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Wiltshire Community History

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Mere - Duchy Manor Middle School, Mere

When the British and Church of England schools merged in 1922 the buildings of the church school became Mere Senior School accommodating children from 11 to 14 years. A new school was promised in 1938 but plans for this were interupted by the Second World War. In 1944 the school became Mere Secondary Modern School and children who passed the 11+ examination went to Gillingham Grammar School in Dorset. The school at Mere was still in the old National School building and the Grove Building, on either side of Barton Lane, with a mobile classroom in the churchyard. In 1947 children continued at school until they were 15 as the school leaving age was raised nationally. The new school, promised in 1938, finally came into being in the 1960s. A site was leased from the Duchy of Cornwall and the foundation stone laid in 1964.

The school was in use from September 1965 and was officially opened in July 1966. As it was on Duchy land it was named Duchy Manor Secondary School and was well equipped and possessed extensive playing fields. A swimming pool was built with money from the Town Swimming Pool Fund and other contributors. In 1972 the schools in this area were reorganised into a three tier system and the school became a middle school for children aged from 9 to 13 years. At 13 they transferred to the comprehensive school at Gillingham. The school has extensive grounds and good external facilities and in 1992 a new first school was built on the site and the younger children from the first school in Dark Lane moved there. By 1995 there were 183 children at the school and this had increased to 200 by 2002.

In 2003 the education system is changing again and is reverting to two tiers. Mere First School is becoming a primary school, and from September 2004 will take children aged from 4 to 11 years, while Duchy Manor Middle School will cease to exist in July 2004 and all children aged 11 and over will travel to school in Gillingham. The middle school buildings will be used by the new primary school.
 

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Duchy Manor Middle School, Mere
 
Duchy Manor Middle School, MereImage Date: 2003
Image Details: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham
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Duchy Manor Middle School, Mere
 
Duchy Manor Middle School, MereImage Date: 2003
Image Details: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham
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