A Brief History

The school originally opened on the 4th January 1892 as Rough Close National Elementary School with a total of 18 pupils all being taught by the headteacher, Miss Elizabeth Sharratt. The school was located in the upper floor of the original church was located in the corner of the present playground. It served the local village and church community. On the Friday of the first week the school was closed due to severe snowstorms. The first subjects to be taught were art, needlework, English and geography.

During the first five years the school had seven different headteachers. It was the fourth headteacher, Miss Mary Dale, who suggested a new school should be built with a good water supply. She had already replaced the stained glass windows with clear glass to create more light.

The new school was built and officially opened on the 18th November 1896. The number on roll was constantly fluctuating because of the gypsy encampments on the Common opposite the school. In 1904 a school inspector reported that the pupils should stop using slate and write on paper. During the winter months school often closed early as it was too dark as the school had no artificial lighting. In 1913 Miss Grace Moore became the headmistress and she remained until 1944. The First World War had little impact on the school. But in 1939 when the Second World War broke out the school didn’t reopen until the 9th October. Children younger than seven years old had to stay at home. Numbers on roll began to change with evacuees moving into the area. Plans were made to evacuate the village children to the Lake District if bombs came too close to the area. The school had its own air raid shelter built. Each day the children practiced putting on their gas masks and also Cover Drill.

The school was modernised in 1950 and extensions were added in 1972, 1990 and 1996. The school celebrated its centenary in spring 1992 when the clocks were turned back and life as it was in 1892 was recreated including dress, lessons and playground games. Mr Griffin was appointed in 1995 after being promoted from deputy. In September 2002 it was decided to change the name of the school to St Matthew’s. This was because the boundary separating Staffordshire from the unitary authority of Stoke on Trent meant the village the school was named after was in Staffordshire. It was also noticeable that this was one of the few Church schools without a saint’s name even though it had a church attached.

The school became an academy and part of the St Chad’s Academy Trust on 1st November 2013. In 2014, Mrs Yynda Thomas became Principal, replacing Mr Griffin upon his retirement.

From September 2016, the school undertook a new leadership structure; A newly appointed Executive Principal: Mr Mitchell, and Head of School: Mrs Mountford.