Tickhill Infants School – Tithes lane.
Information from Logbook 1893 -1934
School Inspector’s Reports.
During the 1890’s and early 1900’s most of the reports were fairly complimentary with comments such as “School well conducted with children making satisfactory progress” (1898). However there were exceptions e.g.
May 4th” Closed school in afternoon for it to be thoroughly cleaned.”
May 11th Inspection.
June 9th Extract from inspectors report:
“It is regretted that no attempts have yet been made to replace the unsightly and comfortless galleries with suitable infants desks. Proper desks and benches must be provided for the infants”
June 25th. “The infants are very carefully taught and their attentiveness shows improvement Elementary subjects would not suffer if more time and attention were given to manual occupations. Due supervision of these might perhaps foster closer attention and encourage each child to answer when questioned. More alertness in the babies class and some grace of movement by the older children should be attempted.”
This sounds like damning with faint praise and came soon after a pupil teacher in the Babies class had been forced to leave because of unsatisfactory work and had not yet been replaced. At the time the school was staffed by the Mistress and one pupil teacher. The replacement pupil teacher when appointed was just 12 years old!
“Children behaved well and passed creditable elementary examination. There should be a greater variety of occupations [for the children]. Manager’s attention is drawn to Article 99(c). Offices [lavatories] should consist of single cells each having its own door and light”
I have a sketch plan of the school drawn prior to this report which shows in the lobby a completely open “two hole” earth closet. Imagine the smell not to mention the lack of privacy! The inspectors report for the following year indicates that the lavatories had been upgraded as required.
“The order is good, satisfactory work done but if the highest grant is to be maintained more care should be exercised as to method.” This is perhaps surprising since the report goes on to list a number of defects in the accommodation – notably poor lighting and ventilation.
Suggestions that the teaching methods should be improved or the scope of the lessons widened continue for a number of years but by 1912 things do seem to be improving.
“Teachers have visited other schools and taken steps to broaden their experience. Results are apparent in improved work and results. More attention should be paid to reading. Children enjoy coming to school and the interest of the parents is a very commendable feature.”
Parents’ evenings appear to have continued but how regularly is not clear, nor were they always a great success. An entry for Sept 15th 1923 reads “Had a most wretched week. Very wet and cold and the children all upset by the parents’ evening.”
The report this year was less complimentary. “The steep gallery and awkward desks on it are unacceptable and should be renewed”. It sounds as if little had been done to improve the galleries and desks since the first report in 1893!
Things seem to have improved. The Managers are “praised for their improvements to the school, particularly the new fireplace”. No mention of the steep gallery and desks!
After about 1915/16 the practice of including précis of the Inspectors reports in the logbook seems to have been discontinued although the dates of the inspections are recorded. However full reports of the annual religious tests by the Vicar or the Diocesan Inspector (see below) continue to be recorded which perhaps indicates the influence of the Church on the school.
Links with the Church.
Over the years the Vicar of St Mary’s Church made regular visits to the school and once a year the children were tested either by the Vicar or more usually by the Diocesan Inspector. A typical report (1897) reads:
Division 1 Babies
Old Testament VG VG
New Testament VG VG
Scripture VG VG
Hymns VG VG
Catechism VG --
Signed: Rev Tooley, Diocesan Inspector
In later years (post WW1) the rating was mostly E (presumably excellent indicated by the written reports)
In 1925 the school held its first Christmas Concert on 21st Dec. The Vicar and his wife were principal (only?) guests and a reporter from the Sheffield Telegraph also attended. Thereafter the Christmas concert seems to have become an annual event.
1893. Mistress: Alice Smith (Certificated), Pupil Teachers: C S Goodwin, G K Rawson.
1894. Mistress: Alice Smith, Pupil Teacher: C S Goodwin. (G K Rawson had resigned under pressure from Alice Smith over unsatisfactory work)
1895 Mistress: Alice Smith. Pupil Teachers: Edith Lye, Lily Newbould – apparently aged 12 when she started, having been selected from the Tickhill National School pupils by the headmaster, T Dixon.
1896. Mistress: Alice Smith. Pupil Teachers: Edith Lye, Lily Newbould, Eleanor Kimberly (Ken Kimberly’s aunt).
1897. Mistress Alice Smith. Pupil Teachers: Lillian Newbould, Eleanor Kimberly, Annie Greenhaugh.
Sept 1898. Sept 12th Pattie Ellis appointed Mistress. Sept 14th: Following communication sent from Edcn Dept re Article 61 Pattie Ellis gave up charge to Mrs Dixon but still continued to teach for a short while. Sept 14th Mrs E A Dixon took charge as temporary Mistress.
1898 No inspectors report.
1899 Mistress: E R Roberts. Pupil Teachers: Eleanor Kimberley, Annie Greenhaugh.
1900. Mistress: Alice Smith. Pupil Teachers: Annie Greenhaugh,
Thereafter the school continued to be run by a Mistress with the help of usually two pupil teachers some of whom after 4 or more years experience passed the exam for their teaching certificate. Post WW1 the majority of the Assistants seem to have been certificated teachers.
The dates for each Mistress are as follows:
1890 – 1898 Alice Smith
1898 – 1899 Pattie Ellis (2 days only) “ Sept 14th. In consequence of communication received from Education Dept gave up charge to Mrs Dixon but will still continue to teach in school”. Mrs E A Dixon (temporary), E R Roberts. Not clear why Alice Smith had a year out.
1900 – 1923 Alice Smith (retired after 33 years service).
1923 – 1929 Dorothy Anderson
1929 – 1933 Eva Attercliffe
Alice Smith appears to have suffered poor health from time to time. In 1907 she was away several times and there were a succession of temporary Mistresses. This resulted in “my salary being very much reduced because of my absence” (Dec 5th 1907).
Dorothy Anderson appears to have done most to improve the school. She reorganised the classes , Babies remained the same but the two older classes were streamed by ability rather than age, “Standard 1 with the highest of the [old] Class 1 and Class 2, Standard 2 with the poorest of [old] Class 1 and Class 2” ( April 1923).
She also campaigned vigorously for better equipment, particularly desks writing numerous letters to the School Managers and to the WRCC in Wakefield. She eventually got her new desks in 1927. However one suspects she was a bit of a thorn in the side of the authorities because on 30th August 1929 she records, “My appointment as Head teacher was terminated this afternoon”
The school year started after Easter and included the following holidays
Summer Holiday (4 weeks in July)
August Bank Holiday Monday
Mid October. Tickhill Fair Holiday – usually 5 days
Christmas Holiday (about 2 weeks)
Additional half day holidays were sometimes granted for pea harvesting in June and gleaning in late summer. Very occasionally a half day holiday would be given for good attendance and some years a ½ day holiday was given for the infants to watch the senior school sports.
I could not find (or I missed) any references to the Boer War or to events such as Mafeking celebrations. However the entries at the beginning and end of WW1 are interesting.
Sept 19th 1914. “Had a very exciting week. The Military are encamped now and have been through the village several times since arriving last week. Today some charabancsfully equipped have passed through on their way to Sandbeck Park .Each teacher took her class to stand at the gate to watch.”
November 1918. There is no mention of the Armistice or anything else to do with the war. Most of the reports concern the ‘flu epidemic a subject often repeated through 1919.
These entries probably typify the attitudes of the time, excitement in 1914 and war weariness in 1918.
I could not find anything about the consecration of the war memorial in St Mary’s churchyard although I would have thought the school would have been involved. If you think it important I will have another look.
Attendance was very important and is recorded in nearly every entry sometimes as a percentage and sometimes as an absolute number. Annual factors such as harvesting caused it to fall and epidemics of one sort or another also caused frequent falls (see below). The school normally had about 100 pupils, figures given for 1927 are: Accommodation 115 Average attendance 90.
Throughout the book there are numerous reports of epidemics, usually mumps, measles and whooping cough and less frequently scarlet fever. These epidemics usually occurred in the winter months although in 1918/19 ‘flu was fairly common for a longer period. Children found at school with any infectious disease or with bad coughs (TB fears?)were sent home. If the epidemic was serious enough the school would be closed on the advice of the local doctor.
The doctor and a nurse did visit the school periodically and once, about 1897(?) there is a record that the children were vaccinated, possibly for TB but the logbook does record the reason.
Reading the logbook it becomes clear that much more attention was paid to the children’s health post WW1 than before it. Dr Caley appears to have visited the school regularly, also the nurse, and school dentist visted in Sept1927. “Only one child required treatment and the dentist did not charge” (30th Sept 1927). In 1929 Dorothy Anderson was absent for two weeks because she was a diphtheria contact.
Despite the increased attention to public health (or maybe because of it) school closures for health reasons seem as frequent in the 1920’s and 30’s as they were in the 1890’s.
Accidents received far less attention than they would today. An entry for 9/08/26 reads; “Girl swallowed drawing pin. First aid administered. Mother sent for and took girl home. Apparently no ill effects”.
In addition to the Local Authority grant (amount not stated anywhere in the logbook) the school apparently also received a small grant from the Church. The grants are meticulously recorded in the early years – less so later. For example in 1897 the grant was:
Fixed; 9/-, Variable; 6/-, Needlework; 1/-, Singing;1/-, Attendance; 14/- (average 75%)
General Strike 1926.
There is an interesting entry for 26th May 1926. “Dinner has been provided for the children of men whose work has been affected by the strike. This will be done on Sat and Sun as well”.
There is no record of who paid for these meals.