Newstead College as the education Ministry Classification, is an 1 AB category National School. An 1 AB category school has classes from grade 1 up to grade 13 and must be also advanced level science stream.
Negombo is on the western coast of the Island approximately 36 kilometers to the North of Colombo and is situated at the mouth of the lagoon. The first school originated in this city is Newstead Negombo. It stands with its glory at the beachside. The origin of it goes back to the year 1815 when founded as a Sunday school and becoming a day school as well by 1816. This original school was in all probability a boys’ school, since 1818 it was proposed to start a school for girls.
The first Methodist missionaries started as a Sunday school and then became a day school creating about 70 students. It is interesting to note that this school has a notable history being a off shoot of the first Wesleyan school that was started in “Negombo Purawara” in the year 1816.
The British at first were not concerned with education in Ceylon, as they were merely took over by conquest the territories held by the Dutch but, both teachers and parents applealed to the new conquerors to re – open the schools as a response to that. The Evangelists of England intervened and brought pressure on Whitehall to improve the education of the Island and permit Christian missionary Societies to engage in Educational activities. It was during the time of Governer began their worth in Negombo. Thus between 1796 – 1831 there were three school system. It was within this education frame work that the Wesleyan Mission School in Negombo had its beginnings.
The first teacher who was appointed in charge of the school was Rev. Don Danniel Pereira, brother of Interpreter. Mudaliyar, L. E. Pereira and later famed as “ the apostle of kurana “. In 1817 Rev. Robert Nestead had bought a large Dutch house with a very spacious garden situated on a beautiful spot on the edge of the Negombo beach. ( presently called Mission House ) for 1500 Rix Dollars. Little by little the number of students increased and permanent buildings were built instead of cadian thatched buildings in 1833.
The period 1911 – 1916 is a watershed in the history of Newstead. As the Log Book Entry for 1911 says the school as being understaffed, inefficient, satisfactory neither to the Mission nor to the Education Department and with the debt of Rs. 3833.74. The Mission decided to close it down and transfer the children to the High School in Kollupitiya, Colombo. But the Christian community did not want this to happen fortunately for the school, Rev. C. S. H. Ward came as Resident Minister in 1911 and asked for a three month reprieve. Thus Mrs. Ward and Miss Lawrence laboured to reorganize the school. This was the turing print and the beginning of modern Newstead. By 1942 this school has completed all the facilities that are essential for a high school. Major reforms in education took place in the year 1943 ( the Kannangara Report ) recommending that education should be free at all levels. Thus Newstead also had to undergo this drastic change. This school is vested in the government in 1962. The first Sinhala principal of the school just after being vested in the government is Mrs. C. De Mel.
Newstead College, Negombo has from then on till now through many ups and downs in her history through periods of prosperity and adversity, through year of turbulent change and calm stability, continued in the field of education is Sri Lanka, paving the way for golden opportunities to all who have entered the college irrespective of race, class and creed.