IIn 1699 the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge had been founded and this Society encouraged parishes to support local schools to “improve the morals of the poor and prevent the spread of subversive views”. The first evidence of a school in the village is 1720 and this was most certainly held in the church.
This situation continued until 1831 when the parish agreed to give £10 a year to provide a room in addition to the church and the Rector, Dr William Pearson agreed to continue giving the schoolmaster(Richard Sharp from Naseby)£10 a year on condition that 10 poor children a year were given free education. (This charity still exists today - the money being given to the school ).
The school was now affiliated to the National Society and this enabled Dr Pearson in 1834 to apply for a grant to build a school for not less than 45 boys and 35 girls aged from 7 to 13. 28 of these were ‘paupers’ taught for free, the others paid a trifle a week. The new school was to be “erected in a gravel pit belonging to the parish now worked out and lately let for a cabbage garden”. There were to be two schoolrooms, one for boys and one for girls and William Pearson proposed to build a schoolhouse, at his own expense, for the schoolmaster or mistress. He also provided two privies, a pantry, a coal house, gates and fencing. He left a bequest of £200, the interest to be paid to the school forever.
By 1851 the pupil numbers had risen and 66 children were sometimes being taught in the church to help with overcrowding. A new schoolroom was needed to accommodate 90 children and the brickwork was to include “black headers of Nuneaton brick to be worked in the approved pattern” so distinctive on the school today. After securing funding and donations from various sources the new building was opened on December 2nd1851 at a cost of £207 -12s -9d. A beam in this building marks the event. “ Anno Domini 1851” on one side and “The fear of the lord is the beginning of knowledge” on the other. The school bell dates from this time too.
In 1858 the schoolmaster’s house was rebuilt using the same brick patterning as the main school, incorporating the dates. Children now remained at school until they were 14.
In 1880 education became compulsory for children up to 10 and in 1891 it was free for 5-14 year olds so another new infant classroom was needed (this is the current library).
In 1908 the school became known as South Kilworth Church of England school with 52 mixed older children and 24 infants.
When Miss Cooper became headteacher in 1919 she asked if one of the windows in the house could be raised so that the children could not see in. This was not done but the managers agreed to replace the windows with frosted glass and later it was bricked up. Now it is the place of a mosaic created by the children to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the school and representing the tree of life emerging from the book of knowledge.
In 1925 the infant room was converted into a garage for the headteacher’s Austin 7 at her own expense.
In 1928 the adjoining field was bought for £100.
In 1929 children aged 11 and over transferred to Lutterworth Central School so the numbers in the school fell dramatically bringing into question whether it should remain open.
During the Second World War 14 evacuee children arrived - 13 from London and 1 from Hull. (5 juniors and 9 infants).
In 1952 there was an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in the farm opposite and as all the cattle had to be slaughtered in the field, it was decided to close the school for the day so that the children would not witness it.
In 1953 mains water was laid to the school. Previously water had been drawn from a well in the grounds (a pump was added during World War 2).
In 1984 the schoolhouse was changed into an infant classroom as the new headteacher did not want to live in it. This created office space upstairs. Previously the secretary had worked in a corner of the main classroom!
1990 saw the introduction of school uniform with the logo of an oak tree.
1998 new playground apparatus was installed after much fundraising from parents and the Kilworth Challenge and a few months later the first Ofsted inspection took place.
2001 saw the 150th anniversary of the main school and several projects were undertaken including the restoration of the pump and a peace garden and a special service was held in the church.
In 2009 major building works took place. The infant room was extended (at the time called the garden room), a new classroom was added to the main building and a log cabin was built in the garden for the youngest children.
Recently the addition of the Woodland Hall has meant that the school no longer uses the village hall for P.E. lessons, assemblies, lunches and many other events.
Over the years there have been many problems to contend with - the boiler, the toilets, bees and proposed mergers with North Kilworth. The school has closed for epidemics such as whooping cough, measles, influenza and chickenpox. There were days off for royal events, flower shows, feast days, elections and snow! During the war children had weeks off to help with farm work and crop gathering. As the salary of the headteacher depended on good attendance, days off were not good news!
The church has always played a great part in the development of the school from its early days when William Pearson was its benefactor and it is still at the heart of the village.
As it continues to grow so will the children as they follow the school motto :
“Tall oaks from little acorns grow”.