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Paynter Memorial School


The school was an inextricable part of the home. It was English medium and had committed teachers driven by ideals and vision, and consequently by the late 40s onwards the school began to attract fee paying day scholars from Nuwara Eliya town. It was run as a private mission school, and in 1954 it was renamed the Paynter Memorial School. However, it proved impossible to run the school without government support and by the late 50s it became a government English medium school with government paid teachers. This was a period of great flowering and the late 50s early 60s were perhaps the heyday of the school & home. The home was renamed the Paynter Home in 1967.

Meanwhile, the flood of children for whom the home was originally created in the 20s, (the Eurasian children form plantations) slowed to a mere trickle, with the end of the colonial era, and the mass exodus of expatriates with independence in 1949. The home had to re define its purpose! It was English medium and there were many poor and disadvantaged Burgher children in the island, so the home gradually evolved to being a home for the Burgher community. It continued to be for children from some sort of a Christian background and whose mother tongue was English. However, over the next few decades the Burgher community dwindled. Most had emigrated.

By the late 70s early 80s the school had become a Sinhala medium school, The children brought to the home now came from any and all ethnic groups. Their mother tongue is either Tamil or Sinhala. The probation department brings most of the children. Some are sent by church groups, and some brought directly by parents. I am unsure whether there are any criteria for admission other than that the probation department or parent agrees that the child will be brought up Christian. Essentially the home is less exclusive than it was originally, and this is a good thing, and has led to that wonderful multi ethnic and multi religious and polyglot community that it now is!