During the period from 1900 to 1939 large commercial nurseries and a large orchard were created in Istead Rise. Most of this early development took place along Downs Road. This pattern of small developments continued in much the same way until the late 1950s. The electoral register of 1912 indicates less than 40 houses in Istead Rise, increasing to around 90 by the mid 1930s. Records then show from 1958 to 1974 the main residential development of larger plots plus the creation of new roads to serve them.
A community was being created and by the early 1960’s there were sufficient children in the area to make a school viable and the matter was brought under council consideration in 1961.
It was not until 1964 however, when the Thameside Education Executive was invited to the Istead Rise Association’s Annual General Meeting to provide an update on progress, that unfortunately the Association and residents heard that no progress had been made.
This was not welcome news and the Association and residents were left extremely dissatisfied. As such the Istead Rise Association formed a subcommittee known as the Young Peoples Welfare Association and conducted a census of the number of children born in Istead Rise between January 1953 and May 1964 including disclosed pregnancies.
From this a forecast of the likely number of primary school places which would be required between 1964 and 1969 was formed.
The result showed a figure of children between the ages 5 years to 11 years rising from 286 in 1964 to 548 in 1968. This data was obtained by over 800 households and together with a petition signed by an overwhelming number of residents, it was presented to the Minister of Education.
The petition certainly worked as Kent County Council purchased the site (a pig farm at the time) and Istead Rise Primary School was opened on 6 January 1966 at a cost of just over £94,000.
Miss Eileen Roso, was appointed the Head Teacher. She had been the Head of Dover Road Primary School where many children of Istead Rise were currently being educated.
270 children were admitted on the first day with a further 30 children starting school for the first time a week later.
The school was a Junior school although it was admitting both Infant and Junior aged children. It was 2/3 years later that a separate Infant school was built and both the Infants and Juniors remained separate schools until the retirement of Mrs Pooley in 1991.
Today, the school educates over 300 children between the ages 4 to 11, promoting four core values – Independence, Respect, Perseverance and Self-reflection. There is a careful and considered approach to teaching and the school uses a Restorative Approach to manage behaviour. The school also follows the Cornerstones curriculum to deliver topic based learning thus providing children with real life, exciting learning experiences.
The school benefits from the Friends of Istead Rise Primary School (FIRPS) a fund raising committee organising events throughout the year to raise additional funds for the school.
Istead Rise Primary School, Downs Road, Istead Rise, Kent, DA13 9HG
Telephone: 01474 833177