HISTORY of our village school
As a Voluntary Aided Church of England
village primary school we believe in helping the whole child to develop within a
secure, caring environment that promotes Christian values. We strive for every
child to be the best they can be.
An elementary school was provided by the state in 1838
and improved in 1848 with a further grant of £156. In 1846 Heytesbury had a
Sunday and a day school with 90 boys and 92 girls taught by a master and a
mistress. In 1858 there were 50-60 pupils taught by a master, in a room 45 feet
by 20 by 12, with a flagged floor and parallel desks. There were also 40-50
infants taught by a mistress in a similar room. The school moved to its present
site in 1900 and the old school became the village reading room.
Unfortunately no logbooks from the
Victorian period survive in the public domain but we know in general terms what
school life would have entailed. By 1880 children were educated up to the age of
ten, although they could stay longer. The learning age was raised to eleven in
1893, when children normally started as infants, aged four or five. School fees,
one penny or twopence a week, were removed in 1891. The school day was likely to
have been from 9.00 to 12.00 noon and from 2.00pm to 4.00pm. Children either
brought their lunch and ate it in the schoolroom or went home to eat. The
teacher was assisted by paid monitors in their early teens or by a pupil
teacher, who was training to become a certified teacher.
Lessons were the elementary ones of
reading, writing and arithmetic with scripture; some lessons in the latter
subject were often taken by the vicar. The girls learned sewing and all had
singing and recitation. Some geography and history would have been taught.
School holidays were about a week or 10 days at Christmas and Easter, a week at
Whitsun and five weeks Harvest Holiday in the summer. Full day and half day
holidays were given for various reasons such as church or chapel teas or Sunday
school outings, royal and national occasions and the afternoon after the H.M.I.
examinations. Unauthorised absences included seasonal work on the farm and in
the garden for the older children and visits to local fairs, military events and
other local happenings.
The school was taken over by Wiltshire
County Council in the early years of the 20th century. [extract
In 2017 Heytesbury CofE Primary
School joined the Acorn Education Trust