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The Community Website for Walmer, near Deal, Kent

Walmer's Past
Leelands Girls School
Leelands School in the mid-1920's

In June 2011, Mrs Denise Smith contacted WalmerWeb to explain that she had discovered some old local school reports dating from 1925, 1926 and 1927 in a large amount of old documentation from a farm sale. They charted the academic progress of a young Daphne Travers in her first years of attending Leelands School in Upper Walmer.

From the school reports it would seem that Daphne started at the school in the Autumn of 1925, age 5. The Principals are shown as a Miss Belshaw and Miss Taylor and - together with a teacher M. Poad - they were clearly impressed by her aptitude for a surprisingly wide range of subjects. The curriculum for Daphne's first term features arithmetic, reading, writing, history, geography, scripture, English, nature, singing, elocution, eurythmics and drill, dancing, handwork and drawing and there are reports on her conduct.

A year later, Daphne, now in "Form I", was still achieving "Very Good" comments for most of her subjects, now under the care of several other teachers named as G. Willson, G. Harris and M. Temple. By the fourth report - for July 1927 - Daphne was taking a couple less subjects but still achieving "Good" and "Very Good" assessments. If a note on the final report is correct it seems that her class size was fairly small with only 10 pupils in Form I.

The wide range of subjects offered and the small class sizes at Leelands in the mid-1920s provide an interesting contrast to today's primary school provision.
Description of Leelands School in 1934
Description of the Leelands School in 1934.
CLICK on the image for a larger version.

Attempts to discover if Daphne or her relatives were still resident locally failed, so it has not been possible to "re-unite" the documents with the Travers family. It is intended to offer the original documents to Deal Library for possible inclusion in their reference section.

Copies of Daphne Travers school reports can be seen as a downloadable PDF file.
Leelands girls’school occupied a variety of premises in Walmer and evacuated to Benenden School during World War II. Following the war it took over the empty St Clare boys' school premises in Grams Road, Upper Walmer, but closed in 1986. For more on St Clare School, see St Clare history.

Leelands School in the early-1960s

Freya Chaudhry contacted WalmerWeb in August 2014 and provided the following acount of her time as a pupil at Leelands School in the 1960s.

"I attended Leelands School in Grams Road during the early 1960s, so was interested to read about Daphne Travers in the 1920s. Miss Taylor and Miss Belshaw were still in post when I started at the school in September 1960. They were in their '70s, and they retired in about 1962.

"It was a private prep school and catered for day and boarding pupils - mostly girls with a few boys in the kindergarten. During the war it moved to Benenden and had a close associaition with Benenden Girls public school. Many of the girls moved on at 12 or 13 to Benenden after taking their Common Entrance exam (myself included).

"I have fond memories of the school - it was particularly strong on encouraging a love of books. We used to compete with each other to see who could take out and read most books from the school library which had a really excellent selection. The boarders were read to every night in the headmistress' sitting room by Miss Taylor. We assembled there in our dressing gowns in two groupings - younger girls first and older girls afterwards. The books included titles such as Beau Geste* and The Four Feathers** - which were read in instalments. Also instead of playtime after our midday lunch we would sit in silence in the hall reading our library books.

"We had a very good education there - I was studying Latin at 10-years-of-age and reading Shakespeare and George Elliot at 11-years. We also swam throughout the year; sometimes in the sea but mostly in the Marines' swimming pool. Also we had a roller skating rink and we all kept our roller skates at school. So we were well catered for both academically and in terms of sports facilities.

"I did not enjoy my time at Benenden school half as much as the halycon days spent at Leelands. Miss Belshaw and Miss Taylor created a really effective and happy school for girls up to the age of 13. After they left it wasn't the same."

Freya says she would be happy to hear from any other former pupils. To e-mail her

* Beau Geste - the 1924 adventure novel by P. C. Wren.
** The Four Feathers - the 1902 adventure novel by A. E. W. Mason.

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      This page was updated on September 26, 2015