A HISTORY OF THE ALLEYNE SCHOOL
To sow the early seed of virtue in the minds of youth.
To improve the resent and to benefit future generations
These words symbolized the intention of Sir John Gay Alleyne (1724-1801)benefactor and founder of The Alleyne School formerly known as the Seminary and are found inscribed in a tablet, which adorns the Hall of theschool in Belleplaine, St. Andrew.
The Honourable H. A. Vaughan in an article dated 18th November, 1970, stated interalia that Sir John Gay Alleyne deserved to be remembered as much for what he did as for what he was - an aristocrat who inherited two estates in St. Andrew - Bawdens and the River; an astute politician being a dynamic speaker of the House of Assembly for thirty (30) consecutive years and above all, an outstanding Barbadian who rendered sterling service to his country both in and out of the House of Assembly.
The Seminary later know as The Alleyne School was founded in 1785 as a result of Alleynes care and concern for the poor white boys of the parish. It must be noted here that this gesture was quite in order and acceptable given the thought patterns of social conditions which permeated society at that time
The first Headmaster of the School was the Reverend R.C. Rock who was a Curate of the St. Simons Chapel in St. Andrew and consequently all Headmasters were attached to that chapel for the simple reason that this complemented their incomes. The Civil List of Barbados 1879 on Page Ulay indicates the following facts about the Seminary. The total number of boys on roll was 15; the Headmaster's Salary 71 pounds, 10 shillings and 8 pence; capitation fees 15 pounds. In addition, he was given a house, 61 acres of land and 36 pounds, 9 shillings and 3 pence from the endowment.
Such was the origin of the Alleyne School. It is not recorded when the first coloured boy entered the school but there is historical evidence to suggest that by the end of the nineteenth century there were coloured boys in the roll of the school.
Immediately after Emancipation in 1838 there was renewed interest by the established churches in educating the liberated Negro population and the Seminary also witnessed an increase in the number of students though not significantly.
Little else is recorded in the annals of the history of the Seminary between the intervening years but by 1874, the Board of Education in Barbados had sought to upgrade the existing schools in the island. The Mitchinson Report of 1875 recommended that the Seminary at St. Andrew be established as a secondary school and that the endowment of Sir John Gay Alleyne be devoted partly to the fabric fund and partly to the maintenance of the Headmaster. It also recommended that all pupils who attended school should pay school fees.
On 1st October, 1880, a document laid in the House of Assembly stated interalia The School shall be called The Alleyne School and for the present shall be established on the premises now known as the Seminary, with powers to the Governors should they deem it expedient to transfer the school hereafter to some new site with the approval of the Education Board.
It shall be a Boys School of the Second Grade - a day School - with permission from the Headmaster to take Boarders at his own risk, subject to the General regulation and control of the Governing Body.In 1881, the Alleyne school was established as a Government Grammar School at the Secondary Grade and it has remained so ever since.
By the turn of the early twentieth century social and economic factors impacted heavily on the management and administration of the Alleyne School. In addition, to the Foundation Scholarship, there were Vestry scholarships and according to statistical data recorded in the minutes of the Governors meetings there were also about six Bryant Scholarships which were awarded to the poor children of St. Andrew. These scholarships continued until 1962 when free secondary education was introduced in all Government Schools. Very little is recorded about the progress of the school until the second decade of this century when the Rev. Reginald Barrow succeeded Mr. Crawford as headmaster. At that time the roll was only six boys but when Rev. Barrow left in 1919 the roll had increased to 37 boys. In addition to that, Mr. Barrow had started a private division for girls about 20 in number and these were taught by Mrs. Ruth ONeale Barrow, a former student of Queens College.
The First Claim
Worthy of note also is the fact that the capital amount of 641 pounds, 6 pence. Was the original Bawden Annuity bequeathed to the Foundation Fund dated 1783. The first claim on the Plantation carried a 6% interest payable on 23rd December of each year thereafter. In all cases monies allocated to the school was controlled in large measure by the Board of Governors. A listing of the Personnel making up the Governing Body of the Alleyne School in 1929 reads as follows:
1. Rev. N.E. Sash (Chairman) ex-officio member
2. Mr. J.M. Williams (Treasurer) Vestry Member
3. Mr. D.R. Gill, Education Board Representative
4. Dr. F.N. Grannum, Education Board Representative
5. Rev. L.C. Mallalieu, Member in place of the House of Assembly representative for the parish
6. Mr. M.M. Davis, Member in place of House Assembly representative for the parish.
The Headmaster, Mr. J.S.C. Howard who had given ten (10) year's service resigned on the 30th September 1929. The vacancy was advertised by the Board, who fixed the salary at 150 pounds per annum with capitation fees, a house and land. Mr. H.B. St. John was appointed Headmaster and continued in that position until 1946 when he joined the staff of Harrison College.
The St. John Era - Expansion and Success
The regime of Mr. H.B. St. John was characterized by rapid expansion in terms of size, scope and curriculum. Though not with an iron hand he ruled fearlessly. Students would well remember the times he went chasing after stray animals to the amusement of all present. On Wednesday, 15th November 1933 the Governing Body instructed the Secretary to include the
following note, which attested to Mr. St. Johns progress at the school. He wrote The Governing Body notes with pleasure, the great improvement, which has taken place in the school since Mr. H. St. John assumed the Headmastership.
In July 1939, the Alleyne School under Mr. St. John became the First Second Grade School in Barbados to produce a student - Alfred Blackett, who passed the Higher School Certificate Examination in one year. In 1941 a new Hall and four (4) classrooms were constructed on the same site. The school continued to flourish since then, as the Governing Body sought to rationalize and normalize the kind and quality of education provided at the school. They had advised Mr. St. John to introduce Bookkeeping as a subject on the curriculum but the Headmaster, while not objecting to its inclusion, objected to it being done throughout the school. A decision was made to make it as
an option to the satisfaction of all concerned.
Mr. St. John resigned from the Alleyne School around 1946 and he was succeeded by his assistant Mr. Darnley C. Cumberbatch who had served as an Assistant Master at the school from 1931.
Alleyne Becomes Co-Educational
After much lobbying and discussion by members of the Governing Body, especially the Rev. Canon Harvey Read, rector of the St. Andrews Parish Church, the Alleyne School became the first Government School to admit girls officially in January 1947. There were to be thirty in number but twenty eight (28) actually enrolled. Most of them have risen to the height of their chosen career and have made or are making their contribution both at home and abroad.
With the advent of girls the school progressed peacefully at a rapid rate. The physical landscape was definitely changed from a simple building to a larger block and the emergence of a Domestic Science and Needlework Room much to the delight of the male student population.
1961 saw the introduction of technical subjects for the boys only and the addition of a new building to the existing plant. This was a gift to the school through the United States Aid Programme. Thirty (30) years hence the school has progressed to such an extent that all students can choose any subject of their choice and there is no discriminating based on sex.
Prior to 2017 (as a government school) the Alleyne School took students to the 5th form (O-Levels). In 2017 the school was granted 6th form (A-Levels) status, bringing it in line with the larger schools like The Lodge School and Harrison College. This was a very proud moment for the school, the staff and the students.