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National School, Poulshot

National School, Poulshot Date Photo Taken 2011
Uploaded 18/05/2011 10:43:55
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Map Latitude 51.336249061990905 : Longitude -2.044309973716736
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Original Media Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre

The National School was built in 1884 on Poulshot Green, with space for 90 children. The land, which was part of what was known as Cook's Yard, was given by the Reverend Henry Olivier. A school chapel was built alongside by William Webb of Bromham.
By 1907 there were 60 children attending the school. From this date until the 1920s this was an average figure for the number of children on roll. In 1950 there were 76 pupils but the average daily attendance was only 30.

Attendance was a perennial concern for the teachers at the school. Bad weather, illness and agricultural work often kept children away: On 19 December 1905 the headmaster noted that, 'The attendance has been very low this week- there is still a great deal of sickness among the children.' On 12 September the following year: 'There has been a considerable falling off in the attendance of the children in Standards this week…A number of children are kept away to pick up potatoes.' On 26 June 1914 the head teacher wrote: 'The farmers are busy with their hay, and some of the children are being made use of in the hay field occasionally.'

Scarlet fever and scarletina), whooping cough, measles, mumps and influenza were all relatively common, and if one child from a household was ill or thought to be ill, it was common practice for all the children of the family to be temporarily suspended from attending school. There was an outbreak of diphtheria in May 1915 and the school was shut for a fortnight. It was further closed for five weeks in June and fumigated but one boy died. There was an epidemic of measles in 1917 and a four year old boy died. The school was forced to shut for seven weeks. However, the school was sometimes also shut for celebratory days or to give all children a chance to work; "blackberry holidays" were common at the start of the 20th century.

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