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Carlton School 1945 to 1961

This page was contributed by Pamela Hider

School Logbooks 1945-1961 

The information below is taken from the logbooks for Carlton School for 1945-1961. Logbooks from the 19th and 20th centuries give us a fascinating account of life at schools from the beginning of our national education system and of how education evolved throughout its first hundred years, particularly in a rural setting such as Carlton. They also reflect the many changes in society that took place during that time such as hardship, disease and world wars, through to population growth, the affluent society, a National Health Service, technology and vast opportunities. Access to the logbooks was provided courtesy of the Headteacher of Carlton Primary School.

A temporary Head Teacher, Florence Ruffhead, was in place for 3 months until, on April 19th, Catherine Cave took charge of the school where she was to remain for almost 17 years. 

The Education Act of 1944 ended the traditional all-age (5-14) elementary sector, enforcing the division between primary (5–11 years old) and secondary (11–15 years old) education that many local authorities had already introduced. Also, the Act now made it the duty of local education authorities to provide school meals and milk. The authority could remit the charge for the meal in cases of hardship. New items in the logbooks referred to: speakers who came to talk to the children on various subjects; a school photographer; a telephone; school canteen; a piano; a sewing machine; schools radio broadcasts and swimming lessons at local baths. Also newly logged were 'I.Q. tests' or 'County Assessment tests' which would have referred to the eleven plus examination, introduced in the 1944 Act. 

Until 1954, the number of pupils on the books ranged from 18 to 29 (with an exceptional 12 in 1948). From 1955, the village expanded and numbers ranged from 33 to 50. Although regular visits from the Attendance Officer continued as before to check the registers, attendance was now hardly logged at all - the lowest being 13 in 1951 and the highest 41 in 1957. 

Coal rationing continued after the war and meticulous records were kept of deliveries, quantities, consumption and quality. The school had to be closed for 6 weeks in early 1947 due to both fuel shortages and the exceptionally severe winter and flooding. The troublesome stove had had various repairs, but finally met its nemesis in 1955. On February 28th, the temperature was recorded as 33° in the Infants' Room. Five days later, at long last, a new Tortoise Stove was fitted and the chimney swept in April. (In 1958 the fire brigade was called to put out a fire caused by surrounding woodwork catching alight!).                                              

Repairs were made both inside and outside the school and new floors were laid in the classrooms, but in 1949 the condition of the playground was 'treacherous'. In 1943, Mrs. Abbott had written that it was 'responsible for many blood-lettings of a minor kind'. It was tarmacked in 1950. In 1959, the old lavatories were demolished and 'new brick buildings' were erected. In September, the 'new sanitary block and modernisation scheme ready for use - kitchen equipped and electricity available'. A cycle shed was erected in 1960. 

It was logged in 1951 that a letter had been sent to Shire Hall giving the teacher's address. The Headteacher was the only teacher at this time, which suggests the school house was no longer occupied. In 1952 it was mentioned that school dinners were cooked in the school house kitchen. It would appear then that the house had become redundant and indeed it was demolished in 1962. 

The children during these years were to benefit from the introduction of the N.H.S., antibiotics and vaccination against polio as well as diphtheria. The doctor, nurse and dentist visits continued regularly as before, supplemented by a Health Visitor from 1958. The usual childhood illnesses were in evidence, but far fewer than previously and only one epidemic occurred (measles in 1961) which almost halved attendance, but did not necessitate closing the school. 

HMI visits were now less frequent eg. only one visit logged between 1953 and 59. The only (brief) report copied into the logbook was that of 1952 when 23 children were enrolled. The Inspector commented that of the age range 5 to 11, the majority were below the age of 8 years and that 'these are carefully nursed by the older children.....general progress is satisfactory......and they enjoy their BBC broadcasts'. The Scripture reports were as good as ever and that of 1949 commented 'they also enjoyed singing some hymns'. Children continued to win free places at the grammar schools. 

Back in April 1938, Mrs. Abbott had written 'Mrs. Alice Maude Brandon commenced temporary duty. Owing to an influx of families such step has been found necessary 32 on books'. In July Mrs. Brandon was 'appointed as Supplementary Teacher' in charge of Infants. The November HMI report stated she 'began her work as a Teacher at a rather later age than usual'. When numbers were low she would not have been needed eg. in 1949 & 1952, reports referred to a 'one-teacher school'. However, her name appears several times as covering for absence; she must've become what we would call today a very dependable supply teacher. In May 1952 Mrs. Cave went to hospital for treatment and didn't resume her duties until September. In her place was Mr. Pattison. In 1953, a new Assistant was appointed but left two years later. Mrs. Brandon continued to step in to cover absence and was still doing so in 1958. From then until 1961, there were very many changes of staff in the Infants. Mrs. Cave resigned on December 31st. She had given 16 3/4 years of service to the school.