families feature in a single article this month, linked together
by their common experiences in the same village school.
own village school is the oldest National School in Devon,
having been founded in 1810. It grew over the years by the
addition of temporary classrooms in what was once the playground
until it all but disappeared. This Easter, six new brick-built
classrooms were added after an enterprising 6-year old
personally made and sent a video of the lurid details of the
dilapidated site to the Prime Minister. The original buildings
are still in use, after almost 200 years, and will probably not
be replaced this century - a lasting monument to the Nation
School system without which none of our ancestors would
have received a glimmer of education.
forty years ago, Devon Education Committee had the foresight to
recall and archive all the material relating to the history of
its schools that it could find - items such as Class Registers,
Inspection Reports, Punishment Books and so on. These documents
are now available to the public in the Devon Record Office and
in this Issue we begin exploring some more of the history of our
ancestors through the Ugborough School Log Books.
years ago, teachers trained on the job, gaining certificates for
ability in different areas of the curriculum as they went along.
The first step was to become a Monitor, usually at the age of
11. For a tiny annual salary, a Monitor would be expected to
take sole charge of the Infant class. There was no minimum age
for starting school so a mother working in the fields all day
would try to get children as young as 3 accepted. The next step
was promotion to Pupil Teacher with a salary of £8 a year -
this happened at around 12 or 13. In addition, Pupil Teachers
received about 8 hours instruction a week out of school hours so
they could begin to acquire the certificates they needed to
become an Apprentice Teacher at the age of 16 or 17. A school
with 80 - 100 pupils would be staffed by a Monitor, 2 Pupil
Teachers and a School master or mistress, usually all together
in one room.
been assessed and graded annually by an Inspector, at this point
they were considered competent to take charge in a school of
their own, teaching Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and Singing.
The Catechism and Scriptures were taught by the local Vicar and
either his wife or the schoolmaster's wife (if he was married)
taught Needlework to the girls. At Ermington, the Infants were
allowed to march around while they sang - considered a very
daring educational experiment at the time!
Keep in touch.
Richard and Muriel