Tuesday, March 13, 2007

THE HISTORY OF ST.AIDAN'S SCHOOL


The school was officially opened by the Yang Di Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan




(The above scanned articles were taken from the very rare "follow the gleam" yearbook of 1965.The first of only 3 year books ever published by the school.We have also extracted the text and are publishing it in its original nature, below) Click on each image above to enlarge it

HISTORY OF ST. AIDAN'S SCHOOL 1958 - 1965
The people of Bahau had for many years wanted an English Medium School. Requests to Government did not seem to meet with much response. A group of people in town therefore got together and formed themselves into a Committee - the Bahau English School Fund Committee and went about raising money so that they could build their own school.

The Rev. T. M. Oliver, who used to visit his friends in Bahau, was approached by members of this Committee and asked if the Church would be prepared to start a school. After examining the situation, the Rev. Oliver recom­mended to the Bishop that an English School should be built.
The then Diocesan Secretary for Anglican Schools, Canon Dr. D.D. Chelliah, discussed the project with the then Chief Education Officer, Mr. S. Thambiah and Officials of the Ministry of Education and finding that the Government was prepared to support the school, plans were finalised.

Monday 16th December 1957 was therefore a milestone in the development of Bahau when the Venerable Archdeacon of Singapore laid the foundation stone of St. Aidan'; School. The historic occasion was witnessed by a distinguished crowd of people who then adjourned for tea to the Malayan Chinese Association.

The three months prior to the laying of the foundation stone were indeed very busy months. Rev. Oliver was given the job of finding a Headmaster and one or two teachers who would be prepared to be pioneers in the field of English Education in Bahau.

Mr. Lionel van Geyzel, retired Headmaster of the Government English School, Port Dickson, agreed to become the Headmaster; Mr. Devadas Dorairaj, a teacher at the Anglo-Chinese School, Seremban, volunteered to serve at the new school.

A public announcement was made in Bahau that an English School would be opened and that parents with children born in 1950 and 1951 who wished to send them to an English School could register at 16, Main Road, Bahau, the residence of our Board Treasurer, Mr. Lee Poh Seong, on the Saturdays of 16th September 28th, October 5th and 12th.

In November, Mr. Van Geyzel decided to decline the Headship of the new school. The Rev. Oliver was in a quandry; he finally approached Mr. David Gunaratnam who was teaching at the Anglo-Chinese School, Seremban, and fortunately Mr. Gunaratnam agreed.

It must have been indeed quite an experience for him. There were 140 children who had to start school in early January 1958 - just two months away. There was only one teacher; three more had to be employed - Miss Lu Fang from Kuala Pilah, Miss Lily Sundersingh from Bahau Estate and Miss Janet Lim from Bahau. Two classes, Standard 2 Express, were held at the Malayan Chinese Association building, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. A creche on Taisho Estate was used morning and afternoon for another two classes, Standard 3 Express. The Headmaster, Mr. Gunaratnam had his office at 16 Main Road and had therefore to do his work at three places!
The School was officially opened on 29th November 1958 by his Highness the Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan and dedicated by the Rt. Rev. H. W. Baines, the then Lord Bishop of the Diocese, The cost of $100,000' was met from a Government Grant of $80,000, $4,000 each from the Dunlop Malayan Estates Ltd., Guthries and Harrison & Crosfield, $4,000 each from the Indian and Chinese Communities.

The first batch of candidates were presented in November 1961. These were pupils born in 1949, admitted to school in January 1958 when St. Aidan's began and who completed the six year ordinary course in four years, so that they could be of the right age for the promotion examination; 75 out of 102 pupils gained promotion to Form One.

The 1962 candidates did the six year primary course in 5 years. Once again the promotion pass was above seventy percent. The attainment continued in the last year of this public exam in 1963, our first group of pupils to do the primary school course in the proper time.

SECONDARY SCHOOL. To cater for our 75 pupils who gained promotion to Form One in January 1962, our first Secondary classes were started. In 1963 and 1964, the Secondary classes progressed to Forms Two and Three. The first set of candidates for the Lower Certificate of Education Examination in 1964 obtained a 65% Pass.
The foundation stone of the Secondary School was laid by the Rt. Rev. S. K. Sansbury on 5th September 1961. An administrative block, toilets and six classrooms were built in 1962 as the first phase of the Secondary School at a cost of $75,000 from a Government Grant of $60,000 and $15,0(}0 Parents' Donation to Building Fund. Unfortunately, plans for development into a full Secondary School had to be shelved in 1964 due to the building of a new Lower Secondary School under the Government's Comprehensive Education System. We record our gratefulness to the Dunlop Malayan Estates Ltd. for a grant of 57,500 towards the Secondary School Development.

As St. Aidan's was not going to be allowed to develop into a full Secondary School, our Form Three graduands had to go elsewhere for their Upper Secondary Education.

The abolition of the Secondary Continuation School System at the end of 1964, resulted in the integration of their 4 classes with our secondary classes in January 1965.
In the successful life of St. Aidan's School over the past seven years, thanks be to God for the dedication and guidance given by His faithful servant, Padre Oliver, the keen interest shown by all those who have served on the Board of Managers, for the farsightedness and good foundations laid by its first Headmaster, Mr. David Gunaratnam, for the service that the teachers have given and for the wonderful support from the parents and people of Bahau.

January 10th 1966, the opening of the school for the new year, would begin a fresh page in the history of our school, the march to develop St. Aidan's into one of the finest Primary Schools in the countrt•.Our beloved Chairman, Padre Oliver retires in June 1966 and Bahau will bid farewell to the man who was instrumental in bringing English Education to them - The Founder of St.Aidan's School.



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