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Wiltshire Community History

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Norton

Foxley School

Foxley School Date Photo Taken c.1906
Uploaded 16/04/2013 10:10:35
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Map Latitude 51.572075262507646 : Longitude -2.1518611907958984
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Original Media Location: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre


Plan of Norton School

A small school was held in a cottage in the 1880s and in 1894 the cottage in which the school was taught was sold to the church. A new school and schoolhouse was built and opened at Foxley. The first mistress was Emily Rocke. Children from Norton as well as Foxley attended and the school received money from the Anne Jacob and J.E. Jackson charities. From 1894 this was the only school open for Norton, Foxley and Bremilham. In 1902 a room in the Rectory served as a reading room and a night school. Money from the charities was also used for bursaries and prizes, as well as to help children leaving school to establish themselves in a trade.

Attendance varied for several reasons, including bad weather, illness and the need for children to work. In 1914 the number on roll at the school was only 17. Because the school took in children from a relatively large area, bad weather often kept pupils away, especially those from Norton.On 7 December 1903 the headmistress wrote: 'Pouring with rain both Monday and Tuesday; the Norton children could not get into school.' Again, on 24 Febuary 1904 the mistress wrote: 'Good attendance this week until Friday when a snowy morning prevented all the Norton children from coming to school.' This was a fairly common occurrence. Roads often flooded, creating a physical barrier for children further away.

Holidays were sometimes given for events, or the decision was made to shut the school as so few children had turned up. For example, on 17 March 1914, the headmistress wrote: 'A half holiday given for the children to go to a circus.' And in June 1914: 'Only 12 children present; several having gone to a fair at Sherston.' On 18 September 1918, a half day's holiday was given to allow for the children to go blackberrying. Children sometimes were absent for a while as they were working in the fields. On 27 April 1917: 'Florence Newman aged 14 years has been absent this week helping to plant potatoes.' On 22 February 1918: 'Fred Griffin, aged 12 years, has been absent four days this week helping a farmer with the threshing.'

The inspection reports over the years were good. A Diocesan report from 1904 read: 'An average syllabus was presented. The lower group did their work and behaved fairly: The upper group answered remarkably well and reached an exceptionally high average.They were well behaved, bright, attentive and answered well.'

His Majesty's Inspectorate of 1905 reported that: 'The children are under good influence and are interested in their work. The instruction is effective and intelligent, and good general progress is being made.'
A HMI report of 1929 read: 'In this school (the mistress) has the difficult task of teaching, under cramped and inconvenient conditions and without assistance, some 24 children ranging in age from four to 13. The head teacher deserves much credit for what she has been able to achieve. There is spirit of co-operation and goodwill in the school and the children are well behaved and diligent.'

A piano was given to the school by Captain Fenwick of Norton Manor in 1913 for 'an indefinite period.' On 29 July 1932 the school closed although there was no explanation given for this in the school log book. There were 24 pupils on the roll at the time.
The building remained empty for a time but then became a house. It was first rented by George Pinsent, who then bought it in 1949 after the Foxley Parochial Church Council turned down the chance to do so because of lack of funds.


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