The history of education in St. Andrews, New Brunswick began shortly after the history of the town itself, which was settled by the Penobscot Loyalists around about 1783.
The earliest school were established by Anglican societies before the 1800 under the auspices of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.
Mr. Samuel J Andrews, son of the rector, was appointed in 1787 to teach in St. Andrews. He was replaced in 1791 by James Berry who had been teaching in Campobello in 1790. An Ebenesser Hugbee is mentioned at having moved from St. Stephen to become schoolmaster and catechist at St. Andrews. In 1818 Albert Robison was school master and in 1823 George Millar was the school master.
These early S.P.G Schools were established to teach writing, elementary arithmetic, instructions emphasing religious purposes, reading. A license from the Lord Bishop of London was required for schoolmasters coming to New Brunswick from the Mother Country to teach in schools fostered by the Society for the Propagation of the Gopsel.
New England Society Indian School at the close of the American Revolution for the society (for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England and the Parts Adjacent) concentrated on the redemption of the Indians of New Brunswick from Roman Cathelocish, migratory habits and illiteracy. The recent trials of the Loyalists might have been expected to arouse their pity for the plight of the Indians upon whose hunting grounds they were encroaching. When this consideration was added the willingness of the Society to spend money on the Indian Schools in New Brunswick, thereby adding a number of administrative jobs for several prominent members of the official class, a scheme for the improvement and education of the Indians appeared in the light of a duty and an opportunity. Such a school was established in St. Andrews but the venture apparently met with little success and was unpopular with the Indians. These schools were abolished in the province in 1794.
The Parish Schools act of 1802 marked the beginning of the public school system of New Brunswick. The act granted ten pounds to each parish for the purpose of encouraging and assisting the schools in several parishes. Such schools were established in the parish and of St. Andrews.
The Abstract of Returns of the Inspection of Grammar and Parochial schools of New Brunswick 1844-1845” lists twelve teachers in St. Andrews parish schools with six hundred and five boys and girls on the rolls, only two hundred and ninety one of whom were present on the day of the inspection.
Madras School existing concurrently with the parish schools was a “Madras School” under the auspices of the National Society for the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church. The first Madras School in Charlotte County was in St. Andrews in 1820 and under the supervision of the Rev. James Alley, in 1823 George Millar took over as master and his wife opened a girls department. In July 1824 the Madras School had twenty four children attending and it is believed to have been located on William Street St. Andrews.
Moving schools in 1805 “An Act for Encouraging the Extending Literature in the Prinvice” resulted in the establishment of the so called “Moving Schools” which were to travel from parish to parish within each county spending six months in each. An entry in the Journal of Court of General Sessions of the Peace for April 13, 1805, records the drawing of lots among the parishes of Charlotte County to see which would get the appropriation first. St. Stephen and St. Andrews won the draw. St. Andrews to establish and keep its school for six months in the upper part of the parish.
Private Schools many were established James Berry kept a school in his home for the instruction of boys for this he charged ten shillings per quarter for older students and eight shillings per quarter for the younger students. Also a man by the name of McCartney is recorded as having held classes for which he received in addition to the fees, one cord of firewood from the families of each student.
The wife of Charles Joseph Briscoe was also rumored to have kept a private school after her husband’s death. A Miss Spriggott is reported to have held a young ladies school in here home on Water Street. She taught reading, writing and needlework. A Polly Wiggins held a private school in her home. A school for Roman Catholic children was held on King Street near the home of Mr. Frank Grimmer and around 1872 a school (public) was held in the Wallace MacLean house.
Miss Alice Stinson was engaged in a similar enterprise at the small building that was situated at the corner of Water and Ernest Street. It was later moved to the rear of the seaside Inn.
The fee charged in this school and others seem to be a penny a week hence the name ‘Penny Schools by which they were known.
St. Andrews Grammar School was opened in 1819 with the Rev. John Cassilis, a Presbyterian Minister as the Master, it was situated on the corner of King and Carleton Street.
Charlotte Grammar School after the Schools act of 1971 was passed the St. Andrews Grammar School became a free secondary school for Charlotte County. The Charlotte Grammar School existed until 1951, the original building was replaced in 1912.
Prince Arthur School in 1912 all the school of St. Andrews were housed in a new concrete building. The old Grammar School building was sold for $155.00 and moved to a location on Water Street to be used as a storage shed for coal. It was destroyed by fire in 1930. The institution known as the Charlotte Grammar School continued to exist within the Prince Arthur School complex.
In 1951 an era of Charlotte County educational history came to an unnoticed end when on December 19th, the Board of school Trustees applied to the Department of Education for relinquishment of the Grammar School in favor of a Town High School.
During the early 1950’s serious overcrowding in the Prince Arthur School forced consideration of the building of a new high school. The Vincent Massey School opened in 1956.