At a meeting in 1866, Mrs Wilson who had erected a church and school on her property on the Spit, elected to turn it over for committee management; with a church service to be held in it every Sunday, and a day-school run during the week. Later, in January 10, 1878, the school boundary was laid-out. Overcoming some initial teething issues with changeover of teacher and building work, the pupil roll continued to expand and by 1882 it had 140 students; by 1888 291. By the late 1800s it was the third largest school in the Hawkes Bay.
The school, now in Ossian Street, was regularly enlarged until a new school, in Lever Street, was built in 1935. A new room was added in 1937, a swimming pool in 1941, and an assembly hall in 1958.
Other schools in the Port area included St Mary’s Church and School.