Early days




Architect's drawing of the school, 1909.

Architect’s drawing of the school, 1909.

Rockcliffe First School opened on 22nd June 1906 in temporary buildings on Rockcliffe Street, under the headship of Miss Ethel J. Browne. (This is probably what later became St. Cuthbert’s Mission Church and is now the Scout Hut/Rainbows Day Nursery.) It was known as Whitley Council South School but became two separate schools (with separate head teachers) in 1909. Construction of the present building began in 1910 and it was used for the first time on 1st May 1911. The official opening was on 10th May 1911. The head teachers were Mr Turnbull and Mrs Browne. The schools remained completely separate for fifty one years, until in April 1960 when, due to a decreasing child population, they were amalgamated to form Whitley Bay South Primary School.

The Infant School was on the lower floor and the Junior School upstairs. The Junior School actually catered for children up to school leaving age for many years, and children who did not pass a scholarship for the grammar school at the age of eleven would have remained here for the rest of their school careers.