It was in February 1840 that the Colonial Government of Malta decided to open a school in the small village of Mosta. The first building was a privately-owned house, leased to the Government for the purpose of creating an educational establishment in the locality. It had two divisions, one constituting the boys’ school and the other making up that for the girls’. With the appointment of the first Heads of School, the process was complete. Rev. Tommaso Chetcuti was appointed on 1 February 1841 with a salary of £35 per annum. The first School Mistress was Miss Marianna Borg whose salary was £20 per annum. Attendance picked up slowly in rural Mosta and it was only at about 1875 that it became comparable to attendance in other schools. At this time about 81% of all those registered were attending regularly.
With the 1859 reform, the Mosta Primary school, like all the rest in Malta and Gozo, was structured into four Standards, from Standard I to Standard IV for the older pupils. Furthermore, during Sigismondo Savona’s Directorship, each school also got its own Local Management Committee. This body had the aim of giving a helping hand towards more efficiency and discipline in the school. In 1883 the Mosta Local Management Committee was made up of the Rev. Francesco Camilleri (the Parish priest), the Very Rev. Mons. Dr. Michel Angelo Can. Mifsud and Dr. Daniele Chetcuti.
The schools in Mosta, both that for the boys and the other for the girls, did their best to bring in a culture of learning in the village. Yet, though the numbers attending the Mosta schoolhouse increased, full attendance amongst those of school age was still far from the optimum. According to an education report for 1889-90, Mosta had 490 boys of school age yet, only 176 were enrolled in the Government school. The girls attending were 150 out of a possible 395. The rural environment in which the school operated would have surely affected attendance and enrolment as fields needed full-time labour hands and school would have been a waste of time. Yet space in the present school was also lacking for those who wanted to attend.
At about this same time a number of children did show an inclination towards getting at least an elementary education. Mosta was growing in population and therefore the number of children was on the increase. This inflated the school waiting-list as the rented schoolhouse was too small to accommodate more. Therefore plans for a new purpose-built school were taken in hand.
It was in August 1898 that the new Mosta Elementary School opened its doors. It was the building which today still houses ‘Carmela Sammut’ Primary School along with ‘E.B. Vella’ Primary School in Grognet Street. It has been expanded and enlarged over the years but the original 1898 school made up of the ground floor of the present school building still stands today. It could at that time accommodate up to 800 students (boys and girls). Mosta could therefore pride itself with one of the first schools, built for that specific purpose, while many other villages were still awaiting their new schools.
The new Mosta Schools were staffed by a Master/Mistress (Heads of School), Assistants (Teachers) and Monitors and Monitresses. The latter two were young members of staff at the beginning of their teaching career. They would be about 13 or 14 years of age and helped out in teaching while still undergoing their own studies in the same school where they themselves worked. They were a type of apprentice- or student-teachers.
The Mosta Schools served the local population not only as normal day schools. They also housed Night Schools. Both male and female schools functioned along the pre-World War II period. Women attended also on Sundays. There were also ‘Continuation Classes’ held after normal school hours. The service offered was utilised by those who aimed at passing some public examination or who aspired to continue their education beyond the primary school level.
The Mosta Schools experienced a partial disruption in their activity during the Second World War years. Some of the classes wee taken over by the A.R.P. and so other buildings were sought to accommodate those who continued to attend school. Attendance was at times quite low. It was in June 1942 that nine classrooms were returned to the Headmistress to be used for teaching. The following month an enemy bomb hit the school building but without living any victims. From 1943 and more so form 1944, normal school life returned.
The Mosta Primary Schools continued to participate in the post-war developments in education. By the 1970 reform, the primary school in Mosta introduced the six-Year system. Segregation by sex in these classes was ended. Classes were now from Year I to Year VI (formerly these were Stages I and II and Standards I to IV). From 1975 new kindergarten classes were attached to the Girls’ School. Ten years later, from the scholastic year 1980-81 the Girls’ School was designated School ‘A’ while the former Boys’ School became School ‘B’. School ‘A’ now comprised the kindergarten classes and Years I to III. School ‘B’ took the older students from Years IV to VI. Furthermore, in 1998, School ‘B’ changed its name to ‘E.B. Vella’ Primary School while School ‘A’ followed suit and became ‘Carmela Sammut’ Primary School in 1999.
List of Heads of School from 1898 to date for:
Mosta Girls’ Primary School / Carmela Sammut Primary School / Mosta Primary School ‘A’
M.A. Pace October 1898 – September 1906
G.Vassallo September 1906 – November 1911
B. Tonna Barther November 1911 – June 1914
C. Scicluna July 1914 – November 1922
C. Vassallo November 1922 – December 1925
C. Sammut January 1926 – September 1955
M.A. Buhagiar October 1955 – September 1962
C. Muscat September 1962 – June 1980
G.Vella September 1980 – October 1984
H. Camilleri November 1984 – September 1992
M. Cassar September 1992 – January 2002
L. Deguara January 2002 – September 2007
L. Scerri September 2007 – July 2011
J. Fiott July 2011 – September 2017
A.Pulis September 2017 –
(For a detailed account of Mosta Primary Schools conference – G.Cassar : Ġrajja ta’ Skola: L-iskola Primarja tal-Mosta fis-Sekli Dsatax u Għoxrin, Kunsill Lokali Mosta, Malta.)