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Wiltshire Community History

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Allington - Schooling, Allington

In 1858, 12 children of Allington attended the schools at Cholderton, Newton Tony and Idmiston. From 1902 they went to Boscombe school and then by 1972 to Idmiston
Unfortunately there are no Victorian school log books in Wiltshire & Swindon Archives, but the following general information would be relevant to the schools for the latter part of the 19th century. Fees were paid for each child until 1891, normally at the rate of one penny (0.4p) or twopence a week and the 'school pence' was collected by the schoolteacher. There would have been a schoolmaster, or schoolmistress, with assistant teachers, pupil teachers and monitors. The pupil teachers were taught by the head before lessons started, took exams, sometimes went to the Diocesan Training College and eventually became teachers themselves. They mainly taught the younger children. Monitors were also paid but tended to be younger and helped to look after the younger children or teach the infants.

School holidays were at similar times to those of today, often only 2 days at Easter but a week at Whitsun. The summer holidays were of five or six weeks and were called the Harvest Holidays as the children either helped with the harvest or carried food and drink to their parents, who were working in the fields. There were more half-day and whole day holidays for special events. Half a day would be given after the annual H.M.I. or Diocesan inspections and there were holidays for school treats, choir outings, chapel teas, Christmas parties and at times when the school was needed for other purposes.

There were also many unauthorised absences. These would be for seasonal work, such as haymaking (June) and early or late harvest (July or September), being kept at home to help their parents, and working when they should have been at school. Bad weather such as heavy rain, cold weather, or snow kept children away from school, often because their parents couldn't afford to buy them suitable clothes. Apart from the usual colds and coughs there were more serious illnesses than today and these included, mumps, measles, whooping cough, scarletina and diphtheria.

The elementary subjects were the '3 Rs' - reading writing and arithmetic. Scripture was often taught by the vicar and children would have attended church for services on some days. Older children were taught history and geography and there may have been some study of natural history. Singing was taught to all ages and all the girls and some of the boys would have done needlework. Drawing had been introduced by the 1890s.

For more information about Boscombe School attended by the children of Allington and Boscombe, see under 'Boscombe School'.
 

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