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Great Kimble Church of England School

An Academy of the Great Learners Trust

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School History

Two hundred years of education at Great Kimble School

Free education in Great Kimble began in 1805 when a Sunday School was created which ran two education sessions each Sunday in the church mainly run by the women of the village. This continued for many years and a census of 1841 records 140 pupils.

The church expanded this to a day school in the church in 1821 which expanded until it became full time. Children’s pews from this can still be seen in the church.

In 1832 the first premises were built in the form of a house which was part of the school until 2010. The girls learned reading and needlework and the boys reading and writing and modelling in clay.

In 1834 the school was formally adopted by the Church of England.

Land for two more classrooms was donated by Donald Cameron in 1854 and this was expanded to three classrooms in 1895. At the time of the First World War the headmistress was the formidable Greta MacKaig and she had to deal with Belgian refugees who only spoke Flemish.

In the 1920’s a school playground was added on land donated by George Darvill.  Dame J.F. Dove who lived in Great Kimble House played a supportive role to the school (She was the First woman head of a Cambridge College and founder of the Wycombe Abbey School – attended by a number of girls from Great Kimble)

In 1939 Mrs Richardson succeeded Alice Morley as headmistress and had to deal with a very difficult situation as the school role doubled with an influx of children evacuated from London. As always the vicar and the women of the village were very supportive and the school was able to cope partly by using the church and the Stewart Hall.

After the war the school began school dinners and had flush toilets installed. It became a Voluntary Controlled School with senior students going to Risborough Secondary School. In 1973 the school became an Infants School.

In 2007 the school gained an outdoor classroom, Smokey Row, thanks to the generosity of Mr Bill Brown.  The school house was demolished and replaced by a new extension including offices, a staffroom, a classroom and a verandah.

In 2018 the school became an academy and in 2019 a second extension was built on the site of a neighbouring bungalow.

The school is in process of returning to being a Combined Infants and Junior School.

Great Kimble School grew out of the village culture and was formed and thrived by the efforts of the church and particularly the women of the village. It always had a heavy emphasis on the local environment. The school has grown and changed with the times but remains strongly identified with the community, the church and the rural environment and will continue to do so. 

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