The Bawburgh School
1876 - present
Queen Victoria was on the throne, when Bawburgh School opened its doors on 27th March 1876. It flourished under the stern Headship of Frederick Jackson (1892 - 1925) but floundered during the Seventies and Eighties. In 1987 there were only 37 pupils on the books - today there are over a 100.
Some background History: The School is a vibrant and important part of the village, and since Ann Rix Carter was the first School Mistress. A succession of women were in charge of the school, for the first 16 years, but when Frederick Jackson arrived on the 1st August 1892, it was the start of very different era, as two long-standing Headmasters would in turn take control of the school for the next 62 years.
Previously, discipline and attendance had been poor, and when the school was examined in Arithmetic and Dictation on 15th September 1892, they were found "throughout to be in a very bad state". The number of pupils had risen from 54 to 77, from 1876 to 1892, and when Frederick Jackson retired in 1925, and handed the reins over to "Jack" Steed, there were around 80 on the registers. Mr. Arthur J Steed was remembered as a much easier and kinder headmaster, although the school still suffered from absences through illness and through the children working on the farms.
From 1901, for a period of 30 years, the assistant teacher was Miss Charlotte
Child - daughter of the family at the Mill. She had her own house built near the
Bridge - now known as Meadow View. Another stalwart assistant was Mrs. Mona Sewter, who came temporarily, and stayed 25 years, finally retiring in 1984,
assisting four Heads in all. During Mr. Steed's headship, the school and village
endured another World War, and the Log book describes gas mask drills, badly
nourished children and increased numbers of evacuee pupils.
Post-war, a variety of school outings could be added to the curriculum. Upon Mr. Steed's retirement in 1954, the school lost its older pupils to the new Costessey Secondary Modern School, although soon the nearby Marlingford school would close, and pupils merged. Inadequate space and pupil numbers were major problems throughout the 20th Century. When the School celebrated its Centenary in 1976, there were over 60 pupils, which level was to decline to 27 in 1982/3.
Thanks to a strong parent association, which campaigned for the continuation of the village school, Bawburgh School was saved, and from thence grew from strength to strength. Mrs. Cindy Baldwin who took over in 1987 steered the school through great growth. A new classroom in addition to the one added in 1959, has been added to the Victorian building, to replace a 1960s mobile, and even as recently as when School returned in September 1994, they were celebrating indoor toilets and a new tarmac-ed playground! A new Assembly Hall was added in 2005.
On Mrs. Baldwin’s retirement at the end of 2008, Mrs. Jan Staff became Head. In 2016 Mrs Staff left and Carla Steadman took up the reigns.The School continues to be a popular and important part of the village, although popular also with pupils from the surrounding area.
Early 20th Century Bawburgh School.
Headmaster, Frederick Jackson, left. Assistant teacher, Charlotte Child, right.
Central heating did not arrive until the Sixties and indoor toilets as recently as 1994. The original building is still used, and a new hall added in 2005. The Hall not only allows Assembly, but also for the whole school now to share lunch together every day, as well as many more opportunities with parents and visitors, and provides a fantastic indoor space for lessons. The building work undertaken in 2005 also included a brand new kitchen, and relocation of the School Library and Staff-room. Further improvements were made in 2010 with the relocation of the Headteacher’s and secretary’s offices, which has created a modern and welcoming reception.
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