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Wiltshire Community History

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Great Wishford - Great Wishford C. of E. (Aided) Primary School

The first school at Great Wishford was built in June 1722 and is thought to have been paid for by the will of Sir Richard Howe, who gave the school tithes from Asserton. This money was then used to pay for a master and mistress to teach 20 boys and 20 girls. David Oland, who died in 1737, gave the income from a bequest of £200 to boys from the school who were going on to apprenticeships. This was mainly to enable them to buy tools. The income from the bequest remained relatively high and any additional monies were used to pay for fuel and repairs to the school. In 1810 the income was approximately £63. By 1846, the school had grown to having two rooms as well accommodation for the schoolteacher. In 1901 the school would still receive an income of £51.

There were 43 children at the school in 1846. By 1859, when HM Inspector William Warburton carried out his survey of Wiltshire schools, there were 35 boy pupils and 35 girls, taught by a schoolmistress, and he indicated his understanding that all the poor children were taught 'almost gratuitously'.

This small rural school went about its business in a similar manner to other rural schools at that time. The teachers were often concerned about the levels of attendance, which was affected by bad weather, illness and children being taken out of school for agricultural tasks. A good illustration of this is the comment made in the log book on 20 June 1895, which reads: 'The number of scholars present is very small....A great many are away through illness and some are haymaking...Work is almost at a standstill in consequence'.

On 20 October 1899: 'Salisbury Fair on Tuesday had a bad effect on the attendance for the week.' On 18 January 1926: 'Owing to a heavy fall of snow, only 32 children are present this morning'. Wet weather always resulted in a number of absences since all the children would walk to school, some of them for considerable distances; they would then return home for lunch and then go back to school for the afternoon session.

If there was a suspicion of an illness which could spread quickly, any children in likely contact with the illness were kept away from school. For example, on 29 April 1895, the schoolmistress wrote: 'A case of diphtheria reported this afternoon, the rest of the family sent home awaiting Doctor's instructions'. Chicken pox, whooping cough, scarlet fever, and influenza were all common illnesses.

Oak Apple Day on May 29 is referred to in the school log books as "Oaken bough day", 'Wishford rights, 'Oak Apple fete' and 'Oak Apple festivities'.

The HM and Diocesan inspectors were invariably positive about the school, although room for improvement was pointed out: An inspection in March 1896 found: 'The elementary work is fairly satisfactory... Writing should improve in some cases, as well as the setting out of the sums... More regular practice should be given in oral arithmetic... The infants are fairly well advanced, particularly in the first class'.

A Diocesan report from 1899 stated: 'The school seems excellently taught and to be in excellent order...The written repetition was very good and the written examination corresponded with the oral in showing evenness of attainment throughout. The infants showed brightness and intelligence and some of the smallest answered. The whole reflects credit on the Rector and the staff'.

In 1907, there were 60 pupils at the school. A report from His Majesty's Inspector of 1912 read: 'This is an admirably conducted school. The work throughout is done with accuracy and thoughtfulness and the teaching bears the stamp of careful preparation and conspicuous intelligence. Everything proceeds in a quiet and orderly manner, and the children appear to be imbued with the spirit of earnestness and duty, and a keen desire to improve... The children read with ease and understanding and in all standards they have acquired the ability to express themselves with readiness and to write down their ideas in correct form'.

A half holiday was given to the children on 12 November 1918 to commemorate the signing of the Armistice and the ending of World War One. Sometimes an 'occasional' holiday was taken, with no explanation given! At the outbreak of World War Two, 32 evacuees arrived at the school from Portsmouth and four arrived from London. The Portsmouth children are referred to in the log book as coming from 'Portsmouth Cottage Homes'. It seems that at least three teachers came from Portsmouth with their charges and taught in the school. They stayed until the summer of 1940. The children helped in the war effort: On 25 September 1942 the headmistress Miss Thomas wrote: 'The school was closed this afternoon for a fortnight in order that older children might help in the harvesting of potatoes'. The school was shut for two days in May 1945 to celebrate V.E. day.

The library was added in 1997 and in 2002 much internal reparation took place, with many rooms redecorated. A fourth classroom was added in 2005. In 2010 there were 115 pupils on roll.
 

Note: School Still Open - Current Details:

Address
West Street
Great Wishford
Salisbury
SP2 0PQ
Wilts
  
Telephone No.01722 790433
Fax01722 790433
Age Range4 to 11
District Council Area
NurseryNo
ResidentialNo
Special Facilities AvailableNo

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Great Wishford C. of E. (Aided) Primary School
 
Great Wishford C. of E. (Aided) Primary SchoolImage Date: 2011
Image Details: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre
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Great Wishford C. of E. (Aided) Primary School
 
Great Wishford C. of E. (Aided) Primary SchoolImage Date: 2011
Image Details: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre
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