The History of Education in Raglan, Jon Elms, 1992

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DURANT MEMORIAL PRIZE ESSAY COMPETITION 1992


THE HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN RAGLAN

BY - JON ELMS

Records show that the first mention of a school of any kind was approximately 1753-54. This was probably a visiting circulating charity school and attendance was by invitation of the parish priest.The building we now call the “old school” was built in 1754. By the end of the 18th century a day school had been established in the parish of Raglan, this could have been the school which was endowed by Edward Goff and had approximately 20 children. Around the time of 1800 James Jeffreys kept a private school here, most of the children of Raglan were educated and which by 1818 had 82 pupils. This same year the school became united with the Valisial Society having had a house given by The Duke of Beaufort to accommodate the school. In 1830 the school moved to Castle Street and was kept by Edward Lewis, a relative of the Jeffreys and by 1850 the school was maintained by subscription and under the National System. During the year of 1857 The Duke of Beaufort provided a new site and a larger schools was built, which from time to time has been enlarged and improved. The Duke of Beaufort charged a rent and maintained the building.

Some of the succeeding headmasters have been John Fisher, Edmund Heywood, David Bridge, John Ingram, Joseph Wheatstone, William Hades and Charles James Saunders. In 1870 the education act came into force and all children had to attend school and by 1891 education for all children was free.

School in the 1920's was very different to nowadays. During this time Mrs. Williams, a relative of James Saunders went to school here. School began in the morning at 9.00 a.m. In those days there was no school transport and everyone had to walk to school, remembering to bring their bible with them. Lessons consisted of the three “Rs”, reading writing and arithmetic. There were also gardening classes for the boys. They did not grow flowers, just fruit and vegetables which they paraded through the High Street.

The number of children in a class was about 14. The boys sat on the left and the girls sat on the right of the class.

Unlike today, there was no central heating in the school and the only form of heating was a gas stove. The toilets were situated outside. Favourite games at playtime included Hopscotch, skip and top and skipping. Playtime lasted approximately 15 minutes and the children had milk or cocoa to drink, which was very kindly heated up by the Teachers. There was no school uniform as such but most of the children wore button boots. Children on some days couldn't come to school because they were needed to help at home or to work on the farms.

Children attended school between the ages of five and fourteen. Lunch commenced at twelve twenty-five and ended at one twenty-five. As there were no school meals provided, some children brought their lunch with them and others had to walk all the way home for lunch. Water was available from the pump in the school yard for those that required a drink.

Some activities were similar to those we have today. These included sports day, concerts, pantomimes and a Christmas party. Although their were no school trips at this time, there was often nature walk up the castle on a Friday afternoon.

The headmaster, Mr. Saunders was very strict and the cane was used frequently.


THE OLD SCHOOL

Here you can see a typical window for a school of this time. The building is now 233 years old and part of it was once the home of the headmaster and his family. The upstairs is believed to be haunted by a Miss Anne Jeffreys, this is way it is called Anny's room.


THE PARISH ROOM The first school might have been the parish room which is still used today for many community activities.

THE OLD SCHOOL The old school is still used today for groups such as guides and brownies, mother and toddler groups and many children’s partys.

THE INFANT SCHOOL The infant school was built in 1907. At this time the old school was still used for some lessons. Today children start at the infants at the age of 4-5 and usually go on to Junior School at 7.

RAGLAN JUNIOR SCHOOL The Junior School was built in 1975. Nowaways school starts with playgroup which you may go to from the age of two and a half till infant school age. Then to the Infants and then Juniors. School is very different to olden days. For instance, then you may have used a slate and chalk, now we could use a word processor. The Infants and Junior School are much larger than the old school. We have a large playground, a large hall and larger classrooms. We can play more games in the playground, such as football, netball, skipping, tag and catch. But some remain the same such as Hopscotch and many more. Today the toilets are inside not outside and there is a canteen and also we can still bring our own lunch.

We can nowadays go on school trips or educational visits with the school and there is now school transport, both of these things they would not have done in the time of the old headmasters. Also we now do many more lessons as in the times of old when they did the 3 “Rs”. Reading, writing and arithmetic. We now do maths which covers arithmetic, we do English which covers Writing, History, R.E., Science, Handwriting which also covers writing, and we do reading. Some lessons involve watching television programmes and listening to the radio. We also have P.E. And games which help keep us fit.

Punishment has changed too, I'm glad to say, we no longer have the cane! Instead of having the cane we are sent to stand in the hall and stand outside Mr. Dallys office, who like Mr. Saunders is also strict. But if we were very naughty we may have to spend our playtimes indoors.

We are proud to wear school uniform today which consists of a navy blue sweatshirt which incorporates the Coat of Arms of Lord Raglan, navy blue trousers and black shoes, white shirt and tie, also with Lord Raglan's Coat of Arms on it.


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