Keevil Church of England School 150th Anniversary

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May 22nd 2019

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Keevil Church of England School Celebrates 150th Anniversary (1869-2019)

Keevil Church of England School is celebrating 150 years of educating children. The School building itself dates back to 1869.  In a letter dated 25th June 1867, Daniel Watts of Pinkney Farm, Keevil, writes to the local landowners and parishioners asking for a subscription to build a school. At the point of writing, he had raised £196 and 1 shilling. Presumably, he raised the rest of the funds not long after that,  because building began on the school in 1868. The school opened in 1869.

Children came to the school from Bulkington and Keevil. The road from Bulkington was very dirty in the winter and very dusty in the summer. The walk was two miles each way.

When the fields flooded or there was snow, the Bulkington children often didn’t attend school. There are also recollections of how, when it rained, one of the teachers would take all of the wet clothes from the Bulkington children and try to dry them on the coal burner before it was time for them to go home again.

The school log books only go back as far as 1901, but they give a good picture of how children lived at the turn of the century:

5th July 1901: Attendance not so good. Hay harvest.

11th July 1901: Government report – the children are orderly and are making on the whole satisfactory progress in the elementary subjects, but the object lessons are only fair.

2nd March 1906: Attendance in the infant room continues to be very poor. Many of the children seem to be suffering from yellow jaundice.

12th February 1912: 50 cases of mumps reported overall at the school.

Later in the logbooks, many visits from school nurses, medical officers and dentists show how the health of children became a more nationalised priority. Outbreaks of diphtheria and mumps became a thing of the past.

Historically children at the school received punishments in the form of caning. This was usually on the hands, but sometimes on their backs. There was a punishment book used to log the corporal punishment administered to the children and the reason the children were being punished. The book does look rather menacing, almost like it has suffered some punishment itself. There were entries for 1902 to 1914 and one entry in 1950. The latter being ‘slaps with a ruler on both hands’ administered because a group of nine boys threw mud at each other and on the walls of a passageway.

Until 1941, children of all ages attended the school. During the First World, war boys were ‘applied for’ at 13 years of age, at which point they would leave to work on the land.

All children that attended the school were entered into the admission log. When they left, it was noted down where they were going.

Education looks very different today at Keevil Church of England School.  The school has 111 on role and is highly successful and oversubscribed.  The current children and staff of Keevil will be studying the history of the school and what a typical education looked like for a child in the late 1800s, as well as holding various events to celebrate the school’s anniversary.  These events include an art workshop, a Victorian day and Tea Party, as well as a Church service to be held on 21st May 2019. We wish you all a very Happy Anniversary and look forward to another 150 years!