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Froxfield Church of England School

Froxfield Church of England School Date Photo Taken 2008
Uploaded 21/03/2012 09:50:48
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Original Media Location: Wilsthire & Swindon History Centre

An elementary school - Froxfield Church of England School- was built in 1909, next to the church, with the foundation stone laid by Lady Doreen Long. The expense of the school was met by voluntary subscriptions collected by the Rev. M. Rudkin. The school opened 1st April 1910, with accommodation for 74 children; twenty-four in the infants' room, and fifty in the 'large' room. The room for the infants was seventeen feet by seventeen feet, and the larger room was twenty-four feet by twenty feet.

On November 7th 1910, a letter was written, asking permission to exclude all children under the age of five; this permission was granted on June 4th 1911. Nothing of note happened in the school itself, until December 1st 1938, when electric lights were finally installed in the building. On July 10th 1939, a first aid outfit was kept in the building, for use by the ARP. On 11th-13th October 1939, the windows were 'blacked out' by the RASC. In 1940, on June 28th, the Lord Bishop of Salisbury visited the school, and on August 21st, an air raid siren was sounded at half past two in the afternoon. In 1941, the hours of the school were changed to 9.45-12.15, and 1.15 to 3.30. On March 16th 1947, a hurricane blew out some of the windows of the school. In 1948, the older children (11+) were transferred to Marlborough Secondary Modern School. From 1948, until the closure of the school, teaching students often spent several months training there. On January 22nd 1954, the school was officially given a designation and a number- Froxfield C. E. Controlled 3075. On July 25th 1963, the school finally closed.

There were very few HMI reports recorded in the log book and those that there were, were not positive. In 1925, the school report noted that the school was 'overall well', with some lack of skill in senior classes of reading, composition, arithmetic and history; the infants were not good enough in writing or arithmetic. In 1960, the report was a little better, noting that the work was 'steadily improving', but still very average; it was noted that the school suffered from a frequent change of assistant teacher, and much improvement was needed.

The syllabus was strictly set out after the opening of the school in 1910, and this was not only mostly adhered to, but remained much the same for the entirety of the life of the school. The Infants were to take Nature Study, Drawing, Varied Occupations, Songs and Recitation, Needlework, Drill, Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. The older students took mostly the same lessons, although there were several differences. They took Arithmetic, Reading, Nature Study, History, Geography, Grammar, Recitation and Singing, Physical Exercises, Needlework, Brushwork, and Drawing.

Much like the previous school in the village, there was an extremely high turnover of staff, with several members of staff lasting only months. In April 1910, Nellie Walker was the head mistress of the school, and Alice Briant the supplementary teacher; Alice Briant resigned on February 28th 1912. A month later, on April 1st, Miss Church became a supplementary teacher, and officially took over the duties on the 24th of the same month. On March 30th 1913, Nellie Walker resigned, and she was briefly succeeded by D. B. Hutchings on April 3rd 1913, who was succeeded by Dorothy Allen on July 23rd. She remained head teacher until March 14th 1914, when she resigned. Her replacement, Catherine Holmes, started less than a fortnight later, on March 23rd. The setup of staff remained consistent until March 16th 1923, when Miss Church resigned; she was replaced by Miss Cox on March 26th, who resigned less than a month later on May 15th 1923. Thirteen days later, on May 28th, Miss Fox began as a supplementary teacher. On November 3rd 1927, C. Holmes was ill and so on November 8th, E.S King took charge; they were succeeded by J.E Brockway on January 9th 1928. On April 16th 1928, C.I. Alexander took charge as Catherine Holmes was still ill. On October 1st 1928, almost a year after Catherine Holmes first became ill, she officially relinquished her duties, and Gertrude Brooks took over as head teacher. On March 9th 1930, Miss Tubb became a supplementary teacher, while Miss Fox resigned on April 16th of the same year. On May 1st 1931, Marjorie Manning took temporary control of the school, and on August 1st of the same year, W. Emery took charge officially as the new head teacher. On November 2nd 1931, Miss Turpin became an uncertificated assistant; she resigned the following year, on February 5th 1932. She was succeeded by Miss Perry on November 1st 1932. On May 11th 1934, Miss Tubb resigned, and three days later on May 14th, Miss Pounsberry became the supplementary assistant for the infants. On April 1st 1941, Miss Hodge became a supply teacher for the school. On January 5th 1949, Mrs Monk became an assistant teacher, as did Miss Ada Taylor five years later, on September 6th 1954. However, Miss Taylor resigned the following year, on December 31st 1955. On December 21st 1955, Miss Emery resigned; less than a month later, on January 9th 1956, Miss Foxton became the headmistress, but she left later in the year and on October 11th 1956, Miss Courtman commenced duty, and stayed until the school closed.

The attendance varied throughout the life of the school, though for the first few years it dropped steadily, rising to a peak of 60 in 1931. In 1910, there were 58 children registered; this was recorded as rising to 46 children in 1913, 36 in 1917, and 33 in 1919. On February 17th 1922, it was noted that there were 35 in attendance. On October 20th 1925, only 9 children attended on that day. There were 60 children attending in 1931, falling to 37 in 1938. In 1943, this rose to 43, and in 1945, this was 47 - including 13 evacuees. In 1960, there were just 24 attending.

Most of the holidays were the usual school holidays; Whitsuntide in May -June, and the Christmas holiday - which usually occurred between mid December and early January. The summer holiday took place between August and September, although occasionally it started as early as July. The Easter holiday took place in April, for five days, and was followed by Ascension Day at the end of that month.

Until the late 1940s, when the NHS was set up, there were several outbreaks of diseases in the local area, and so the school would close, or lose several students temporarily to illness. On January 16th 1912, 18 children were sick with croup; on January 31st, there was an epidemic of whooping cough, and in a similar vein, on March 26th, later that year, 24 children were absent due to whooping cough. On September 29th 1914, the school was closed for a fortnight due to diphtheria, and mumps caused the school to close for a week on October 23rd 1915. The school closed from May 8th - 20th 1918, again due to whooping cough. On November 3rd 1922, there was an outbreak of scarlet fever, and on January 8th 1923, there was a diphtheria outbreak. January 10th - 21st 1927 saw the school closed due to measles, and the school closed for just over a month, October 4th - November 5th, during 1928 due to whooping cough. The school closed due to influenza between February 14th and 25th, in 1929, In July 1931, several students were suffering from impetigo, and on February 5th 1940, there were many cases of measles. Eleven days later, on February 16th 1940, the school was closed due to German measles, and on September 12th 1941, there were diphtheria inoculations that made some of the children ill. During these years, especially the latter years, the school was frequently visited by a school nurse and a school dentist, both of who diagnosed and/or treated any children who needed it.

Attendance was affected by the usual kinds of bad weather; snow, rain, and so on, but there were very few noted cases of closure of the school due to this. On July 3rd 1914, heavy rain caused 20 students to be absent in the afternoon. On February 28th 1916, only 25 were present due to heavy snow; this also affected attendance on January 17th 1918, when only 16 attended.

There were several special events that meant the children were excused for a day, or a half day. On November 12th 1918, the children were sent home for the Armistice. On February 28th 1922, there was a holiday for the wedding of Princess Mary. On November 29th 1934, the school closed for the day to celebrate the marriage of the Duke of Kent and Princess Marina. On May 8th and 9th 1945, the school was closed to celebrate VE and VE+1. On April 26th 1948, the school celebrated the King and Queen's Silver Wedding. On February 15th 1952, there was a commemorative service for the late King George VI.

There were very few punishments given out, but those that were tended to be strokes of the cane. On September 22nd 1910, a child was rapped twice on the knuckles for disobedience and sulkiness. On May 19th 1911, a child was given a stroke on each hand, for persistent disobedience. On June 9th 1911, a child was caned once on each hand, for persistent disobedience and laziness.

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