New ‘ultra-modern’ school was to replace wooden ‘hen house’

Toreagh Primary was to get a new school building after a wait of 27 years.

According to the East Antrim Times in February 1965, the Ministry of Education gave the development the go-ahead for an “ultra-modern” construction to replace the existing wooden structure known locally as the “hen house”.

Mr. RS Sproule, a local representative on Antrim County Council’s education committee, made the announcement at a meeting of Raloo Unionist Association.

The school was to be constructed in the townland of Altelevelly.

Although architectural plans had been drawn up, Mr. Sproule admitted that a completion date was “in the wind”.

A former pupil told the East Antrim Times that the children had to descend a steep flight of steps to reach an outdoor toilet which was dangerous in frost and snow.

A parent described conditions inside the school as “atrocious” for teachers and pupils.

In particular, she noted a leaky roof, which meant that children had to move their desks around the classroom to avoid drips and lessons had to be “put aside” whilst a teacher mopped up pools of rain water.