St Michael's School Kerry
St. Michael’s is a Voluntary Aided Church in Wales Primary School located in the village of Kerry.
It was founded in 1868, enlarged in the 1980s and in 2000 a further extension was added. The accommodation now comprises five classrooms, including a spacious, well-equipped Reception class, a hall and library. The school also has substantial grounds, which include a garden area, outdoor learning area and conservation area.
Full details of the school can be found on their website, located at https://st-michaels.weebly.com/
This section, however, focuses more on the early history of the school and education in Kerry. Throughout its long history, education in Kerry has been closely associated with the church. The first recorded school in the village goes back to 1714, and owes its foundation to the vicar of the time, the Rev. John Catlyn. It is located in the imposing run of houses on the north side of The Square, opposite the Herbert Arms.
The early school was initially intended to teach up to 15 poor children ‘at the charity of the parish’, both in subjects associated with the Christian Religion, as well as other topics ‘as are suitable to their condition and capacity’. This continued throughout the 1700’s, with a Sunday School (perhaps the first in Wales) established in 1788, following a legacy of £3000, from Richard Jones of Black Hall. This charitable legacy was to be called The Black Hall Institution and the interest on this money was held in trust for the education, clothing and victualling poor children at the Kerry Charity School, and for the subsequent apprenticing of poor boys.
In 1817, the building of the School House was enlarged considerably, with all three floors being taken up by the School and extension towards the west end of the building. In 1823 there were 75 children attending the school with eight being clad through money from the Charity. By 1837, this had increased to 100 children attending the school.
In 1856, it was reported that the school was in a ‘ruinous and dangerous situation’. Clearly it had outgrown its accommodation, and the need for a completely new school was becoming apparent. It was however, not until later in the 1860’s that steps were taken to commence building the new school. The site, where the current school now exists, was given by the vicar, Rev. W. Morgan, and his curate Rev . W.G.Vernon undertook the task of raising the necessary funds. With £362 already promised, Mr John Naylor, generously met the majority of the remaining funds required – totalling just over £1600.
The new school opened in September 1868, and at the time was considered one of the best endowed and most efficiently managed school in the County, and one ‘that scarcely has its equal for the number of well-educated persons which it has sent forth into the world’.