Dunton County Primary School opened in early 1929 as a Council
school. Situated in Lower Dunton Road, it replaced a small church school that opened in 1843 in
the same road. This earlier school, which from 1870 to 1902 had come under the control of Dunton
School Board, though adequate for the time was later in need of repairs around six years after Essex Council
took over the running.
As a result of plotland development the population of Dunton
had been on the increase and conditions at the small existing council school were causing concern
to the education authority. So much so that in July 1927 sketch plans for a new council school for 100 pupils were announced. The
County Council estimated the cost to be £4,128. Around March of 1928 the Council accepted a tender
of £4,292 from Messrs. T.J. Bailey, builder & contractor of 82 Victoria Road, Chelmsford, for the
erection of a new school.
The new school was completed by 1929 but may not have fulfilled its original promise as
the Education Committee in 1932 invited tenders for "Additions and Alterations".
The old Dunton
Council School-House meanwhile was still in County Council ownership though in late April 1934 they were
accepting offers for its sale. Following its sale it became a private residence and now called
The Old School House.
In the 1950s the rural location of the school and the rise in traffic
along Lower Dunton Road was causing concern to parents who campaigned through the schools'
Teacher-Parent Association to the county council for a footway which was provided albeit on the
opposite side to the school. By the early 1960s this had worn out and become overgrown causing
the association to petition the council for a path to run from the caravan site to the school. Some
years later this path was eventually provided. Around this time the school's boiler broke down and
was replaced with a second-hand one.
Pupil numbers in the early 1960s were around 100 with
many now coming from the nearby caravan site established on the former Labour Farm Colony. By 1969
this figure had dropped to 64 perhaps caused in part by the development corporation's compulsory
purchase orders which forced home owners to vacate their properties in the more rural parts of
the schools' catchment area.
In March 1970 a blizzard hit Dunton and the school closed for
one and a half days as there was no heating. In the early 1960s the annual house championship
sports day was contested between Fryerns and Wayletts which by the late 1960s had changed to colours
like Red House.
A pair of concrete air raid shelters, built during the Second World War, were later demolished
in 1973 when cracks in the brickwork exposing the metal reinforcing deemed them unsafe. They had
been used as a storage facility and were replaced with a more modern building.
closed at the end of the summer term in July 1977. Following closure from September 1977 the school
became Dunton Secondary Tutorial Unit for pupils unable to cope in mainstream education. The unit
was still open in early 1988 and is believed to have closed at the end of the school year. The
Teacher-in-Charge, as the post was referred to, at this time was Mr C. Evans. The building was then
vacated and eventually sold. It is now a private residence called Dunton Grange.
Amongst the former
Headmasters/Headmistresses of the school were Mr Newman (1936 on) and previously
assistant headmaster at Craylands Senior Council School, Mrs M. Mason (Masonievic) (1950s-1960s)
who moved to the same post at Ghyllgrove Infants' School, Basildon, Mr John Massey (1960s-c.1971),
Mr Ralph Sibley (c.1971 on) and Mr M.J.J. Barbero (1970s).
Some former teachers were Miss Rose, Mr John Baguley
(deputy headmaster), Mr Crimp and Miss Watts.
The caretaker around the turn of the 1970s was Mr. Jack Nash of
217 Victoria Road, Laindon.