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Laverstock - St. Andrew's Church of England VA Primary School,

Bishop Burgess made an endowment for elementary education in Laverstock, and in 1835 a government building grant helped to provide a new building. There were 60 pupils in 1858 and we get a good picture of the school from 1864 when the school logbooks begin. During the 1860s and 1870s there were frequent changes in the post of schoolmistress, with the post changing hands in January 1864, January 1865, February 1866, August 1868, September 1870, February 1871, October 1875 and September 1876. These frequent changes had an unsettling effect on the performance of the school and its pupils as can bee seen in the H.M.I. reports;

1863 'The work appears to have suffered a good deal in consequence
as during five months of the last year the school was conducted by a
provisional teacher.'

1870 ' The present teacher is quite unversed in the usual methods of
leading a school management.'

The school contained children of all ages from 3 or 4 years to 12 years old and there was a separate infant's room. The schoolmistress was assisted by a paid pupil teacher as monitor. Subjects taught were the standard reading, writing and arithmetic with the infants being taught letter forming and letter and number recognition before they began to read and write. Other subjects included learning poetry, cutting out a pinafore (1864), mental arithmetic, scripture, cutting out various articles of clothing (older girls in 1873) paper folding (for the infants in 1888), drawing, drill, singing, history and geography. In 1865 the vicar, the Rev. J. P. Greenly, brought in some picture cards for teaching the younger children to read, while later in that year, he distributed books on 'The Daily life of a Christian Child' to the children and promised each child 6d (21/2p) when they could repeat the verses to him. Children were given prayers to learn and say at home while a lesson on the Biblical Flood was illustrated with pictures.

In March 1871 Standard I (the older children) began writing on paper - previously all children had used slates. Object lessons on particular subjects - an animal, an activity, an item of food or a household item - were given two or three times a week, especially to the infants. The National Society, under whose rules the school was conducted, provided four new maps and reading books in 1889 while a new set of reading books was provided in 1896. The children attended church for a service during the school day and the vicar was much involved in the running of the school. In 1891 all children in the upper three standards wrote letters to their parents to practise letter writing and then bought stamps at the post office and posted them. Sometimes cheating at schoolwork went on, as in 1895 when two boys were caught signalling the answers to one another and given no marks for their sums.

Standard school holidays were; 2 weeks at Christmas, although this was deferred to January because of the timing of school inspections in the 1860s when only Christmas Day and Boxing Day were allowed in December; Good Friday and Easter Monday (later 2 weeks); 1 week at Whitsun, and 4 to 5 weeks Harvest Holiday in August and early September. There seem to have been a variety of other holidays including some for odd reasons, such as 'for the mistress to go to a picnic' (1867) and 'for the convenience of the mistress' (1893). Holidays were given for special events, such as Oak Apple Day (29 May), Coronation Day, a Royal Wedding in 1893, a whole week to attend the Diamond Jubilee celebration in Salisbury in 1897 and 2 days for the Laverstock Jubilee celebrations a week later. Other holidays were given for an outing to Stonehenge, preparation of the Christmas Tree and bran tub (from 1873), for photographs to be taken of the children (1874) and, on one occasion when a swarm of bees took up residence in the school.

Children were often away from school for other reasons. In June 1864 several attended a cricket match; in February 1865 new desks were built and put up in the school and the children were given a holiday; often the older girls went Maying (collecting branches of blossom on 1 May); in 1885 one girl could not come to school because she had no boots. At times children were kept at home to help with household work, haymaking, gleaning (picking up corn from the fields to make the family bread) and harvesting various crops including potatoes. Various illnesses, such as measles, whooping cough, chicken pox, diphtheria, scarletina, scarlet fever and mumps often swept through the village. In 1866 and 1873 the school was closed for two weeks because of an outbreak of measles, and again for one week in 1884. Less frequently recurring illnesses included rheumatic fever, 'water on the brain', conjunctivitis, ringworm and bronchitis. Children did sometimes die from these illnesses, two boys dying in 1873 and 1894, and their school fellows attended the funerals carrying flowers.

The weather could be disruptive to Schooling when there were heavy snowfalls or local flooding. The school closed for a month in December 1874 because of heavy snow and again for 3 days in March 1891. When children were able to attend there were some treats and events to look forward to. Quarterly prizes were given for regular attendance, a reward of 6d (21/2p) was given to children who had passed all their examinations, in 1891 the children attended a pantomime in Salisbury and were given oranges, in 1896 a piano was presented to the school for use in singing and drill, while in 1900 the children had their photograph taken.

Punishments were not infrequent but neither were they too severe. On occasions children were excluded from school on account of the bad behaviour of their mothers, while sometimes a pupil would play truant from school after being punished - escaping through a window on one occasion. Punishments were given for being rude, idleness, eating apples in lessons, losing needles; and stealing money.

During the 1860s the H.M.I. reports on the pupils' performance and behaviour improved and the children were in good order, intelligent and well advanced in their work, although arithmetic was sometimes a problem. In 1867 the school was used for a missionary meeting one evening and the school opened half an hour late the following morning as the mistress had to 'prepare the school from its disorderly state the night before.' The school was heated by an open fire, normally first lit sometime in October, but this did not always heat the room too well. Attendance seems to have decreased in the 1870s and in 1875 the vicar found that there were eleven houses in the parish with no one living in them.

In 1877 it was found that repairs were needed to the floor and the rope of the school bell while there were also insufficient books. As the school had not been open the minimum number of sessions (400 - morning and afternoon) the annual grant was not made. In 1879 we find that the size of the schoolroom is 24 feet 8 inches long, 20 feet 8 inches wide and 13 feet 10 inches high, while the average attendance was over 40. Throughout this period there was a schoolmistress and a paid monitor and by 1882 the average attendance was 65. By 1884 it was evident that the size of the schoolroom needed to be increased, or the number of children reduced, and a decision was taken not to admit children until they were 4 years old. All children under 4 years were sent home from school but in 1885 there was still a need for a separate infants' classroom. By 1885 a report stated that there should be an assistant mistress for the infants, and in 1886 considerable concern was expressed over the accommodation provided for the infants.

With the aid of a government grant a new school was planned in 1887 and built in 1888. On 1 October there was a holiday while furniture was moved into the new building and on the 2 October the school was officially opened by the Bishop of Salisbury at 2.00 p.m. The schoolmistress noted that there were great advantages in having better light and accommodation, the children seemed brighter and the increased ventilation helped greatly. The schoolroom was 34 feet 6 inches by 18 feet by 14 feet high and the infants' classroom was 18 feet by 15 feet by 14 feet high. A schoolhouse still had to be built.

In September 1891 school fees were discontinued nationally and at the start of the new term 67 children were in school at Laverstock. School fees had been 1d (about 0.4p) and if parents could not afford to pay their children could not attend school. In the 1890s the H.M.I. reports continued to be good with the children at the required standards of work and discipline well maintained. In October 1897 new regulations gave the pupils 10 minutes play time at 2.30 in the afternoon. In 1900 a new management committee was set up and this included elected ratepayers. They decided that if a voluntary subscription of 21/2d (about 1d) was added to the parish rate they would be able to apply for the Government Aid Grant.

The original school building was used as a Sunday school and Reading Room after the new school was built. There were 65 children on the register in 1907 in the new school. The school became a voluntary aided school and in 1950 became a junior school when the older pupils were moved to secondary schools. In 1955 there were 42 children at school. In 1995 there were 98 children on the register; by 2002 this had increased to 145 children aged from 4 to 11 years.
 

Note: School Still Open - Current Details:

Address
Church Road
Laverstock
Salisbury
SP1 1QX
Wilts
  
Telephone No.01722 503590
Fax01722 503590
Age Range4 to 11
District Council Area
NurseryNo
ResidentialNo
Special Facilities AvailableNo
Web Sitewww.st-andrews-laverstock.wilts.sch.uk

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School Photos/Plans

St. Andrew's Church of England VA Primary School, Laverstock, Salisbury
 
St. Andrew's Church of England VA Primary School, Laverstock, SalisburyImage Date: 2003
Image Details: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham
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St. Andrew's Church of England VA Primary School, Laverstock, Salisbury
 
St. Andrew's Church of England VA Primary School, Laverstock, SalisburyImage Date: 2003
Image Details: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham
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St. Andrew's Church of England VA Primary School, Laverstock, Salisbury
 
St. Andrew's Church of England VA Primary School, Laverstock, SalisburyImage Date: 2003
Image Details: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham
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St. Andrew's Church of England VA Primary School, Laverstock, Salisbury
 
St. Andrew's Church of England VA Primary School, Laverstock, SalisburyImage Date: 2003
Image Details: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham
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St. Andrew's Church of England VA Primary School, Laverstock, Salisbury
 
St. Andrew's Church of England VA Primary School, Laverstock, SalisburyImage Date: 2003
Image Details: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham
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St. Andrew's Church of England VA Primary School, Laverstock, Salisbury
 
St. Andrew's Church of England VA Primary School, Laverstock, SalisburyImage Date: 2003
Image Details: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham
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St. Andrew's Church of England VA Primary School, Laverstock
 
St. Andrew's Church of England VA Primary School, LaverstockImage Date: c.1905
Image Details: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham
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St. Andrew's Church of England VA Primary School, Laverstock
 
St. Andrew's Church of England VA Primary School, LaverstockImage Date: c.1905
Image Details: Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham
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