The oldest school
The first reference to a parish school in Gostyń dates back to 1337. The school educated only boys, who were taught reading, writing and church singing. The language of classes was Latin. The teacher was a John, who also worked as a town scribe.
The best period for the school in Gostyń was the 16th century. At that time the school run a higher level of instruction – according to the so called “trivium” curriculum, i.e. grammar, rhetoric and dialectics. The graduates of the local school could successfully continue education at the Academy of Cracow and the Lubrański Academy in Poznań. Some also studied at universities abroad, mainly in Wittenberg and Królewiec (Königsberg).
The period of prosperity lasted till the end of 50s of the 17th century. Then the school started to decline due to the considerable fall in the number of citizens. The local school was again a parish institution. In 1726 it was recorded that “the building is demolished and requires prompt redecoration”.
At the end of the 30s of the 18th century some improvement in the condition of local education took place. In 1738 the manager of the Gostyń school was Jakub Kostrzewski, a graduate of the Jesuit College in Wschowa. The citizens and the clergymen resolved to bring back past splendor to the school by improving the level of teaching.
Elementary education in Gostyń in the first decades of the 19th century experienced a time of development. It resulted, among other things, from introducing compulsory education on 14 May 1825. However, it imposed the obligation to be taught, not to go to school.
In 1872 the school in Gostyń became a multi-class institution. It was divided into three levels: a lower, an intermediate and a higher one. The gradation depended on the age of a child and his or her state of knowledge. The duration of school instruction was 8 years. A new curriculum was implemented, which put emphasis on learning German, religion and calculus with geometry. Less attention was paid to geography, science and history since then. The school was supposed to educate in the spirit of loyalty towards Prussian authorities. The Polish language was removed and treated as a secondary one, and only religion could be taught in Polish.
A formal opening of a new school building took place on 26 October 1881. The school had 6 classrooms and a flat for a teacher (3 rooms and a kitchen), for a caretaker and a room for another teacher. Soon, however, even this building turned out to be too small. In 1886 the teacher’s flat was turned into additional two classrooms. In 1883 the manager of the school became Franciszek Nagler, and the teaching staff consisted of 6 teachers. The first female teacher was Klara Tiesch. Between 1902 and 1906 there was a wave of student strikes, caused by prohibition to teach religion in Polish.
Between 1926 and 1939 the school manager was Szczepan Kaczmarek, a member of the Polish Legislative Sejm (lower chamber of Polish Parliament), shot by the Germans in 1939 on the local Market Square. Since the school year 1999/2000 The Lower Secondary School No. 1 has been operating there.