In 1834 the school began in an adapted cottage, known as a 'Dame' School, on the corner of Spring Park and Shirley Church Roads. 35 years later a separate Boys school was built and logbooks show that the new building was far from perfect – smoke filled in winter and hot and poorly ventilated in summer.
In 1885 the previous buildings were replaced by a building costing £2,330. There were 3 classrooms with an adjoining room divided by a folding screen. It certainly had no frills – no hot water, no staff room, staff and children’s toilets 100 yards away across the playground. It was opened on September 17th 1885, by the Vicar, the Revd. W. Wilks.
When the war came St. John’s school was evacuated to Rottingdean in 1939 and then to IIfracombe in 1940, though the school then remained open for children whose parents did not choose to evacuate them. On Wednesday 26th July at 2:30pm a flying bomb fell in the Infant playground and the blast destroyed the school buildings. Twenty-four children and three teachers were in the shelter in the playground. Although the shelter was filled with fumes and smoke and the entrance doors were shattered, no one was injured. For the next ten years the school was housed at Benson Primary School, until the present premises were completed.
The present building opened in 1954. It was officially designated a 'controlled school'. This meant that while it remained a Church School, the Church was relieved of all financial responsibility of it.