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Wiltshire Community History

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Bratton - Bratton Primary School

Following the merger of the National and British schools (see separate entries) in Bratton the school opened on 17 April 1928 with three classrooms, each designed to accommodate 40 children. The first school log book contains a photograph of the new school at this time and details of the staffing. The initial staffing comprised the headmaster, Mr. Robert Cherry, the certified assistant, Miss Louisa Burgess, and a supplementary assistant, Miss L. Blagden. In January 1933 Miss Burgess succeeded Mr. Cherry as headteacher. There were three classes: Class I with 25 pupils was taught by R. Cherry; Class II by Miss Burgess and Class III the youngest infants, by Miss Blagden. At opening there were 44 boys and 35 girls on the register.

Progress in the school was good: the Inspector's report at the end of 1934 was very complimentary and the children's work in reading, recitation, singing, geography, handiwork, needlework and gardening was highly praised. In the infants' class too work was good and there was a "free and happy atmosphere". By this time a "Percussion Band" had begun, "assisted by a gramophone". A number of children gained scholarships to the Girl's and Boys' High Schools in Trowbridge and also to Dauntsey School. Those who did not go to the high schools were transferred to Westbury Senior School, but all the children were presented with a bible upon leaving Bratton School. The children also had physical training lessons and would be visited and watched by the County's Inspectress of Physical Training. Scripture examinations were also regularly carried out.

Special holidays were given on occasions such as the King's Silver Jubilee in 1935 and on the occasions of the marriage of The Duke of Kent to Princess Marina of Greece in 1934 and of the Duke of Gloucester to Lady Alice Scott. Three days' holiday were granted in honour of the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The children were also excused school when the building was required to be used as a polling station, as it was on 14 November 1935, and when the school band performed at a music festival the following year. Outings were made to Stonehenge - and also by the older children to the village smithy where they were shown how horseshoes, links of a chain and a door hinge were made.

The school nurse attended regularly to examine the children and an annual medical inspection was routinely carried out by a doctor. The County Dentist and a nurse inspected the children's teeth and carried out the necessary treatment. It is noted, however, that when the dentist inspected the children's teeth in June 1937, 18 children received treatment and 15 refused!
In September 1936, the number of pupils on the register at the school's reopening after the summer holidays was 43. Attendance appears to have been satisfactory over the years, but in January and February 1937 it fell to approximately 50 per cent of those registered at the school as a result of much sickness amongst the children. There were cases of chicken pox, whooping cough, influenza and bad colds.

The extremely positive HMI report, again, in February 1938 in which the Inspector spoke of, "The well-kept premises, the atmosphere of friendly unselfconsciousness, the pride of the children in their school, and their happiness in the fullness of their school life..." indicates the environment that evacuated children were received into at the beginning of the Second World War. The school closed on 4 - 11 September 1939 due to the "National Emergency". When it reopened 25 evacuees were admitted. Nine days later a member of the London County Council Education Committee visited. The admissions register for the war years show the arrival and departure of children from a number of different parts of the country, such as London, Birmingham and Southampton. One girl from Danzig was in the school for a month in the summer of 1939 and one boy from Berlin was a pupil from the summer of 1939 to the summer of 1940. During the fortnight's holiday at Easter 1941, the school was kept open for the use of the evacuees.

An entry in the log book for 28 September, 1941 indicates, perhaps, that absences for potato picking which had been customary for Bratton over the course of the years, received more official sanction in wartime, "School kept open on a voluntary basis, as so many small children are now in attendance, and there are very few boys big enough to go potato picking, for which purpose schools are officially closed for the next fortnight". When V.E. Day came, the school closed for two days.

In the late 1940s the average number of children on roll was 48. However, numbers climbed steadily in the 1950s, dropped slightly again in the 1970s then rose notably in the 1970s so that by 1975 there were 124 on roll and by 1980 164. Mobile classrooms were in use to supplement the original accommodation and in January 1982 new extensions to the school provided a hall and additional classrooms. The school now had six classes. The official opening of the extensions took place on March 26 1982.

The school is still open and in 2007 had 178 pupils.

Note: School Still Open - Current Details:

BA13 4RL
Telephone No.01380 830511
Fax01380 830977
Age Range4 to 11
District Council Area
Special Facilities AvailableNo
Web Sitewww.bratton.wilts.sch.uk

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Bratton Primary School
Bratton Primary SchoolImage Date: 2011
Image Details: Michael Marshman
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Bratton Primary School
Bratton Primary SchoolImage Date: 2011
Image Details: Michael Marshman
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Bratton Primary School
Bratton Primary SchoolImage Date: 2011
Image Details: Michael Marshman
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