Deri Primary School is based at the centre, and is the heart of the small village of Deri in the Darran Valley.
The school first opened its doors in 1904, with the village proudly celebrating its centenary in 2004.
But Deri Primary wasn't the first school in Deri.
The original schools in Deri were the 'National School' (where St Peter's church stands today) which opened in 1865, and the rival ''British School'(Mill Road), which opened in 1869.
When the 'National School' closed, all children attended the 'British School', but by the turn of the 20th century, the village had grown. Many people were moving to Deri from all over the country in order to find work in the coal mines. The new colliery at Groesfaen would be sunk within a few years. The old school was too small and needed serious repairs. Therefore, a new school was built at Glynmarch Street in 1903 and the school log book records the opening in 1904
The Opening of the Deri Mixed School
"The formal opening of the new mixed school took place during the afternoon.
The ceremony was performed by Reverand T.J.Jones M.A., the rector of Gelligaer and Rural Dean, who was presented with a gold mounted key by Mr.D.Morgan the schools architect.
A procession from the old school was formed,in which the visiting managers,teachers and friends, with the school children and parents,headed by the Deri Brass Band, took part.
Subsequent to the opening ceremony, the children were allowed to inspect the new buildings and were afterwards marched back to the old school premises where tea was supplied for them."
(This comment appeared in the local newspaper a couple of months after the opening)
The New Tredegar, Bargoed and Caerphilly Journal
"We learn that the new schools at Deri are appreciated by the parents of the village.
What a thing it is to be up to date in the matter of educational accommodation.
We feel a bit sorry though, still for the infants, poor dears, who have to put up with the old school which is badly lighted and void of a proper system of ventilation.
Gelligaer managers, please note!!
The Darran Explosion.1909:
Just a few years after the school opening, tragedy struck the village when there was a terrible explosion at the Darran colliery. These are the log book entries for 1909.
October 29th 1909:
The explosion at the local colliery,the Darran Pit, which occured at 4:30am, seriously affected the attendance of the school today. Only 56% of the children being present.
November 3rd 1909:
No school held in the afternoon of this day. Funerals of the victims of the explosion took place this afternoon. People took a special train from Deri to Hengoed.
Of the 27 that were killed in the tragedy, 5 died trying to rescue others. Four of them received the King's Medal for Bravery.
World War 1 and the School
The war affected many families in the village. Some men left their jobs and enlisted. Some of these were teachers in the school, as the log book shows.
Thomas Walters CA, was absent from school today. He attended at Cardiff for a medical examination under military service act.
William J Forward, terminates duties to proceed to serve in the 21st Royal Welsh Fusiliers under Lord Derby's recruiting scheme.
The school was closed today on the occasion of visit by a "tank" to Bargoed.
There was no school held during the afternoon session owing to local celebrations upon the occasion of the Armistice.
In the years between WW1 and WW2, the school numbers were high when compared to today. In 1928, 338 pupils attended the school. However, the twenties and thirties were times of great poverty in the valleys. Many school children went to the soup kitchens in the Institute for breakfast and dinner during the 1926 strike. The children were fed there, so, at least their parents could afford to buy at home. Mrs Vera Blow remembers:
"Children in school used to line up in the school if they needed new shoes or boots. Special grants were available for any pupils who couldn't afford uniform, if they had passed their exams to go to Grammar Schools"
World War 2 and the School
These are some of the things that the school headmaster wrote in his log book:
4th September 1939:
Due to the fact that war has been declared on Germany, school did not open this morning, and will remain closed for a week.
10th June 1940:
36 evacuated children came from Sheerness with 2 teachers
17th September 1940:
Air raid warning. 10:00am-10:30am and 14:00pm-14:30pm
18th September 1940
Air raid warning. 10:00am-10:30am
10th October 1940:
Received blackout materials
9th June 1941
65 evacuated scholars from Cardiff
4th June 1943
Mr Lawrence, one of our teachers, organised the "Wings For Victory" week and the school collected £772 and 8 shillings
8th May 1945
The end of the war was announced last evening. No children presented themselves at school this morning.
1945: The frist school meals in Deri
Mrs Dolly Bute used to work in the canteen and remembers the introduction of school dinners in Deri Juniors in February 1945.
"The hall was full with tables, and two classrooms were used aswell. The infants school got dinners in August 1945. Mr.I.Rees used to transport them down from the 'top' school in his horse and cart. Two of the kitchen staff would go down early to lay the tables."
1951: Change of age at the school:
Up to now, many pupils had stayed at Deri School until they were aged 14, unless they had "passed scholarship" to go to the Grammar schools at Bargoed, Pengam or Hengoed.
Now with thechange ...once at the age of 11, all the children left Deri, some to go to the Secondary Modern Schools in Bargoed, others to Bargoed Grammar School or either Lewis Boys School in Pengam, Or Lewis Girls School in Hengoed.
1955: Amalgamation of the infant and junior schools.
The old infant school in Mill Road closed down, and all the children in Deri then went to the school in Glynmarch Street. In that year, there were 201 children attending the school
1973: End of 11plus:
No more 11Plus !!. When leaving top juniors at Deri, all children now went to Heolddu Comprehensive School in Bargoed.
Please come back soon for more history on our school !!!