History of the Village Schools from 1846 onwards

Click for the history of a particular School in the drop down menu below or scroll down the page for the full history of the Schools in the village.

Before the Education Act of 1870 national government took little or no part in the organisation of education, and as county councils did not come into existence until 1889, the provision, maintenance and running of schools was entirely in the hands of parishes and in some cases of private individuals.

Although the Church played a large part in the administration of education at this time, the entire expense of the schools was borne at parish level by means of a voluntary school rate, voluntary subscriptions and the payment of fees by the parents of children attending the schools.

These fees, called at the time "school pence," were required to be brought by the child at the beginning of each week as a condition of admittance to school-a necessary precaution if wholesale non-payment of fees was to be avoided. When the fees were increased by 1d per week in 1884 this met much resistance from parents, many of whom refused to send the increase. At the Heath School, for example, 13 children were sent home on 9 June, 1884 for not having brought the increased fee, and there was further absenteeism during the ensuing weeks. Formerly the fees had been graded into three categories according to the means of the parents (labourers, tradesmen and dairymen, and farmers), but as a result of the resistance to the increase a new fee scale came into operation in 1885. This was based on the old fee scale but at the same level for all categories-for the two eldest children of a family 2d. each per week, with half refunded at the end of the year if an attendance of 75% or more had been maintained, and Id. each for the remainder of the same family, but without a refund. This arrangement continued until 1891 when the Free Education Bill became law and school fees were abolished.

Before 1891 the national average cost of educating a child in a voluntary school was £1 16s. 3d. per annum, but Bere Regis and Kingston proudly claimed to achieve the more economical rate of £1 13s. Od. per child per annum.

On 1 June, 1903 the county council took over the administration of the three parish schools-the boys' school at Barrow Hill, the girls' school at Shitterton and the mixed school at Chamberlaynes, although the upkeep of the three buildings remained the responsibility of the parish until 1929 when the new council school at Rye Hill was opened and the three old parish schools ceased to be recognised as such and were closed.

Scholarships for secondary education were first introduced in 1896, and Morton Eaton of the boys' school was the first child from this parish to be awarded one in 1899.

The Education Act of 1870 seems to have required, among other things, the keeping of log books for all schools, and these are now a valuable source of reference. Those for the boys school, in three volumes, covering the years 1870-1929, the heath school, in four volumes (1875-1929) and the present primary school in one volume (1929-1965), are now all safely housed in the County Record Office, but unfortunately the log books for the Shitterton girls' school are missing. The last Mistress, Miss Wells, is reputed to have kept almost as many domestic pets as there were girls in the school, and the log books are said to have fallen victim to one or more of her dogs.

Some information on schools in the parish before 1870 can be obtained from old trade directories which first appeared for Dorset in 1823, and continued afterwards at approximately five yearly intervals. From 1846 to 1855 Miss Louisa Shepherd was mistress of a `ladies school' (additional to the girls' school at Shitterton which is also mentioned) and by 1859 she was still living in the village but apparently in retirement. Another school was functioning before 1870, under its master Charles Stevenson, described in 1865 as a boarding and day school, and in 1867 as an academy. In 1855 Henry Stroud ran a day school and insurance business and Mrs. Rebecca Taylor ran a boarding school.

As an aside, there is an interesting article that appeared in 1846, in the Provincial Surgical & Medical Journal. It's about a school pupil with an interesting medical ailment. Click the Picture below to read it -

In 1851 there appear to have been several schools in the parish to quote Hunt and Co.'s directory for that year-"here is an endowed school for educating and clothing 7 poor boys belonging to the parish, and several daily schools, some of which beside instructing in reading and writing, teach the children to make wire shirt-buttons, hence termed `buttoning schools,' there is also a National school at Shitterton an adjacent hamlet."

A button making industry flourished in Bere Regis, and Milborne St. Andrew during the nineteenth century, and the `buttoning schools' referred to were probably set up by the manufacturers with the prime object of making buttons, but with a small amount of education thrown in.

In 1871 a schoolroom was built on the site of the present Congregational Church in Butt Lane for the benefit of children of nonconformist families, and continued to function as such at least until 1882 and probably until 1892 when work commenced on converting it to its present use. Such establishments seem to have been called either `independent' or 'British' schools, and the Butt Lane school is referred to in 1875 and 1880 when the mistresses were Miss Jane Sheppard and Miss Jane Wilkins respectively. This school was probably for younger children only, as there are several items in the boy's school log book concerning boys admitted from the Butt Lane school from time to time.

From 1885 to 1898 a preparatory school, run by Miss Ellen E. Scutt is referred to, but she seems to have retired in 1903 and to have been living in North Street. In the 1906 and 1908 registers of electors her address is given as 97 North Street, and suggests that this was the house which had been used as the preparatory school before her retirement.

There is an old school building, now used as an outbuilding, at the rear of 77 West Street. Its walls are of chalk cob, but the apexes of the gables are in thinner brickwork, suggesting that the roof might have been originally hipped and thatched. There was a fireplace at each end, and one of the two centrally placed entrance doors was bricked up many years ago. Most of the plastered ceiling has disappeared, the rear wall has been rebuilt, and the earlier windows have been recently replaced. It is traditionally believed to have been a school, and its ceiling height of llft. 5in. (3.5m) is consistent with such a use, being much too high for a dwelling, and could have been one of the unidentifiable schools referred to in old trade directories. In Isaac Taylor's 1777 survey of the manor the property is described as a "house and garden etc.," tenanted by William Fry, although this description might have referred to the property as a whole rather than to this building in particular.

 

Girls' & Infants' School in Shitterton

The girls' and infants' school at Shitterton formerly belonged to the Whatcombe estate, in common with the remainder of this part of the parish. The building was let to the parish at a nominal rent, and upon its closure as a school in 1929 reverted to the Briantspuddle estate of which it then formed part. The walls were of chalk cob on a brick plinth and the roof was slated. The main schoolroom was divided into two sections by a sliding-folding partially glazed partition which was opened for assemblies and other functions. The two projecting portions at the rear are of lean-to form and were probably later additions to the original building, that at the south end having formed the infants entrance and cloakrooms. The larger projecting portion at the north end comprised the main entrance, cloakroom, and a room which served a number of purposes at different periods, including classroom, cookery room, and in later times a library. A door in the front at the south end is said not to have been generally used, but it may have been the main entrance in former times before the rear portions were added. According to old parish magazines village meetings and entertainments sometimes took place in the school, and this old front door would doubtless have proved useful on such occasions. The playground was at the rear and the headmistress's house adjoined the entrance passageway on the north. Click the photo below to see the old school building -

The age of the original building is difficult to determine due to so many subsequent alterations, but it existed in 1844. Considerable alterations appear to have been undertaken in 1870 according to an entry in the boys' school log book for 14 March of that year: "Owing to some alterations the girls school began to be held in an adjoining house."

These alterations appear to have been sufficient to warrant complete evacuation and probably involved raising the roof level and enlargement of windows to comply with provisions in the 1870 Education Act. Similar alterations were carried out later the same year on the boy's school, and the remaining old windows of both buildings appear to be of similar construction and date.

Soon after the closure of the school in 1929 it was occupied as a temporary dwelling, but in 1947 the building was sold and adapted as a dwelling by the new owner. The main schoolroom was partitioned to form a sitting room and bedrooms, the infants cloakroom became a bathroom, and the rear projection at the north end was adapted to form a kitchen with the old cloakroom forming a larder. In addition the floor was raised in order to decrease the sill height of the front windows, the door in the front wall and two rear windows in the main room were bricked up. a ceiling was installed at a lower level, and the walls were pebble-dash rendered externally. Later alterations have included replacement of the old roofing slates by tiles, replacement of the two smaller windows on the front and the addition of a conservatory at the rear.

The numbers of children attending the school varied considerably over the years-in 1894 for example there was a total of 94, made up of 40 girls and 54 infants, whilst in 1899 the numbers had dropped to 36 girls and 41 infants totaling 77. As the school log book has not survived, few further statistics are available. The numbers had again risen to 94 by 1906, but a group photograph of the school taken in about 1920 shows a total of only 33, which could possibly be accounted for by absentees on the day when the photograph was taken.

The school was normally staffed by a headmistress and an infants teacher, whose salaries in 1887 were £53 and £30 10s. per annum respectively. In common with the other schools in the parish pupil teachers and monitors were employed as assistants when available or when the parish could afford them, but during lean times a solitary mistress was often required to cope single handed with the whole school. The following list of headmistresses is compiled from trade directories, old parish magazines and recollections of former pupils:

1841 Ann Lockyer (from 1841 census)
1851 - 1852 Mary Bishop
1859 - 1865 Mrs Susan Stroud
1867 Miss Medhurst
1871 Mrs Miller
1875 Miss Alice Miller
1880 Miss Elizabeth Cross
1882 Miss White
1882 - 1887 Miss Emma Huse
1888 - 1892 Miss Matilda Weare
1893 - 1895 Miss Amy Cozens
1896 - 1898 Miss Churchhouse
1898 - 1899 Miss Alice Brown
1899 - 1901 Miss Frances Walden
1902 Miss Alice Hemery
1909 Miss K H Malpas
1909-1925 Miss Amelia Hallam (formerly at Bere Heath School)
1925-1929 Miss Wells


Barrow Hill Boys' School

The original boy's school at Barrow Hill was built in 1719 and the original date stone still appears in the west gable inscribed:

BERE SCHOOL
ENDOWED BY
THOS. WILLIAMS ESQ.
A.D. 1719

Thomas Williams lived at Shitterton and at this date he founded the Williams Charity and this school with the main object of clothing and teaching six poor boys of the parish, preferably from Shitterton. The charity foundation itself is dealt with more fully in the webpage on parish charities.

The school building which is L-shaped on plan comprised a central entrance hall and cloakroom giving access to the main schoolroom on the south and, a smaller junior classroom on the north, and has been but little altered since its closure in 1929. The main room remains unchanged except for the insertion of a doorway to the rear in the north east corner, but the cloak-room and smaller classroom now form the kitchen and sitting room of a flat, the two bedrooms of which have been formed from a section on the ground floor of the master's house immediately adjoining on the north. The master's house was built in 1721, about two years later than the school itself. The whole building is of brick with the exception of the south and west sides of the main room which are cement rendered. Click the image below to see an old photo of the school -

In 1870 considerable alterations were undertaken, as at the girls' school, presumably to comply with provisions in the 1870 Education Act. Although the log book is not specific as to exactly what was done, it would appear that the main schoolroom was completely rebuilt. References are made to "the new schoolroom" and to the boys being accommodated temporarily in another room or building whilst the work was in progress, suggesting that the new room was built on the site of the old one. This is corroborated by Isaac Taylor's 1777 map of the manor on which the original school building appears to resemble the present one in both shape and size.

In the early days of the school the master was provided with a house and a small salary from the charity funds for teaching the six 'charity-boys', but in addition he could take normal fee paying pupils in order to supplement his income. About 100 years later this seems still to have been the case, when in 1823 the master, Mr. Hawker, received an annual salary of £10 and 'took other children for whom he was paid." There is an eighteenth century family notebook formerly kept by the Goulds of woodbury Hill who were carpenters and builders in the village for several generations. In it there are two references to this school:

November ye 3 1729 Henery Gould went to skooll upon Mr. Williams account.
1730 Sansom Gould went to Mr. Williams skooll about ye begining of June.

The charity-boys of the school were allocated a special seat in the church, and this is referred to in the old churchwarden's accounts under the date 31 May, 1733 recording decisions taken at a parish meeting:

And it is agreed and ordered that the Lower Seat in the South West Corner of the Church shall be for the use of Mr. Williams's Charity Boys and Schoolmaster for the time being.

The six charity-boys appear to have been nominated annually, according to an entry in the log book for 1887 when six boys are named as being the charity-boys for that year, but presumably this procedure ceased in 1891 when the Free Education Bill abolished school fees for all children in parish schools. Click the image below to see an old photo of the school -

The log books which commence in 1870 give many interesting details of the school during its last sixty years. Before 1920 the school was staffed by a qualified headmaster who was normally assisted by a pupil teacher. A pupil teacher would teach the junior end of the school in return for a small salary and tuition, before or after school hours, from the headmaster with a view to eventual `certification' as a teacher. Several of the successive pupil teachers at the boys school qualified in this way, but there were times when a pupil teacher could not be procured and the headmaster was required to cope with the whole school single handed apart from the doubtful assistance of one or perhaps two senior boys who acted as monitors. It was also the practice for the vicar and curate to work a rota system in giving one or two religious instruction lessons per week at each of the three parish schools.

One of the greatest difficulties facing staff at this period was wholesale absenteeism particularly among senior boys who would supplement their family incomes by working on farms or indulging in other seasonal occupations whenever such opportunities arose. The log books make continual references to absenteeism and give the principal reasons, which crop up each year in due season, as haymaking, harvesting, potato planting, potato picking, pea picking, acorn picking, nutting, gardening, picking primroses, picking blackberries and beating for shooting parties. In particular, getting in the harvest seems to have been generally accepted as more important than attending school. Even small children who were not actually engaged in the harvesting itself were kept away from school in order to take meals to other members of their families who were working in the fields. The summer holiday at this time was in fact called the harvest holiday, and early or late harvests had the effect of lengthening the holiday at one end or the other. In addition to illness and the frequently serious epidemics of measles, mumps, scarlet fever, and diphtheria (the latter two involved complete closure of all three parish schools on a number of occasions), bad weather had serious effects on attendance when long distances on foot were involved, causing the master to note despondently in the log book that if the weather was bad the younger boys stayed away, and if it was good the older ones went out to work in the fields. Both the boys' school master and the heath school mistress continually refer to a lack of support from the school managers and the attendance officer whose first exhortations to parents seem generally to have been unavailing, and in 1898 when the parents of two persistent absentees were brought to court, the case was dismissed much to the frustration of the master. Click the image below to see an old photo of the school -

Apart from the usual summer, Christmas, Easter and Whitsun holidays, other special holidays were given, and sometimes taken for special local events. It was the custom to grant a holiday in the parish schools on the occasion of Woodbury Hill Fair, and in earlier days a week's holiday appears to have been given at on this account when the fair lasted that long. In later times when the fair had diminished to a two day event, the school holiday was shortened accordingly, although a week was still being given at the boys' school as late as 1881. On some occasions when the boys took an unauthorised holiday it was legalised at short notice or even anticipated:

1878 November 22. Half holiday on Friday on account of Purchase's collection of wax work visiting the village.
1879 November 14. The Foxhounds having met in the village and the greater number of the boys being absent the Revd. Langford gave a holiday to the whole school.

Although there were 59 boys on the register in 1872 when numbers were first recorded in the log book, and thE same number in 1929 when the school closed, they varied considerably over the years between, from a maximum of 74 in 1898 to a minimum of 34 in 1920. Before 1903 when the parish was responsible for the schools, the school accounts appeared at intervals in the parish magazine, and in 1887 when the magazine first appeared, the master's annual salary was £80. The following list of headmasters is taken from information in old trade directories and the log books, and is notable for one long term of office and one very short one. Job Bugby was headmaster for 38 years, whereas William Dalton held the post for only four months, and even this short period included the summer holiday. He had been taken seriously ill and resigned as a result, although he evidently recovered according to an entry in the log book nearly 40 years later:

"1921, April 18th - School today visited by Revd. William Dalton, who was master here in 1883"

HeadMasters of the School (with a few gpas in our knowledge)

1763 Thomas Robins (died in March 1763)
1823 - 1841 Mr Hawker (from 1841 census)
1851 - 1867 Robert Rolls (from 1851 census & directories)
10th Jan 1870 - 16th Aug 1872 John Stephens
30th Sept 1872 - 2nd July 1875 Henry Webb
5th July 1875 - 2nd Aug 1878 William Bland Taylor
9th Sept 1878 - 13th July 1883 George House
16th July - 9th Nov 1883 William Dalton
26th Nov 1883 - 9th Aug 1889 Charles Hiscock
16th Sept 1889 - 31st Dec 1927 Job Bugby
9th Jan 1928 - 30th July 1929 Harold Chambers Whiteside

The following Log-Book notes were made by Frederick Pitfield in the 1970s, when he was researching his book, but are not complete transcripts of those Log-Books.

First Log Book (1870 - 1896)

1870
Jan 10 - Mr John Stephens entered upon his new duties on this day. There were present 19.
Jan 25 - The workmen began to make the playground.
Mar 14 - Owing to some alterations the girls school began to be held in an adjoining house.
Mar 24 - The wall of the yard commenced.
Apr 07 - Pupil teacher mentioned.
March - Average attendance for past year: 15. "Evening school" in addition to day school (average attendance for past year evening school: 30).
May 04 - The new school-room began.
Jun 20 - Rev. F. Warre paid a short visit to the room in which the school will be held until the new one is completed.
Jun 24 - Two of the charity boys referred to.
Jul 07 - Boys from Bloxworth appear to have attended this school.
Sep 26 - Opened school after vacation in the new room. Boy from Kingston referred to.
Oct 07 - Holiday given in order that the workmen may be enabled to work in the school. Rev D. Jenkins (curate?) seems to have taught scripture on some occasions, as well as the vicar.
Dec 08 - 41 present for an exam.

1871
Mar 13 - It seems that the previous master had not been "certificated".
Mar 20 - The Pupil-Teacher is William H. House, in 1st year.
April - Potato planting causes absenteeism. Average attendance 29, evening school 48.
May 22 - Robert Torreville mentioned as a pupil.
Jul 21 - Pea-picking causes absenteeism.
Jul 26 - "Choir treat" referred to.
Aug 11 - Harvesting causes absenteeism. (Summer holiday called "harvest holidays")
Oct 02 - Potato picking causes absenteeism.

1872
Feb 29 - Year ending exam report. Seems to be 43 presented (including 4 infants) and 38 presented for evening school.
Jun 21 - Haymaking causes absenteeism.
Sep 30 - "Commenced duties as Master. Henry Webb."
Oct 18 - 48 present.
Nov 08 - Appears to be 59 on the register.

1873
Mar 07 - 60 boys present.
Mar 28 - Henry House, Pupil-Teacher, in 4th year.
Apr 04 - Seems to be 61 on roll.
Jul 11 - Holiday on Tuesday in consequence of the re-opening of Kingston Church.
Oct 03 - Rev E.M. Clements seems to be replacing Rev D. Jenkins.
Oct 24 - There was a holiday on Tuesday afternoon, it being the day appointed for the Consecration of the additional burying ground.

1874
Feb 27 - Boys only appear to have attended evening classes which were limited to winter months - Sept to end of Feb/early March.
Mar 27 - 57 boys were in attendance (for school inspector).
Apr 17 - Pupil-teacher is named as William House.
Jul 03 - Picking pears causes absenteeism.
Jul 16 - 50 boys present in the afternoon.
Sept - The School was closed for a week in consequence of Woodbury Hill Fair.
Sep 30 - Holiday in the afternoon - a bazaar being held in Aid of the Heath School building Fund.
Oct 30 - (for past week) 58 were present in all.
Nov 06 - Scarlet fever in village.

1875
Jan 22 - William H. House, pupil-teacher, left, having completed his term of engagement.
Feb 05 - Scarlet fever broken out again.
Mar 05 - 54 boys present for an exam.
Apr 06 - From report - no pupil-teacher mentioned.
Apr 16 - No. on the books = 67.
May 14 - H.P. Tozer commenced as monitor on Thursday. No on register 69.
Jul 02 - Resigned charge of the School, Henry Webb, July 2nd 1875.
Jul 05 - William Bland Taylor took charge of the school; he is certificated, First Year, second Division.
Jul 09 - No. on register 71.
Jul 23 - No. on register 73.
Sep 17 - No. on register 72.
Oct 08 - Rev R.M. Hobson appears to be replacing Rev E.M. Clements.
Nov 19 - Acorn & potato picking causes absenteeism.

1876
Jan 14 - No. on register 66.
Mar 17 - Only 27 present on Thursady - owing to the foxhounds meeting in Bere Regis.
Jun 01 - George Wellstead began as Monitor.
Jun 19 - (report of Feb 29) Pitt Tozer and George Wellstead quoted as monitors.
Jun 30 - Haymaking causes absenteeism.
Jul 07 - R. Torreville left school to work. No on register 61
Aug 04 - Rev J.F. Langford (vicar) occurs & Rev W.O.B. Allen seems to be the new curate.
Sep 29 - No on register 58.
Oct 13 - Re-admitted Robert Torreville.
Oct 20 - Number on register 66.
Nov 10 - 14 boys away with measles.
Dec 08 - School closed on Monday afternoon, Dec 4th, on account of part of ceiling falling down.

1877
Jan 12 - Number on register 67. Admitted Walter Sheppard from Butt Lane school.
Feb 09 - Admitted John Battrick.
Mar 23 - Admitted G. Langdown from Butt Lane school.
Apr 20 - A. Moore began as monitor this week.
Apr 27 - (from report) G. Wellstead and Arthur Moore referred to as monitors.
May 25 - Robert Torreville seems to have left.
Sep 24 - Holiday in the afternoon on account of the burial of Police Constable who was killed.
Oct 05 - Nutting and potato picking causes absenteeism. 56 on register.
Dec 20 - 66 on register.

1878
Jan 11 - Rev A Thorndyke appears to be new curate. On register; 65.
Mar 29 - 69 on register.
Feb 28 - (report) G. Wellstead & Arthur Moore Pupil-Teachers.
May 03 - 72 on register.
Aug 02 - "I have resigned charge of School"; W.B. Taylor.
Sep 09 - "Commenced duties as Master"; George House, Winchester D.T. College.
Sep 13 - 62 on register. Harvest causes absenteeism.
Nov 22 - Half holiday on Friday on account of Purchase's collection of wax-work visiting the village.

1879
Mar 28 - Children very excited on account of a fire on Black Hill.
Feb 28 - (report) Pupil-Teachers as for last year.
Aug 22 - 48 on the register.
Sep 29 - Only 24 present - harvest not yet complete.
Oct 24 - Many boys still engaged in the fields.
Nov 14 - The Foxhounds having met in the village and the greater number of the boys being absent the Rev Langford gave a holiday to the whole school.
Nov 17 - Foxhounds met again - school finished early.

1880
Jan 23 - Rev W.P. Schuster appears to be the new curate.
Mar 12 - 40 boys present for an exam.
Mar 25 - Many boys working in gardens and fields.
Feb 29 - (report) William House will shortly receive certification.
Apr 20 - Arthur Moore, Pupil-Teacher in his 3rd year.
Apr 27 - 51 boys were present on Tuesday morning.
Jul 02 - Many boys engaged in hayfields.
Aug 13 - Harvesting causes absenteeism.
Oct 29 - Wombwell's menagerie in the village.

1881
Jan 03 - Walter House left, having gone as Pupil-Teacher at the Melksham Boys' School.
Apr 01 - Boys engaged in gardens and fields, potato planting
Apr 06 - (report) Arthur Moore is Pupil-Teacher.
Apr 29 - Rev W. Doyle appears to be new curate.
Jul 08 - Rev P.B. Talbot appears to be new curate.
Sep - Woodbury Hill fair appears to occupy a week.
Sep 26 - (and 27th) Four boys admitted from Butt Lane school.
Sep 30 - Revs P.B. Talbot & P. Schuster referred to.
Dec 09 - Revs Talbot and Schuster referred to.

1882
Jan 20 - Revs Talbot and Schuster referred to.
Jan 27 - Revs Talbot & Schuster referred to.
Feb 01 - School closed on account of the Consecration of the Burial Ground.
Feb 24 - Revs Schuster & Talbot referred to (Rev W.P. Schuster appears to be deputising for the vicar).
Apr 15 - (report) A.G. Moore, Pupil-Teacher on 5th year.
May 01 - In the afternoon the school was closed on account of the funeral of Miss White mistress of the Girls School who died of diabetes after four days illness.
May 05 - Admitted Fred & Harvey Lockyer from Butt Lane British School.
Jun 05 - Vicar, Rev J.F.L. appears to have returned. (Several more boys admitted from Butt Lane school at various times).
Nov 13 - Purchase's wax-works exhibition again in the village.
Dec 05 - 48 boys present for an exam.

1883
Mar 12 - 50 boys present at school.
Apr 02 - (report) A.G. Moore passed exam and is now referred to as assistant.
May 25 - A.G. Moore having completed apprenticeship has left to become assistant master at Penshurst, Kent. Walter House from Melksham Boys School has taken his place.
May 28 - Three boys sent home for not bringing fee.
Jul 13 - Rev R. Wing appears to be new curate. "Resigned charge of School"; Geo House, July 13th 1883.
Jul 16 - "Took charge of School today"; William Dalton.
Nov 09 - Master (W. Dalton) taken seriously ill.
Nov 23 - (week ending) No school due to master's illness.
Nov 27 - "Took charge of the School yesterday (Monday Nov 26th); Charles Hiscock.
Dec 31 - Mr William Dalton owing to continued ill health resigned Dec 21. Temporary appointment of Chas Hiscock made permanent.

1884
Jan 25 - Dimensions of schoolroom & classroom:-
Schoolroom: Length: 35.75 feet, Breadth: 16.75 feet, Height: 13 feet.
Classroom: Length: 15 feet, Breadth: 14 feet, Height: 10.5 feet.
May 26 - (at a school committee meeting) Agreed:- (1) that the old fees paid at the Boys School should be enforced, viz 2d for the first child, 1d for second child (of labourers) 3d for the first child, 2d for second (of tradesmen & diarymen - but not journeymen). 6d for the first child & 3d for the second child (of Farmers & others with a rental of £50 gross). (2) that the extra fee of 1d a week is to be paid by the two elder children of all classes attending school, which extra fee will be returned with a bonus of 1/- to those present at the Examination if they have attended three fourths of the number of times which the School has been opened.
Jul 18 - 48 boys on the register.
Jul 22 - (report) Walter House, Pupil-Teacher on 4th year.
Oct 14 - Sent Harry Brown home in the morning for additional penny of School Fee as he only brought 2d instead of 3d.
Oct 31 - Pupil-Teacher given lessons from master 4.15 - 5.15pm each day instead of 7.00 - 8.00am as in summer months.

1885
Jan 09 - 45 boys on the books.
May 15 - Pupil-Teacher Walter House left school as he had finished his apprenticeship. Went as assistant master to Melksham Boys' School.
Jun 01 - Two older boys to act as monitors in place of Pupil-Teacher.
Jun 24 - Rev R.P. Wing visited.
Oct 02 - School fee reduced to 2d per week for all children except in families of three or more where eldest two pay 2d, remainder 1d per week. Half 2d fee returned for those with 75% or more attendance.
Oct 30 - 51 on register (more than for 2 years past).
Nov 13 - Beating the covers for the hunt causes absenteeism.

1886
Jan 04 - 51 on the register but only 30 present.
May 07 - 48 on the register
May 28 - 54 boys on the register.
Sep 27 - 57 on the register, but only 40 present.
Dec 03 - Rev Farrer visited.

1887
Jan 21 - 51 boys on register
Aug 05 - Average 32 present, with 46 on the books. The Charity Boys this year are: T. Lane, W. Hewitt, W. Brown, H. Chapman, A. Langdown and G. Cobb.
Sep 26 - 46 on the register, but only 34 present.

1888
Feb 17 - There are 44 on the register.
Sep 24 - Holiday on Friday for Woodbury Hill Fair.
Sep 28 - 47 boys on the register.

1889
Feb 11 - Thomas Lane returned to the School to act as a Paid Monitor.
Mar 01 - 48 boys on the register.
Jun 05 - 60 boys on register.
Jun 29 - 62 on the register
Jul 05 - 63 boys on the register
Aug 09 - "Resigned charge of this School Aug 9th 1889"; Charles Hiscock.
Sep 16 - "Commenced duties as Master"; Job Bugby
Sep 23 - One day holiday for Woodbury Hill Fair.
Dec 02 - School closed due to diptheria epidemic.
Dec 30 - School re-opened.

1890
Jan 03 - 59 on register.
Feb 10 - Mention of Miss Wear, the girls school mistress. Between 10th Feb and 10th March, the school was closed again due to diphtheria.
Jul 11 - Diphtheria still in evidence.
Sep 19 - 50 on register, but average for week of only 25.2 present.
Sep 22 - (and 23rd Sept) No school owing to Woodbury Hill Fair.

1891
Jan 09 - 50 boys on the register.
Feb 13 - Monitor mentioned.
Apr - Potato planting and helping in garden causes absenteeism.
Jun 05 - John Crofts commenced duties as Pupil-Teacher.
Jun 19 - 55 boys on the register.
Sep - Monday 21st & Tuesday 22nd: School closed due to Woodbury Hill Fair.

1892
Jan 08 - 54 boys on the register.

1893
Jan 13 - 49 boys on the register.
Feb 03 - 52 on the register.
Sep 08 - 56 boys on the register.
Sep - Thurs 23rd & Fri 24th: School closed due to Woodbury Hill Fair.
Oct 13 - Picking up acorns and nuts caused absenteeism.

1894
Jan 12 - 56 boys on the register.
Jun 01 - 63 on the register.
Jun - (report) Pupil-Teacher must not serve more than 25 hours per week.

1895
Jan 11 - 58 boys on the register.
Sep 13 - 66 on the register.

1896
Jan 10 - 67 boys on the register.
Feb 07 - Pupil-Teacher (John Crofts) terminated his engagement. The temporary monitor is Tom Marsh.
Apr 10 - Miss Florence Barnes commenced as assistant.
Apr 30 - Log Book ends on April 30th 1896), new book commences W.E. May 8.

 

Second Log Book (1896 - 1909)

1896
May 08 - "Monitress" referred to (presumably Miss Barnes).
Jun 12 - Charles Torreville left school.
Sep 11 - 66 boys on the register. Charles George and Bertie Eaton left to attend a Secondary school.
Sep 04 - (report) Miss Florence Barnes referred to as assistant.
Sep 25 - Two-day fair with school closed.

1897
Apr 16 - Assistant appears to have left.
May 14 - Monitor referred to.
Apr 30 - Ernest Marsh monitor.
Jul 30 - Charles Toreville admitted whilst on visit for a few days.
Sep 06 - 57 present at school.
Sep 04 - 70 boys on the register.

1898
Jan 21 - 68 boys on the register.
Mar 11 - Picking primroses causes absenteeism.
Jun 17 - 72 boys on the register. The parent of two of the boys attending the worst was summoned: result: case dismissed.
Sep 09 - 74 boys on the register.
Sep 23 - Fair on Wed & Thur 21st & 22nd.

1899
Apr 30 - (report) Ernest Marsh, Pupil-Teacher on first year.
Jul 28 - 72 boys on the register.
Sep 15 - Picking blackberries causes absenteeism.
Sep - Woodbury Hill Fair on Thur 21st & Fri 22nd.
Nov 17 - Beating for shooting party causes absenteeism.

1900
Feb 23 - 68 boys on register.
Apr 30 - (report) Ernest James Marsh is Pupil-Teacher. It would be very desireable, in order that the existing classroom may be utilized, that the stone floor should be replaced by a wooden one.
Sep 07 - School renovated including new block floor in classroom.

1901
Jan 11 - 59 boys on the register.
Apr 19 - (week-ending) Average attendance 31 out of 59. In higher standards Wed p.m. only 5 out of 22 "Picking Flowers" seems to have been cause.
Sep 06 - 63 boys on the register.
Sep 27 - (week-ending) Woodbury Hill Fair on Monday (no school)
Oct 04 - Attendance bad. If weather is bad little ones stay away, if weather is good, big boys go out working.

1902
Jan 10 - 54 boys on register.
Apr 18 - Picking primroses causes absenteeism.
Apr 30 - (report) Attendance unsatisfactory - daily average quarter of number on register away. Pupil-Teacher (3rd year) is Ernest James Marsh.
Jul 04 - Whooping cough causes absenteeism.
Jul 11 - Haymaking causes absenteeism.
Jul 25 - Hoeing roots causes absenteeism.
Sep 12 - After harvest-holidays - many boys away.
Sep 19 - Boys still away helping with the harvest.
Sep 26 - (week-ending) No school Mon & Tues owing to Woodbury Hill Fair.
Oct 17 - Picking potatoes causes absenteeism.

1903
Jan 09 - 55 boys on register.
Jan 16 - Beating for the Hunt causes absenteeism.
Apr 30 - (report) Pupil-Teacher (3rd year) is Ernest James Marsh.
Sep 25 - (week-ending) No school Mon & Tues owing to Woodbury Hill Fair.

1904
Jan 08 - 50 boys on the register.
May 06 - Pupil-Teacher to leave at end of month having failed exam. Authorities unwilling to authorise stipend.
Jun 10 - The County Education Committee: sanctioned the engagement of pupil-teacher at salary of 35£ per annum.
Jul 29 - Engagement of Ernest Marsh terminates at end of July.
Sep 09 - Ernest Marsh still assisting.
Sep 23 - (week-ending) School closed Wed & Thurs on account of Woodbury Hill Fair. Rev F. Ball appears to be curate (has been for some time).
Sep 30 - 100% attendance on Friday morning.

1905
Jan 13 - 57 boys on register.
Jun 09 - Assistant leaving at end of month.
Jun 30 - Ernest Marsh's engagement terminated today. Mrs T. Sheppard to assist during July.
Jul 07 - Rev W. Newman appears to be curate.
Jul 28 - Dorset County Council Education Committee have agreed to engagement of Mrs T. Sheppard as assistant.
Sep 22 - (week-ending) No school Thurs & Fri owing to Woodbury Hill Fair.

1906
Jan 12 - 60 boys on register.
Sep 21 - (week-ending) School closed Friday for Woodbury Hill Fair.

1907
Jan 11 - 56 boys on the register.
Sep 20 - (week-ending) Attendance not so good owing to the fair.
Sep 27 - (week-ending) No school Mon & Tues owing to Woodbury Hill Fair.

1908
Jan 10 - 53 boys on the register.
Sep 25 - (week-ending) No school Mon & Tues owing to Woodbury Hill Fair.

1909
Jan 15 - 61 boys on the register.
Jul 16 - Edward Amey is still away having attended 13 times in 8 weeks. He is at work (brick making).
Jul 30 - (week-ending) 59 boys on register. Log-Book ends.

 

Third Log Book (1809 - 1929)

The first ten years of this log-book show that absenteeism amongst the boys was rife. Reasons include bad weather, snow, flooding etc., gardening in spring, haymaking, beating for the Hunt, potato harvesting, blackberry picking, picking up acorns, and mangold pulling, besides "working illegally".

1909
Aug 06 - Commencement of new log book.
Sep - 65 boys on the register.

1910
Sep - 69 boys on the register.

1911
Sep - 72 boys on the register.

1912
Sep - 65 boys on the register.

1913
Sep - 57 boys on the register.

1914
Sep - 53 boys on the register.

1915
Sep - 49 boys on the register.
Oct - Percie Hewitt left the school as a pupil aged 14 years
Nov - Assistant master left to enlist having just passed his teaching exams.

1916
Jan - Percie Hewitt commenced as monitor.
Feb 01 - Bertie Boyt started as a pupil-teacher.
Apr 30 - Assistant Master, having returned to school as he was not accepted for the Army, left for another teaching post.
Jun - Percie Hewitt passed his pupil-teacher exam.
Aug 01 - Percie Hewitt started as pupil-teacher.
Sep - 47 boys on the register.


1917
Sep - 37 boys on the register.

1918
Sep - 40 boys on the register.

1919
May 12 - The photographer came to photograph the boys.
Jun 26 - Received the photos of the boys.
Sep - 40 boys on the register.

1920
Feb 03 - Workmen commenced repair of buildings. (work seems to have been of a minor nature).
Jun - Pupil-Teacher's exams: Percie Hewitt passed, Bertie Boyt failed.
Jul 16 - The scholars were photographed.
Jul 23 - The Pupil-Teacher (Percie Hewitt) brought his work to a conclusion having been appointed as an assistant in Swanage Council School.
Sep 01 - Bertie House started as Pupil-Teacher. 34 boys on the register.
Nov 08 - Mr Thomas, an uncertificated supply teacher arrived as assistant.

1921
Apr 18 - School today visited by Rev W. Dalton who was the master here in 1883.
Jun 17 - The scholars were photographed.
Jul 27 - Mr Thomas, the assistant, left the school.
Sep - 40 boys on the register.
Sep 19 - Miss Yarde commenced duties.
Oct 17 - No water for the school or school-house as the well was dry. (The summer of 1921 had been exceptionally dry).
Note: There was a pupil-teacher in addition to assistant from 1920.
Note: Attendance seems to have been much better since the war - reasons for absence not mentioned in this period.

1922
Sep - 46 boys on the register.

1923
Feb 13 - Heard that H.V. Lucas would be recognized as a pupil-teacher.
Apr 10 - Victor Lucas commenced his duties as a pupil-teacher
Aug 31 - Bertie House finished his work as a pupil-teacher
Sep - 45 boys on the register.

1924
Jul 21 - Heard that Robert Lockyer had won a scholarship.
Sep - 43 boys on the register.
Oct 24 - The boys were photographed today.

1925
Feb 11 - Teachers (plural) referred to.
Apr 06 - The Assistant (Miss Yarde) referred to.
Sep - 53 boys on the register.
Oct 02 - The boys were photographed today.

1926
Mar 31 - The Pupil-Teacher (V. Lucas) terminated his apprenticeship today, having taken the Prelim Cert Exam one year in advance and passing with Distinction in Arithmatic, Music and Geography.
Mar 29 - School inspected. The report said that of the 51 boys who attend the school, the Headmaster teaches 33 in 5 age groups. Owing to the classroom being dull and draughty, the remaining class is taught in the same room by an Assistant.
Jun 17 - Classroom (ie small room) appears to have been used as a tool room for gardening.
Sep - 51 boys on the register.

1927
May 03 - The Assistant (Miss Yarde) referred to.
Sep - 53 boys on the register.
Dec 31 - "Resigned charge of school"; Job Bugby.

1928
Jan 09 - "Mr H.C. Whiteside commences duties as Head Master".
Apr 24 - Miss Yarde mentioned.
Sep - 60 boys on register.
Dec 03 - Mr Henry Harvey commenced duties as Uncertificated Teacher.

1929
Jul 30 - School closed (finally) at mid-day before the summer holidays. There were 59 boys on the register.

At the closure of the school in 1929 Mr. Whiteside became headmaster of the new county school at Rye Hill.

 

Bere Heath School

Towards the south of the parish, the heath school and mistress's house at Chamberlaynes were built by the parish in 1874 and opened on il January, 1875 as a result of the 1870 Education Act which required, among other things, the provision of schools to serve areas remote from existing schools. The site had been leased from the Whatcombe estate and at the closure of the school in 1929 the site and buildings upon it reverted to the original owners, but with their co-operation the parish was able to sell the buildings and to invest the proceeds to provide an annual sum for Sunday school funds. Click the image below to see an old photo of the school from 1906 -

The original building did not include the infants classroom on the east side. The small room adjoining the two larger rooms served this purpose originally, and the parish seemed surprised when in 1893 H.M. School Inspector reported:

Bere Heath. The present classroom for infants is only 10 feet by 8 feet (3m x 2.4m); it is very small and inconvenient and needs enlargement (Rule 7a schedule vii).

The walls of the original building were constructed in concrete-probably the earliest example of the use of this material in the parish-and it was considered that the enlargement of this small room would be difficult. In the end it was decided to add an entirely new room 18 feet x 16 feet (5.4m x 4.8m) on the east side, and for the original small room to remain. The work, carried out by Mr. Pope of Milborne at a cost of £114, was promptly put in hand before the end of 1893 and completed early in the following year. Click the image below to see an old photo of the school from 1915 -

Two or three years after the school was closed in 1929 the buildings were converted into a group of three cottages. The mistress's house at the north end required little adaptation, but the school building itself underwent considerable alteration. The classrooms were high enough to permit the insertion of a new first floor to form two storeys under the original roof, with the addition of two semi-dormers above the west wall of the main classroom. The old main entrance door in the south west corner was bricked up and the original large windows were replaced by smaller ones to suit the new two storey form. The present centre cottage was formed from the old main classroom together with the original small infants room and a new portion built above it, whilst the south east cottage was formed from the 1893 infants classroom together with an entirely new two storey addition on the east side. Apart from the dormer windows on the west, all the original roofs which remain are tiled, whilst those portions added in 1931 are roofed with asbestos slates.

The log books are complete for the whole 55 years of the school's existence from 1875 to 1929 and they tell a similar story to that of the boys' school. In this remote area of scattered farms and cottages bad weather had an even more disastrous effect on attendance when many children had to walk long distances across fields liable to flooding. Absenteeism on account of agricultural work was even more rife at the heath school. Once one of the lady school managers gave a talk to the children on the importance of regular attendance, and yet only a short while later several boys were away from school beating for one of her husband's shooting parties! Click the image below to see an old photo of the school from 1917 -

Lack of discipline was another problem at this school where older boys often took advantage of a frail or ageing mistress, causing arrangements to be sometimes made for their transfer to the boys school in the village where discipline was rigorously enforced. Attempts to enforce discipline at the heath school were often resisted by parents, and in one case in 1913 a parent went so far as to strike the headmistress and was subsequently summoned for assault, bound over to keep the peace, and to pay costs of 8s. 3d. Absenteeism and a lack of discipline combined to have a bad effect on the work of the school, and when Miss Jane Dobson became headmistress in 1894 she remarked in the log book that the school was the most backward she had ever encountered.

As at the boys' school the number of children on the register fluctuated considerably over the years. The school was a mixed school and the numbers included boys, girls and infants. In 1875, the first year of the school's existence, there were 52 on the register, and this rose to a maximum of 63 in 1880. Then followed a general decline in numbers until 1899 when a low point of 32 was reached, and after another general rise to 52 in 1910 the numbers again declined to 30 in 1920, after which time they remained in the low 20's. The staffing arrangements were similar to those of the boys' school, where a pupil teacher or monitor assisted one qualified headmistress, who in 1887 received an annual salary of £55. The following list of headmistresses is taken from the log books:

1875 - 1876 Miss Clara Martin
1876 (Sept-Dec) Miss M A Pritchard
1877 - 1894 Miss Emma Susanna Horth
1894 - 1899 Miss Jane Dobson
1899 - 1905 Miss Anne Elizabeth Cotton
1905 - 1909 Mrs Amelia Hallam became headmistress of Shitterton)
1909 - 1923 Mrs Minnie Satchwill
1923 - 1924 Miss Elsie Martin (supply staff)
1924 - 1925 Miss Edith Mary Millard
1925 - 1928 Miss Dorothy Gardiner
1928 - 1929 Miss L Minchinton (supply staff)

 

Rye Hill School

The present county school at Rye Hill, built to replace the three old parish schools was opened on 16 September, 1929 for all children of school age within the parish, and a year later senior children from Winterborne Kingston were admitted also. At this time woodwork classes continued to be held in the old boys' school at Barrow Hill, but in 1935 a practical instruction building was added at the north end of the school divided into two rooms for cookery and woodwork classes. In the same year mains electricity was brought to the school. Shortly after the outbreak of the second world war, woodwork classes were discontinued and the woodwork room served as an additional classroom to cope with the increase in numbers resulting from the arrival of evacuated children from London. Click the image below to see an old photo of the school on an Open Day -

In 1938 part of a field adjoining the playground on the south was acquired and laid out to form a school garden, proving a useful source of fresh vegetables for the school canteen, particularly during the later war years. The school canteen was set up in 1942 for serving midday meals, and in 1944 the present kitchen was built in spite of difficulties in obtaining building materials.

The year 1953 saw a far-reaching change in the status of the school when it became a primary school taking children up to the age of eleven only. At this time the new cloakroom and lavatory block was added to the main building, replacing the old outside lavatories at the bottom of the playground, and enabling the original cloakrooms at the north and south ends of the main building to be converted to a staff room and boiler house respectively. At the end of the same year the dividing wall between the two former practical instruction rooms was removed to form the present school hall, and the school garden was leveled and seeded to form the playing field. Before this time organized games had been played in the recreation field, entailing `crocodile' processions to the opposite side of the village on certain afternoons each week. Click the image below to see an old photo of the school from 1957 -

Click the Image below to see a Certificate awarded to the School by the Dorset Arts & Craft Society for a Model in 1958 -

Following the formation of a parent-teacher association in 1965, the first major task embarked upon was the provision of a swimming pool in the south west corner of the school grounds. The association arranged a number of fund-raising events, and the work was carried out voluntarily entirely by the parents and other local helpers during evenings and week ends from April 1968 until the pool was officially opened on 14 June, 1969 by H. C. Whiteside, a former headmaster, when a carnival procession and gala day were held in glorious weather. Click the image below to see an old photo of the school during the carnival -

When the school opened in 1929 there were 150 pupils on the register, and this number had risen to 200 by 1935. Numbers had decreased again to 173 by 1940, but the following year saw a rise to a maximum of 219 due to the arrival of evacuated children from London. From 1942 numbers remained between 155 and 192 until 1953 when the school became a primary school and numbers dropped as a result to 107, but an upward trend began in 1960 and the number of pupils had reached 133 by 1970.

Until 1950 children selected for grammar school education were transferred to Poole and Parkstone grammar schools for boys and girls respectively, but from 1951 onwards such children were transferred to Blandford grammar school. Since 1953 all children have left Bere Regis school at the age of eleven, the grammar school pupils continuing to attend Blandford, the remainder proceeding to Bovington secondary modern school. In 1968 secondary schools in the Blandford area were re-organised into a comprehensive system, and parents had been given to understand that all Bere Regis children would automatically proceed to Blandford at the age of eleven, but much disappointment and annoyance was felt when it was later announced that this would not be so, and that only those children selected for grammar school education would, after all, be admitted to Blandford, the remainder having the choice of attending either Bovington or Puddletown secondary modern schools. Click the image below to see an old photo of the school from 1958 -

After 1932 the original 5 members of the staff were increased to 6, and remained at 6 or 7 until 1953 when the number was reduced to 4 upon the school becoming a primary school.

On 10th July 2013, Wessex FM recorded some pupils from the School for their School Reort series. You can hear the Recording, by clicking the Photograph above...

 

 

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