The Village School

The new council school opened in 1909

Early Schools

It is probable that the earliest schooling carried out in the village was at the Church by the then Parish Clerk, the Parish Clerk in those days, being very much an ecclesiastic appointment. Also it was quite common for well- educated ladies to form a small class. Sometimes this was frowned upon, in fact it is recorded that certain ladies of the village were taken before the Manorial Court, accused of teaching children without the permission of the Court, whose duty it was ( amongst other things) to grant teaching licences.

This was the only form of education available and even this could not be afforded by the working class parents of the village. Girls of the village were taught lace making at the Lace School in the middle 1800s, much to the consternation of the village school, because girls would quite often forego conventional schooling in order to learn lace making. The school was in Astrop Road above two buildings, one now known as the Lace House and the other Astrop Post Office and Stores.

The lace school

It was not until 1842 that the Government introduced an Act which was instrumental in the building of a school in the village. This was called the National or Church School and was erected at a cost of £644.4s.4d. on land given by William Willes of Astrop House, to the Vicar and Church Wardens. It was built in 1847 at a point which at that time was between King's Sutton and Astrop called 'tween towns', opposite the present recreation ground. It was a school supported by Subscription, Government Grant and School Pence, this latter being a weekly amount paid by the children's parents, which in 1880 amounted to 3d. per week.

The National School in Astrop Road

The original conveyance for the construction of the school was worded as follows: ''For educating the children of the labouring, manufacturing and other poorer classes in the parish of King's Sutton". The building had two floors, the upper having two balconies and was approached by a winding staircase. The girls were taught upstairs and the boys downstairs. Even at playtime the boys and girls were separated by an iron railing in the playground. It was not until 1899 that the children were taught in mixed classes and were still segregated at playtime.

On June 21st 1902 it was reported that ''Henry E Close, Mrs Close, Kate Close and Mr Pamphlet all ceased to teach in this school''. So, after being very much a school run by one family, Mr Albert Henry Tilbury took over as Headmaster. The reports show that the children were well taught in difficult circumstances. In 1909 the National School was closed and used as a Church hall, being restored in 1923 to make a large hall with a permanent stage. It was finally closed in 1964 and eventually sold to become a private residence, now known as The Old School House.

The County Council School

The County Council school in Richmond Street, built in 1908, was opened on June 7th 1909 with Mr A.H. Tilbury as Headmaster, Choirmaster and Organist. In those days infants went to school at the age of 3 or 4 years. It was agreed in 1931 that children could have a midday meal at school using one of the classrooms. A gas stove, chairs, tables and crockery were provided, the children themselves heating up food that they brought from home. In June 1933 it was proposed that electricity be installed, in July the Northern Electric Power Company gave an estimate and it was duly installed. Since that time the school has had very little done to it, until 1974 when a new hall, kitchen and other administrative rooms were added.

New school class in 1910

Handicrafts

Gardening and handicrafts became important parts of the curriculum, the sales book for 1913 records that Mr Tilbury bought 4 Ibs. peas for 6d, 7 Ibs. beans for 3d. and 1 basket of carrots for I shilling. The handicrafts were often sold to parents and Mrs Bevis, Turvey, Ward, Harris & Taylor all paid 6d for the pinafores which the children had made.

School Attendance

In looking through the school records it appears that illness played havoc with school attendance. There were deaths from scarlet and typhus fever, measles, smallpox, diphtheria, whooping cough and other illnesses such as bronchitis, mumps and chicken pox. These frequently reduced the average attendance of 200 to only 60 or so being fit enough to come to school. Happier reasons for having time off were: Ascension Day; Methodist and Baptist Church Sunday School outings; Haymaking; Allotment planting; Potato dropping and Bird scaring (or minding).

Girls’ School

1870

Jan 31 School closed on account of fever in parish, Scarlet and Typhus Fever.
Mar 25 81 girls in school.
Apr 4 Girl from Lace School – pays half price (half timer).
July 25 Many children absent – Chapel tea drinking.

1871

Feb 23 Girls not attending – pay double fees.
Mar 17 New school room.
Jun 15 Haymaking – attendance down.
Oct 6 Lace school “a great drawback”.

1872

Jan 7 Short attendance:

1873

Mar 2 Teachers for girls, 94 girls.

1875

Oct 8 Penny Bank started.

1876

Apr 24 102 girls, 2 teachers.
Oct 9-30 Scarlet Fever - 4 dead.
Dec School closed – Fever

1877

Oct Several children returned after some months

1881

May 26 Sir and Lady Brown prizes to day and Sunday school
May/June Mistress absent, school run by pupil teachers and monitors.
July 18 Sutton Feast

1884

Mar Average attendance 64 girls, 42 infants

1885

Jan School closed – Measles and Bronchitis, school re-opened – 2 children dead.

1886

Apr Grant for pupil teacher up from £2.00 to £3.00.
May Day School at Astrop Park – Number 167.

1887

Jan 20-24 Jubilee Week
Sept School re-opened, many of older girls have left for service.

1888

Jan 26 Lady Brown tea – for Mr Melville’s coming of age – eldest son.
May 28 Girl re-admitted after St. Vitus dance.

1889

Mar Head mistress – Elizabeth M. Good; Ass. mistress – Nellie E. Good; Ass. mistress – Edith Good.
Apr 19 Exception schedule – 1 girl for poor sight and one for being “exceptionally dull”.
Aug 5 Mr. Cartwrights daughter in London married, tea for local schools.
Nov 22 Death from measles.

1890

Jan Death of Nellie E. Good, Ass. Mistress and daughter of headmistress. Bad school report.

Boys’ School

1868

Apr 9 Attendance short, temporary employment gardening or bird minding.
July Boys leave or absent for haymaking.

1869

Jul 15 “Feast Lay” “Temperance Fete”.
Aug 5 Tea for village schools. Mr Cartwright’s daughter married in London

1891

Feb Complaint against Ass. Master – re corporal punishment.
Jun 1 £2.10.0d spent on purchase of necessary drawing materials.
Aug. 21 Mr. Howe’s duties ceased.
Sep. 28 New Ass. Master, Mr. Colburn – Cheltenham trained.
Oct. 16 20 fresh names on books of “Penny Bank”.
Oct 19 Heavy floods blocked roads into village, 40 children prevented from attending.

1892

Sep. Boys away due to potato picking and wheat thrashing.
Oct. 10 Attendance still low - Banbury Fair and a sale in the parish.

1893

Feb Managers meeting to sign Govt. returns – present were: The Vicar, Sir W. R. Brown, Bart., M.A. Willes, esq., C. Marsby Zee – Auditor
Mar Boys away for alottment planting and bird minding.
Dec. 4 Lady Brown gave 12 copies of “Wedding Bells” to boys.
Feb. 20 Mumps epidemic – school closed.
Annual "Church Workers and Choir" outing, 2 boys drowned.
Aug. Vicar came on last day before harvest holiday to stress importance of a prompt return after holidays.
Sep. First day back, Vicar came – fair attendance!!

1895

Mar. Adverse annual report, schooling and accommodation.
Jul. 22 Spoke to boys about Horton Infirmary and held collection for same.
Aug. Mr. Colborn, Ass. Master ended his duties.
Sep. Mr. Pamphlett commenced duties as Ass. Master.
Sep 20 Removal of infants. Very hot.
Dec. 6 Order for necessary repairs (building and premises) given by the vicar.

1896

Feb. Cloak rooms in course of erection.
Jul. Two boys and their employers warned. Two “warned” boys returned to school.
Jul. 31 Amount in collection box for Horton infirmary: 13s 11d.
Sep. 7 New cloak rooms inspected.
Oct. Lady Brown and Miss Alice Brown visit school.
Oct. 30 3 boys names given in labour certificate – pass examination
Nov. Funeral of Mrs. Willes – Lady of the Manor and School Manager for many years.

1897

May Diamond Jubilee Fete given to all inhabitants of Astrop and Kings Sutton.
Mar. Govt. Grant. Principle Grant £14.0.0.
Discipline and Organisation £1.6.0
Singing by note £1.0.0
Geography £1.0.0
English and History £2.0.0
Total £19 6s
58 average attendance boys.

1898

Mar. 23 Supplementary grant of £9.00 for effecting repairs and providing apparatus.
Staff of Boys School should at once be strengthened.
Sep. New headmaster Henry Edmunds Close

In 1925 the school closed for the memorial service for Queen Alexandra. We also find from these same records: weather too hot and sometimes too cold, one time the ink froze solid in the inkwells. Even Banbury Fair took its toll, so much so, that eventually the children were given two days holiday at Fair time.

The 1930s

Mr Owen’s class, circa 1930

Mr Harold E. Easey, BSc commenced duty as Headmaster on July 1, 1931 and the first awards to the school houses, Watt, Scott and Faraday were recorded. In 1933 three woodwork benches arrived and a woodwork scheme was introduced for the three upper classes. September 1939 saw ll8 children arrive from Cosway Street School in London, evacuated as a war emergency measure.

Wartime headmaster Mr Easey and his staff

Sword dancing at the school in 1947

Changes in Education in 1958

In the new term starting September 1958 the school log book records 250 pupils, this dropped to 237 a year later when, due to education policy, it became necessary for all children over the age of 13 to attend the Brackley Modem School travelling the six miles by school bus; 1960 saw all those from age II now attending the Brackley School. By September 1982 all children from age four were able to attend the village school.

The school netball team in 1958

The School in 1993

There are 140 children on the school roll ages from 4 to 11, split into five classes as follows:

  • Miss K. Smith Class 1 Juniors
  • Mrs D. Skinner Class 2 Juniors
  • Miss S. Suter Class 3 Juniors/Infants mixed
  • Mrs V. Phipps Class 4 Infants
  • Mrs S. Wise Reception Class (age four plus)

There is also a special needs teacher and two ancillary assistants, backed up by a school secretary, two caretakers and three lunchtime supervisors. As with all other Primary Schools, the school follows the National Curriculum, which involves the study of:

Core Subjects: English, Mathematics, Science.

Foundation Subjects: Design Technology, Geography, History, Music, Art and Physical Education.

Religious Education is a statutory element of the curriculum.

Assembly is taken each day and a family assembly is held on every alternate Friday when all the parents and families of the children are invited to attend. The Vicar and the Baptist Minister regularly visit the school to take assembly. There is a good deal of contact between the village Playgroup and the School, particularly now that the Playgroup is housed within the school grounds.

Schools have always had a managing body but in 1974 new government policies came into force, the log book entry reads:

“The Managing Body has had to be doubled in number from six to twelve in the holy name of democracy. 100% increase in size will no doubt make decision taking more difficult.”

In 1980 School Managers were to be known as Governors and in 1987 new government policies enforced them to hold Annual General Meetings with parents. The school managers were: Mr. R. J. Amos (Headmaster), Mrs. S. Wise (Teacher Representative), Mr. C. Wheatcroft (Local Education Representative), Mrs. A. Fletcher (Local Education Representative), Mrs S. Marriott (Local Education Representative), Mr. J. Childs (Parent Governor), Mr. M. Wyatt (Parent Governor), Mrs. R. Bridson (Parent Governor), Rev. S. Willis (Community Governor), Mrs. A. Higgins (Community Governor), Mr. A. Atkins (Community Governor), Mrs. K. Wyatt (Clerk to the Governors)

In April 1993 the school was delegated being responsible for its own finances and budget.

Headteachers


Albert H Tilbury, headmaster 1902-1931

Girls’ School

1847-1866 Anna Maria Jenson
1866-1898 Elizabeth M Good
1898-1899 Mrs Henry E Close

Boys’ School

1847-1866 John Jenson
1866-1898 Edwin Good
1898-1899 Henry E Close

Mixed Girls and Boys

1899-1902 Henry E Close
1902-1931 Albert H Tilbury
1900 1931-1958 Harold E Easey
1958-1978 John Rippin
1978-1988 Mervyn Wood
1988-Roger J Amos

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