THE HISTORY OF CLAVERING SCHOOLS
The year 2010 was the 200th anniversary of the commencement of organized, formal schooling in Clavering. It was in 1810 that the Independent Church (URC) set up a Sunday school with strict rules and rewards, and even a type of uniform. The Church followed suit by also opening a Sunday school, and in time these developed into day schools.
Unusually for a village, Clavering had two completely separate schools for over a century – one was run by the Church of England – this is referred to as the church school or the National School. The other was run by the Congregational Church and was called the British School or the dissenters’ school or the chapel school. There were also one or two ‘dames schools’, that is small private places run by an old woman who charged a few pennies to teach children how to read the Bible and girls to sew etc. The last of these closed in the 1880s.
The early pioneers of Clavering education were William Savill of the Independents, and the Revd George Brookes, Vicar. There was bitter rivalry between the two schools over most of the 19th century, and union as a Council School took place only after the First World War. They then made use of both sites – one in the churchyard for the juniors and one in Pelham Road for the seniors. Both these buildings were closed in 1973 and replaced by the new school still there in Stortford Road. These are the main dates:
1810 – Sunday School started by Independents.
1816 – Church Sunday School started.
1818 – Vicar who ran Sunday school for 41 boys and 34 girls, fitted up 2 rooms for school in the workhouse building, and children were taught there for about 8 years.
1828 – 2 schools, 81 girls daily and Sunday, 58 boys Sunday only.
1829 – Independents started running a day school.
1838 – British School room opened.
1839 – Sunday School for boys and girls, but day-school building for 30 girls only whereas 40 boys had to be taught in master’s house.
1840 – British School for 18 boys, with 15 attending. They started age 7 and left age 10; paid 2d or 3d fee. The master earned £15.12s + house.
1841 – Lord of the manor leased land to church for a school.
1843 – National School, run by minister and churchwardens- a new building planned for 133 children – cost £319. Church Sunday school for 45 boys attending and Sunday 25 girls attending, also a daily British school not open on Sunday, supported entirely by dissenters.
1844 – New church school opened by Rev George Brookes in churchyard – same building still in use until Easter 1973. The building was originally symmetrical, with 2 windows on either side of the front porch. There were two classrooms, each 25 x 16 feet. The southern end of the building was extended later on. The toilets were originally at each end of the building, and the playground toilets were probably constructed when the school was extended.
1845 – New school had 42 girls, no boys; 2 schoolrooms each 25x16x15.
1847 – British School 23 boys were learning to read – of these 7 could do letters, 16 simple stories, none reading with ease. Taught by William Savill.
1863 – British school closed. William Savill became a farmer instead.
1878 – British School re-opened in new building in Pelham road, land given by William Savill the former schoolmaster – same building still in use till 1973.
1885 – Last Dames School in Clavering closed.
1925 – Amalgamated Council School set up joining up the church and chapel schools into one.
1949 -This became a County Primary School, on two sites, one for Infants, one for Juniors.
1973 – Move from Pelham Road/Churchyard sites to new building in Stortford Road.
1980s – Both old buildings were demolished, the churchyard site left empty, the Pelham Road site turned into council housing, Saville Close, named after its founding headmaster (the name mis-spelt).
2002 – School extension built on former playground.
2010 – The 200th anniversary of formal schooling in Clavering.
Note: these notes were compiled as a result of extensive research in the Essex Record Office, Saffron Walden Town Library, the Church of England Schools archive centre and the British Schools archives. © Jacqueline Cooper 2010. Further information from ‘Clavering & Langley 1783-1983’ by E.M. Ludgate and ‘History Walks in Clavering’ by J. Cooper, both on sale in Clavering shop or by post: contact
Taken from www.claveringonline.org.uk