The History of St Luke’s

The History of St Luke’s Schools

In 1696 the Bishop of Chester granted a licence for a school-master to teach in Heywood. This was the start of education conducted by the curate ministering at the Chapel-of-Heywood.

In 1717 the Heywood estate of Robert Heywood was sold to John Starky.  John Starky accepted the responsibility for education in this estate.  He was responsible for the building of a school next to the chapel.  This school educated twenty poor children in accordance with the principles of the Church of England and may be regarded as the forerunner of St Luke’s School.

In 1815 the National Society for promoting the education of the poor in the principles of the established church opened St Luke’s School in York Street.  It was intended for the daily education of 300 children.  Classes were crowded and educational materials scarce.  The children learned their letters by tracing them in sand on the floor.  Many children worked in the cotton mills through the week and acquired such education as they could on Sunday afternoons.  This was the beginning of St Luke’s Sunday School.

During the first half of the 19th century schools were built in Heywood.  Overcrowding was still a problem in St Luke’s School in York Street and so when Julius Shadwell became the incumbent of St Luke’s Church in 1859, a site was bought in William Street which is now Queen’s Park Road.

Here our previous buildings stood – now replaced by houses.  From 1850 our children were taught in this building.  A long educational history indeed!

The first phase of the new St Luke’s School was opened in 1970.  Two classrooms accommodating the two oldest
junior classes were built.  Then in 1981 the final phase of the new building was opened by HRH Princess Alexandra.  The building now provides for a three infant classroom unit with its large creative working area and extensive outdoor play areas, a multi-purpose hall (assemblies, dining, PE and games,) and an open library including a  computer suite, and a four junior classroom unit (Year 3 and Year 6) with a large creative work area.  All classes have one teacher taking the 30 children in each class, each supported by a full time classroom

Now the seven classrooms with their shared areas burst with activity and purpose.  A school with facilities second to none!  A school that looks to the future but does not forget its traditions!