Herefordshire Record Office
Newton School Log Book, 1893 to 1910
1893 to 1910
The Log Books
In addition to school registers it was a statutory duty to maintain at each school a School Log book. This was a record of administrative items and the day to day matters affecting the school. It was in the form of a purpose printed book with ruled lines for entries. There was a column for the date. All pages were numbered, both for ease of reference and to discourage the removal of pages.
Entries were made by the Headmaster and by visitors, who may have been School Board Members, School Inspectors, Medical Officers of Health, etc. Consecutive entries were usually separated by one or more blank lines
Among other items entries record the appointment and resignation of teachers and School Board Members. Absences from duty of teachers, with reasons, are recorded as are the names of pupils who are habitually absent. Such pupils are reported to the ‘Attendance Officer’ who would then visit the parents and give counselling. Maintaining regular attendance was obviously a major problem in the early years.
Pupils came from a wider area than just the parish, many coming from adjoining areas such as St Margarets and parts of Bacton, Michaelchurch Escley and Longtown. Many entries refer to weather conditions which had a great effect on attendance as did farming activities and various local events. The names of many pupils are included both for achievements and for misdemeanours
School building fabric and maintenance matters are mentioned.
Mr William Morgan was head master from 1883 until his death in 1905. There was then a succession of thee temporary Masters until Mr Charles Lloyd took the post in 1906
The Headmaster, together with his wife and family lived in the School House which adjoined the school on its north side. He was helped in his duties by two or three Assistant Teachers, one of who was responsible for the Infants Class. The Assistant Teachers were local young ladies. The Head Teacher was qualified and had received formal training, the Assistants were generally unqualified. At times Mr Morgan’s wife, and later Mr Lloyd’s sister, gave instruction in sewing to girl pupils.
For Newton School the earliest surviving Log Book is for the period commencing January 1893. The book is reproduced here from that date until 1910. Records post 1910 are not currently available to the public.
For Log Book images click below
all Log Book pages are digital images and as such are not searchable
Newton school was built in response to the 1880 Act which required School Boards to provide school accommodation for all children over 5 years of age and less than 13 years. Nationally most schools from choice were built in town and village centres. Schools in rural areas such as Newton and its surrounding parishes presented special problems and required a compromise in site selection. There being no ‘centre of habitation’ in these parishes with their dispersed farmsteads. The chosen site was such a compromise, located as it was mid-way between Lower and Upper Maescoed, areas which by their nature had a greater density of population. The site chosen was extremely exposed and the Medical Officer of Health registered his objection when the site was chosen. He was to some degree proved correct, both pupils and school staff were to prove prone to infections and ailments. It was no doubt a unhealthy and unsanitary place
The school was designed to accommodate 100 pupils. It had two classrooms, the larger 33 by 18 feet and a smaller one for Infants 18 by 18 feet. Heating was by two open fires. Initially no cloakrooms for the drying of garments were provided. A house for the school master and his family was attached to one end. Water was from a well, with pump, and toilet facilities were primitive.
One result of the great increase in schools in the early 1880’s was a national shortage of trained teachers. This was recognised in the Education Acts which allowed the use of untrained Assistant Teachers (known as Article 69 staff) the only requirement being to be of ‘good character’. Young ladies usually fulfilled this role,
Compulsory education was introduced by the 1880 Education Act and children over the age of five had to attend a school until their 13th birthday. A child over 10 years of age who had achieved the necessary standard in reading, writing and arithmetic (usually Standard IV) could after examination obtain a Certificate which allowed him/her to leave school and enter employment,
One of the major concerns of William Morgan during his term as Headmaster was the irregularity of attendance by the pupils. Often the average attendance was perhaps about 50 which represented 60-70% of the registered pupils. This was of concern to him on two counts, firstly he had difficulty in meeting the required educational standards with such a poor attendance and secondly the funding available to the school was based on a formula based on the average attendance (see entry for 13th July 1903).
A single ‘Attendance Officer’ served all four schools in the district and his work load must have been high. It was the duty of the Attendance Officer to follow up cases of habitual non-attendance. This he did by visiting and counselling parents. When attendance did not improve he was authorised to issue a final written notice from a pre-printed book he kept for this purpose. Ignoring the written notice could lead to a summonses being issued to the parents. It is evident, and perhaps understandable, that he was loath to issue written notices. As a local man he understood the difficulties many parents had in sending children to school in a remote and scattered farming area where there was no previous culture of compulsory attendance and children were often needed for help on the farm. Mr Morgan considered that the Attendance Officer was not sufficiently vigorous in his duty and requested clarification of the duties of the Attendance Officer from the Clerk to the School Board who as an experienced Solicitor could interpret the relevant Educational Acts (see entry for 18th May 1900). It would appear that the Attendance Officer resented this and the relationship between him and the Headmaster deteriorated with the result that they were not on speaking terms and the Headmaster had to resort to sending him written notes by post. This mater was not fully resolved on the death of the Attendance Officer in April 1902. In later years Charles Lloyd, who replaced Mr Morgan, was able to enjoy much higher attendance rates but this was probably due to a culture change amongst parents rather than the personality of the Headmaster.
For administration purposes Newton School was initially part of the Longtown District School Board. The District comprised; Longtown, Llanveynoe, Crasswall, Michaelchurch Escley, St. Margarets, Newton and part of Bacton. There were schools at Longtown, Crasswall, Michaelchurch and Newton. In 1895 the Chairman of the District School Board was John Gilbert Harris, Esq. and the Clerk to the Board; Thomas Llanwarne, Esq. a Hereford Solicitor.
The Education Act of 1906 abolished School Boards and the school came under the control of the Local Education Authority of the County Council. A group of six ‘School Managers’ was elected. H.H. Wood of Whitehouse and ‘Squire’ of St Margarets was Chairman and ‘Correspondent’ of the Managers
History of Elementary Education in England
Key dates in the development of Primary Education in the Nineteenth century
For an outine of Education Legislation in England since 1800
For the Standards of Education as applied in the period of the Log Book
Biographical note on William Morgan Headmaster 1883 to 1905
A School Protest Meeting of 1913