The first Parish School in Upton was probably located in a room in Hall Hill Cottage, opposite Upton Hall. A new School was constructed in Rake Lane in 1852, it was built of brick with a slate roof and had arched windows facing on to Rake Lane and at either end of the building. It appears that an extension was added to the school, possibly to accommodate the library and reading room which was opened around 1854.

The Former Rake Lane School in 1999

The new school had accommodation for 40 children but by the late 1850's it was becoming overcrowded. A new school was built in 1869 next to St Mary's Church. This was designed to take 86 children.

A parents' association was formed in 1929, its first meeting being held on 26th June 1929. In the same year, children over the age of 11 transferred to West Kirby, this involved 5 boys and 7 girls. A new heating system, to replace the coal fires, was installed in 1930 at a cost of £80-15-0, of which Birkenhead Education Committee paid £20.

The Former St Mary's School in 1999

By 1933 there where 118 pupils on the roll, to correct the overcrowding pupils over the age of 11 were transferred to West Kirky or Tolemache Road. The following year, children over 10 where transfered to Bidston Avenue, this brought the roll down to 89.

Although plans had been drawn up in 1926 for expanding the school, funding was not available from the Diocesan Schools Association for carrying out the work. So the managers, at their meeting on 3rd May 1935, discussed closing the school, there where four main reasons for closure:

  • Overcrowding
  • Unsuitability for modern requirements
  • Inability to secure finance for enlargement
  • Expected ongoing cost of repairs and alterations to existing building

the managers,however, decided to defer any action until after the meeting of the Diocesan Association, to be held on 13th June

The next meeting of the management committee was held on 23rd July 1935 where it was reported that a letter had been received from the Diocesan Association asking that the plan to close the school be postponed, and that the managers consider rebuilding the schools as an alternative to closure. The management committee replied stating that they had thoroughly investigated the options, but could not provide the finance. They would, however, delay taking any action until September to give the Diocesan Association the opportunity to offer the necessary finance.

On the 22nd November 1935, no reply having been received from the Diocesan Association, the managers resolved to send the necessary notices to the Department of Education to close the school as soon as possible.

As the school was due to close in June 1937, and a new school could not be built in time, an agreement was drawn up in April 1937 by which Birkenhead Corporation would take over tenancy of the school buildings at an annual rent of £100 per annum.

Overchurch School in 1999

Overchurch school was built in Moreton road and opened in 1938. The last pupils left St Mary's school in July 1938 and Birkenhead Corporation paid £50 delapidations. The final meeting of the School Managers took place on 24th November 1938, at which the management of the old school buildings was handed over to the Church Council

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