History of Minworth
Minworth Junior and Infant school is a small rural school that enjoys strong community support. It provides a stable environment and a continuation of the family atmosphere. These characteristics are traditions that are now well established but have taken over 100 years to develop. So how did it all begin?
The provision of a school in Minworth came late to the village. A small school for infants was opened in 1897 and a 35 year old village woman, Emma Hughes, was appointed the mistress (A picture of Emma Hughes can be seen on the left). All other children had to brave the elements and attend schools in the nearby villages. The infant school was situated at the side of the wheelwright's shop but it soon became overcrowded and inadequate. The board of education threatened to withdraw financial support from the school unless new premises were found, and a permanent village schoolroom became a priority. On 29th December 1900 a new building was opened on the opposite side of the green. This proved to be a great improvement on the accommodation that the children had experienced in the wheelwright's shop, yet Minworth still had no provision for schooling children over the age of 7 years. For these children, school meant walking to one of the nearby villages to continue their education. With the growing success of Emma Hughes' infant department the necessity for a new school to accommodate the older village children became essential.
The new building was erected on a site adjacent to the infant school and opened on Monday March 3rd 1902, providing for the first time educational facilities for all the village children. Three members of staff were appointed, Joseph Greenup the headmaster, Lilian Wallbank a certificated assistant teacher and Amy Hill the monitress (A picture of Joesph Greenup with children at the school can be seen on the left). The school had only two classrooms formed by a sliding partition across what is now the school hall. The school drew children in from a wide area. Most of them came from the Curdworth Board School, but others were admitted from Water Orton, Walmley, Coleshill, Erdington and Sutton Town. In addition, twelve children were admitted from the Infant Department. The provision of an all-age school in Minworth meant that the village now became a center for education and started to draw children from further afield, particularly from the Tyburn area. The early years were not easy for Joseph Greenup or the school. Classroom accommodation soon proved to be inadequate and became overcrowded as the numbers on roll rapidly increased. The school managers experienced many disputes with the education committee but as the years passed the school did grow in size, with the final building work being completed in 1926.
Joseph Greenup retired in 1922 and William Gurney was appointed as the new headmaster (A picture of William Gurney with his staff at the school can be seen on the left). The infant and mixed departments of the school were amalgamated under the new headmaster and the starting time for the Infant School was brought forward to 9.00am.
As well as being famous for its age in 1941, Minworth also became the first school in the Sutton area to serve cooked school meals at mid-day. Headteachers from other local schools visited Minworth to see how the school meals were organised and soon Minworth school became the model upon which other schools based their own arrangements.
On 31st March 1951, after 29 years as headmaster of the school, William Gurney retired. He was succeeded by Ken Elliott. Within a month of him starting 54 of the senior children were transferred to the new Park Hall Secondary Modern School, and Minworth became a Junior and Infant School under the reorganisation outlined in the 1944 Education Act. In December 1953 Ken Elliott left Minworth for a new appointment as headmaster at Falcon Lodge Junior School. He was succeeded at Minworth by John Fishwick. The nature of the village began to change and numbers fell. Plans for closing the school were aired but the school came under the administration of Sutton Coldfield and the threat of closure was averted.
By 1970 the numbers began to rise. In 1972 primary schools within the Sutton Coldfield area were reorganized into first and middle schools. Minworth, being small, became a combined First and Middle school, and by 1974 Minworth had become a Birmingham School. After 23 years, in 1977, John Fishwick retired and Harry Edwards succeeded him. He then left in 1981 to take up a new appointment and Mr. R. Phillips took Minworth into its eightieth year, continuing and developing the traditions and successes of the school. During the last thirty years the school has seen five more headteachers: Mr. John Pretty , Mr. Geoff Durrant, Mr. Spencer Lambeth-Angell, Mrs. Josie Leese, Mr. Matt Sadler and our present head teacher Miss Kelly Lickley from 2022, who, with the staff, is looking forward to many more successes and happy years for the generations of tomorrow.