Covington Board School
After nearly ten years of indecision and delays, Covington Board School commenced on 6 November 1876, 140 years ago. The school was opened as a response to the 1870 Forster Education Act with the express purpose of educating the rural poor. The rector, the Rev. Robert Lancaster Watson (previously headmaster of Kimbolton School) was instrumental in getting a schoolroom built for the children of Covington and he was a very proactive Chairman of the Board right up until his death in 1892. In 1902, due to Government frustration with the generally inadequate standard of rural schools, Covington Board School joined all other elementary schools in being taken over by the newly formed LEAs, in this instance Huntingdonshire Education Committee. The school was then renamed Covington Council School and was governed by 'managers' instead of a 'board'. Ultimate decisions were taken by the Committee. After a 'near miss' in February 1905, the school closed on 6 August 1920 with only four children on roll. The closure was on condition that the school would reopen whenever the number of pupils in the village made it viable, and this was the case during WW2, numbers of village children being augmented by an influx of evacuees. The school closed for good on 30 April 1943.
And what of Covington School today? It has a new lease of life as the centre of village activities - not just for children but for the whole community. It was the village community that came together in the 1990s to renovate, extend and adapt the building to be a meeting place, a place for celebrations, fund-raising and entertainment, and somewhere for people to learn new skills or share old ones - just as in the Rev. Watson's time 140 years ago.