History

Our school opened in 1915 with 149 pupils and a staff of four following lobbying to the Canterbury Education Board by the Beckenham Burgesses’ Association who argued that it was too dangerous for Beckenham children to cross Colombo St tramlines to attend Somerfield School. The first school committee adopted the red, yellow and black colours of the Belgium flag as a tribute to the bravery shown by that country in the 1914-1918 World War. These colours are still found in our various sports, music and other uniforms. The school was unique for its time in being the first primary school in Christchurch to have co-educational classrooms for boys and girls, to be built with a central heating system servicing the entire school, and later to have its own swimming pool.

The school roll and its buildings grew rapidly so that by 1928 the school roll reached 562. The old brick building was demolished in 1979 and new Cebus style classrooms were built. By the late 1980’s, demographic changes meant that the roll had declined to just over 300. Additional classrooms were added when the school roll grew again during the 1990’s. The administration block was extended and re-modelled in 1994. The school hall was built during 1997. Both projects were funded by the Ministry of Education’s Financial Assistance Scheme and school community fundraising. During 2000, the administration block was further upgraded to the new building standard, and stage 2 of the hall completed with the development of a new entrance, reception foyer, kitchen and multi-purpose classroom suitable for science, technology, art and music activities. The spacious library/information centre was refurbished in 2004. In 2009 a new resource, office and small group teaching space was added to the Junior block as a partial second story. This was funded through roll growth and property funding for junior roll ratios. The boiler house was decommissioned in 2010 and remodelled as two learning spaces known as the Major and Minor Rooms that typically accommodate music tuition and other small group learning. The Canterbury Earthquake of 22 Feb 2011 destroyed the school pool. A major fire in January 2013 destroyed the library and multipurpose rooms. Community support and generous donations of money, books and time saw the library collection rebuilt during 2013. Two temporary re-locatable classrooms were moved onto the site of the old pool in July 2012 to provide temporary replacement for the multi-purpose and library spaces lost in the fire.