PHOTO UNAVAILALE
 

"He founded and endowed the schools called The Bain's Town Free Day School."


These words are part of the inscription on a plaque on the southern walls of the Church of St. Agnes. John Woodcock was a Rector of this church during the years 1848 to 1851. He was greatly interested in the intellectual as well as the spiritual advancement of the people in the area and worked among them with great enthusiasm until his death in 1851. The Bain's Town Free Day Schools referred to above are the St. Agnes' Day School and the Woodcock School, named in his honour. The latter was situated in the northeast corner of the site presently occupied by the Woodcock Primary School, known previously as Western Preparatory No. II.

After the death of Rev. John Woodcock, the schools continued to operate. The teachers were paid from a fund left by him. This fund was almost exhausted around the 1920's. Fortunately at this time, the then Board of Education saw the necessity for controlling and also extending education to accommodate the ever increasing school population. Due to Prohibition in the United States, money began to pour into the Colony and the Education grant was increased. This enabled the Board to secure a lease on the property and a Board of Education school was then established, still maintaining the name "Woodcock". This school was operated as an annex to the Junior School then situated on Hospital Lane, near Dillet Street, until 1949 when it was abolished and Preparatory School was established - hence Western Preparatory No. II, still more widely known as Woodcock School.

 
       

The building was then in a dilapidated condition and it became necessary for the school to remain closed during inclement weather. This, coupled with the immediate need for expansion, forced the Government to purchase the property and erect a larger building. The land was acquired from St. Agnes Church for £10,000. This money was invested and the returns used to aid the other existing day school left by Rev. John Woodcock, the St. Agnes' Day School.

Upon acquisition of the land, Government demolished the old building and erected the present one. In November 1961, at the formal opening, Mrs. M. C. Walker, the headteacher, named it `The John Woodcock Infant School.' The Education Department maintained the name Western Preparation No. II. However, the name "Woodcock" was well established and the public continued to use it.

Because of Rev. Woodcock's great contribution to the advancement of education in the Colony, especially among blacks, it was important that his name be maintained and attached to the school he founded and endowed - hence the name `Woodcock Primary School'.

It is interesting to note that before the Board of Education gained control of the Woodcock School, evening classes for all types of education were conducted intermittently. The Dundas Civic Centre originated at this school.