Early nineteenth century education
In 1818, apart from a small dame school where pupils were paid for by their families, there was only a Sunday School in Leafield, attended by some 40-
Establishment of a day school
In 1838, Rev. Edward Williams put forward proposals for a daily school in Leafield. The Lord of the Manor had promised a piece on land on the Greens, on which Rev. Williams planned to build a school room and a residence for the school master and mistress. The cost was £242; apart from grants from the Treasury and the Diocesan Society for Promoting Religious Education, the funds were raised locally, some in the form of money, but more in the form of materials and labour.
The school was completed and in operation by September 1839. There was no playground provided for, so the children played on the Greens, though a small yard was added later. The schoolroom was divided into two sections, for boys and girls, taught by the master and mistress, who received a joint salary of £25. A teacher’s house was built adjoining the school. In 1851 Thomas Smith, aged 56, was the Schoolmaster and his daughter, Mary Ann, aged 31 the Schoolmistress. In the early 1850′s some 60-
Enlargement of the School
In 1856 the school was given a firmer financial footing by the award of annual government aid, though this continued to be supplemented by a voluntary public subscription, based on the rateable value of the school district. The management of the school under the control of the church was also regularised. By a scheme dated 1871 drawn up by the Education Department in Whitehall and approved by the Charity Commissioners, the land and buildings were held in trust and managed by a committee of initially consisting of Lord Churchill, William Iorns, Samuel Edelsten and George Bridges. The minute books detailing the management of the school from 1873-
At first the school had served only the village of Leafield, but in 1873 the School District was enlarged to include Wychwood, Langley and Asthall. Changes were made to accommodate the larger numbers of pupils. In 1871 a new infants school and privies were built at a cost of £252 and in 1873 the master’s house was converted into a mixed classroom at a cost of £50. Additional porches and privies were added in 1878 and 1886. By 1876 the official accommodation figure was recorded as 229 and the average attendance was 132. Attendance and the sum raised by the children’s pence were both significantly improved when attendance was made compulsory in 1878.
In 1881 Mr George Gordon was appointed as Schoolmaster. His early years were not altogether successful. In 1887 the majority of the managers resolved to ask him to resign due to poor standards in the upper part of the school, though he was able to persuade them to reverse their decision, undertaking to make considerable improvements to the levels of attainment. This he was able to do and the subsequent reports show steady progress through the remainder of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth. His wife also worked at the school, initially on an unpaid basis and later as a paid member of staff. They gave stability and continuity of staffing to the school at a time when there was a high turnover in other members of staff. Mr Gordon finally retired in 1921, but maintained his involvement with the school when in 1924 he was appointed as a member of the Management Board.
A new Infants Classroom was built in 1897; at least ¾ of the cost being met by Mr Yapp of Lowborough House, who was subsequently to become a long standing member of the management committee and a generous benefactor of the school. The schoolyard was also extended at this time. A further major extension of the school took place in 1904 when 2 new classrooms and 3 cloakrooms were added at a cost of some £550. By that time the school roll had grown to 236.
On 30 September 1903 the school was transferred to the County Council on an aided basis. The management committee was restructured, with members appointed by the Parish Council and the County Council, as well as foundation managers elected by subscribers.
The school continued as an all age one well into the twentieth century.In the early 1930′s the school leaving age was raised to 15 and the Director of Education in Oxford proposed a scheme for re-
In 1947 the County produced a long-
In the course of the twentieth century as the average family became smaller, the numbers on the school roll fell. By 1978, when the school minute books end, the roll had fallen to only 52 with a teaching staff of only the Head and one other full-