.
1965 September – The Government approved the new school.
1966 October 26 – The school raised £13 for the Aberfan disaster fund.
1966 January 12 – Mr. Hooper made a donation to school for art, science and sport.
1967 March 4 – The foundation stone for the new school was laid.
1968 – Completion of the first phase of the newbuild comprising of three infant classrooms and an administration block.
1969 January 22 – The school was broken into and the local police were informed. The police visited the school and an investigation was carried out. It was discovered that a small quantity of biscuits had been taken and entry had been gained through a sunlight on the roof.
1970 November – Completion of the second phase of the newbuild comprising of the hall and kitchen.
1971 June 21 – The school was again broken into between 4 pm and 6 pm on a Sunday night. It was discovered that over 100 eggs had been thrown against the wall in the kitchen. CID took fingerprints!
1972 February 24 – The school was closed all day due to the infant building having been broken into during the night. The headteacher’s door had been forced off and part of the caretaker’s door was damaged. A filing cabinet had been forced open and the contents ransacked. The keys to the stationery cupboards and the junior building had been stolen.
1972 February 28 – The school was closed all day today due to a power crisis.
1975 February – Completion of third and final phase of the newbuild comprising of four junior classrooms.
1975 April 25 – One of the greatest occasions in the long history of St Luke’s School was the dedication and official opening of the new school. The Bishop of Warrington officially opened and blessed the new school. A service was also held at Church in the evening with parents and parishioners all invited. The Archdeacon of Warrington dedicated the school to the glory of God at the evening service. The total cost for all three phases of development was £91,000.
1975 – Mr. Hooper compiled the first History of St Luke’s School, 1751 to 1975.
1981 April 1 – After succeeding Mr. C.G. Cutler, the acting headteacher was faced with reports of vandalism of various descriptions on her first day.
1982 May 19 – The district trials for the 1982-83 football side were held at St Luke’s School.
1982 September 24 – The school Harvest Festival took place in the school hall. There was a marvellous display of generous contributions which were afterwards taken to Church for display there.
1983 June 13 – The school cricket team played their first match, a friendly against Brook Lodge CP Primary from Rainford
1984 December 15 – Christmas dinner was served at school. The headteacher wrote, “A day of suitably festive spirit and good times a had by all”.
1990 June 16 – St Luke’s Church held the annual Rose Queen festival in school. It was another fine day and Fiona Travis in class seven was crowned as the Queen.
1990 June 22 – St Luke’s School won the Leigh School’s Cricket Cup. It was a record year for sporting trophies.
1990 – The School Crossing Patrol (Lucy Brown) received an award from the Queen for her many year’s of service.
2002 June – St Luke’s were crowned Lowton and Golborne Schools football champions for the first time.
2004 February – Mr Hardaker, along with a delegation of teachers from Wigan visits Melbourne, Australia to look at the ‘thinking skills’ curriculum.
2007 June 12 – St Luke’s won the Wigan East Cricket Competition for the first time in many years.
2007 March – The headteacher, Mrs Groves was part of a delegation of Wigan Schools Headteachers who were specially invited to visit Jamshedpur in Northern India. The visit had a profound effect on the school for several years afterwards.
2010 January 11 – After four days of heavy snow, the school finally reopened. It took all staff and volunteers to clear the snow from the playground and paths.
2010 May 17 – The new school playground was opened after the school received lottery funding and money raised by the Friends of St Lukes School. MP Andy Burnham officially opened the new playground; it was filmed for ITV.
2011 May- The old school building, completed in 1854, was sadly demolished to make way for an extension of the 1975 build.
2012 May 31 – The school was honoured to be selected to host the Olympic torch bearers. The London 2012 Olympics were celebrated in style at the school with the torch visiting the school.
2012 June – The school extension was completed. A Time Capsule was buried in the school building leaving a legacy of the year 2012 which included the Queen’s Jubilee and the London Olympics.
2013 – Mrs. Groves retired and Mr. Hardaker became the substantive headteacher.
2014 November – The School and Church commemorated 100 years since the start of the First World War.
2014 June 9 – Children from St Luke’s were confirmed for the first time at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.
2015 – The School and Church was awarded the Church School Partnership award. The Bishop of Warrington presented the award to the school at a special worship.
2015 May 22 – School was awarded the Epilepsy in Action National Education award.
2017 – All classrooms and corridors (including the library and staff room) that were built in the 1960’s and 70’s were internally refurbished.
2017 November 9 – The school received an outstanding grade for the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS). The report said “The distinctiveness and effectiveness of St Luke’s, as a Church of England School are outstanding, Christian values, rooted in biblical teaching, have a significant impact on all aspects of school life. As a result, very strong relationships, enable all to flourish.”
2018 – The school was nominated for the Martin Lynn School Commitment to Physical Education and Sport award.
2019- The headteacher’s office and main entrance were refurbished.
2023 January – The school received a good OFSTED rating. It is the best OFSTED inspection the school has ever received.
2023 April 20 – Murphy Group Limited completed the building of the ‘Seven Stars’ Forest School.
2023 – The school was awarded the Platinum Status for Physical Education, Sport and School Games. This demonstrated the school’s commitment to the development of PE and sport.
2023 June – For the second year running St Luke‘s were the Leigh, Lowton and Golborne Cricket champions.
2023 September 21 – Reverend Helen Coffey visited the school for the first time.