References in censuses indicate that there was some educational provision for the children of Stewkley in the first half of the 19C. However it was not until 1860 that the National School was founded to provide education for 200 children. It was a new brick building, erected on land opposite the church, the site being donated by the Bishop of Oxford. At one end was the schoolmaster´s house.
With increasing pupil numbers the building was enlarged in 1880 and the distinctive bellcote added. As the school leaving age was successively raised, further additions to the building took place. By the end of the 19C there were approximately 300 children on roll in the Infants and Mixed departments.
Until the village hall was built in 1925 the school was the only public building in the village except for the two chapels and the church. The rooms were often commandeered for events such as elections, funeral wakes, harvest teas, concerts, meetings and inspections.
WORLD WAR TWO
During the Second World War the school also accommodated evacuee children. At one point the numbers on roll more than doubled, from 136 to 300, as children from London schools arrived and classes had also to be held in other village buildings.
Up to 1945 the school provided their entire education for most village children but from that date it became solely a primary school and in 1977 moved to a new building off Chapel Square. The new school was named St Michael´s and the old school has been converted into dwellings.
The SLHG has written a detailed history of the school, see Publications Page.