1910 The Public Elementary Council School opened on 10th October, with Samuel Collins as the first headmaster. Born in about 1848 at Alverstoke, Gosport in Hampshire, Samuel Collins had previously worked as a school master in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. By 1877 he was working at The Essex Industrial School and home for Destitute Boys at Chelmsford. As a major in the Salvation Army, he became the school master at the colony school at Hadleigh in 1903.
The school opened with Mr. Collins and three teachers and, by the end of the first week, the school roll had risen to 201 ~ 67 infants and 137 juniors and seniors. The school was an elementary school providing education for children aged 5 to 12 years. In those days, children progressed through the school according to ability, not age. Slower children often spent two or more years at the same level. The building consisted of a hall and four classrooms.
1912 Mr. Collins retired at the age of 64 and was replaced by Mr. Henry Albert Davies, born in 1871 at Westbury in Shropshire. Prior to his appointment, Henry Davies had been working as the schoolmaster at the Public Elementary School at Barling in Essex. His wife Amelia was also a teacher.
1913 The school building was enlarged for 318 children, although the average attendance at this time was 250.
1916 Henry Davies resigned as headteacher.
1917 Henry Reginald Tutt took up his duties as headmaster in February. He was born on 21st August 1886 at Lower Halstow in Kent. The son of a labourer, by the age of 24 Henry was working as an assistant teacher and living in lodgings at Croydon. In 1915 he married Ada Corbett at Runcorn in Cheshire. They were to have four children, all of whom were born at Hadleigh. The Tutt family lived in the School House in The Avenue.
1918 The school leaving age was raised to 14 but, as there were no secondary schools in the area, pupils were educated in the elementary school.
1918 School meals were introduced, with the dining hall at the Salvation Army Colony being used. Nearly 200 children had dinners each day out of 260 children at the school.
1922 The first District Sports was held. About this time, the teachers agreed to a voluntary reduction in salary.
1924 The Church School merged with Hadleigh Public Elementary School in April, resulting in a school roll of 500.
1930 Although the school building was fitted with electric light, there was no other form of electricity.
1939 The outbreak of war led to the Infant School ~ whose headmistress was Miss N. Hersey ~ not opening in the Autumn Term. The children were educated in groups of seven in their houses. The junior and senior pupils were allowed to attend school, even though there were no air raid shelters.
1940 Brick air raid shelters were erected in April on the spare ground opposite the school in Church Road. During the Battle of Britain the children occasionally spent all day in the shelters with lessons continuing.
1940s In spite of continual raids, there was no serious damage to the building, although a bomb dropped during a night raid damaged some drains and part of the school house. No pupil was injured or killed by bombs, but a member of the Junior School staff was killed by a bomb in Rayleigh. The staff of both schools undertook fire watching duty at the school between the hours of 8pm and 7am.
1946 By this time the school layout was: the Infants School on the south side with an entrance in Church Road, the Juniors in the east wing, with the Senior pupils located in the west wing and in a large wooden annexe in the west playground. This building was mainly used as a woodwork centre. Cookery classes were held by Mrs. Murphy in what later became the school kitchen. The classroom next to the North Hall (later to be Mr. Layram’s classroom in the 1960s) was the science laboratory, equipped with a long bench with two sinks, eight gas-points for bunsen burners and two store cupboards. The two halls were used for assemblies, PE, country dancing and transformed into dining halls at midday. The food was cooked at Thundersley and delivered in metal containers. The playing field in The Avenue had not yet been acquired, so the annual Sports Day was held at the John Burrows Cricket Ground. There were 500 junior and senior pupils and 200 infants.
1949 Mr. E. C. Beaven was appointed headteacher of the school. Following Mr. Beaven’s illness and subsequent death, Miss Winifred Slowe, the deputy head, became acting headmistress. By this time the school ceased to have a senior section, with the opening of the Benfleet Secondary Modern School (later King John School) on 2nd May 1949.
1952 Mr. J. Denton was appointed as headmaster of the Junior School, a post he was to hold until his retirement 20 years later.
1953 Hadleigh Primary School was used to receive flood victims from the Canvey flood. Some 900 Canvey people passed through the school in the days after the flood, with as many as 350 sleeping there overnight.
1972 Retirement of Mr. Denton.