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The Rushden Echo, 20th November 1914, transcribed by Gill Hollis.

National Schools 1914

Will They Be Closed? - A £10,000 Scheme Hinted At

Important Questions

At the meeting of the Rushden Education Sub-Committee on Tuesday a letter was received from Mr. Holland (secretary of the County Education Committee), regarding the Rushden Church of England school, as follows:-

“I am desired by the Buildings Sub-Committee to bring before the District Sub-Committee for their consideration the serious problem which is raised by the condition of the Church of England Infants’ School at Rushden. This school has been virtually condemned for some years past. The condemnation, however, was not made actual by the Board of Education, as representations were made on behalf of the Education Committee that other improvements in and additions to the school accommodation at Rushden were more urgent, and a programme was laid before the Board which the Committee undertook to carry out.

“With the alteration of Alfred-street School, the second stage in this programme is reached, and the Board of Education is now taking up the question of the Church of England Infants’ School. They have fixed the 30th April, 1916, as the date after which they will decline to recognise the infants’ school further, and as the date from which, therefore, other accommodation must be provided for the infants attending the school, either by the Local Authority or otherwise.

“There are three ways in either of which the problem might be dealt with: either the Managers of the Church of England School might themselves provide a new infants’ school; or the Local Authority might provide an infants’ school to feed the Church of England Mixed School; or the Managers might rearrange the accommodation in the present mixed school whereby the mixed accommodation would be reduced and a certain amount of infants’ accommodation equivalent to the mixed accommodation would be provided. The present position of the Managers is understood to be that owing to the war they are quite unable to give any undertaking, either to carry out the first or the last of these suggestions. With regard to the second suggestion it will be obvious that a serious addition to the rates of the parish would be involved, and with regard to the third, it is quite possible that the Authority might have to build a small infants’ department to take those infants who could not be accommodated in the remodelled Church of England mixed school, and perhaps also a small mixed department.

“In view of the decision of the Board to discontinue their recognition of the present infants’ school as from the 30th April, 1916, it will be evident that the question brooks no delay, and I am accordingly to ask that the District Sub-Committee what, in their opinion, would be the best solution from all points of view.

“If I can be of any assistance by personally attending a meeting of the District Sub-Committee I shall be glad to do so.”

The Chairman (Mr. J. T. Colson): We have ample accommodation in the other infants schools for the 159 children on the register of the Church of England school. We have

220 Unoccupied School Places

for infants in the Council schools.

Ald. Miller: The Foundation Managers of the Church School have had this question under consideration. In July we put the matter in the hands of the diocesan architect who produced two plans. The managers had considered the two schemes. One was to provide a new infants' school and the other was to enlarge the present mixed school by adding a wing to take the infants. We also had a suggestion by the secretary of the County Education Committee which would reduce the school places by reconstructing the whole school to a lower grade, but this we put out of court at once and refused to consider it. Then the war broke out, and practically put the whole thing on one side. It would be most unpatriotic to try to raise funds to build a new infants school at a time like this, when we are considering something much more important. We think it hardly fair to ask the infants in that part of the town to walk to North-end or Newton-road. There should be an infants school in that part of the town, because, without a feeder, the Managers would have to consider whether it was worthwhile to keep the mixed school open. The mixed school has already been affected because the infants school has been

Virtually Condemned

To close the infants school means that the mixed school will sink to a lower grade and an inferior headmaster appointed. We should prefer to close the whole block than to keep open the mixed school without an infants school. This would mean that the County Council would have to build a new mixed school there.

Mr. Hensman : Then the town would have to face a £10,000 loan.

Ald. Miller : If this committee could see its way to recommend the County Committee to build an infants school in that part of the town we might get a free site, which would be something towards the scheme. The Council schools and Church schools have worked very well together, so far.

The Chairman : I do not think public opinion in Rushden would back us up in building an infant school there when we have sufficient accommodation for infants in the present schools.

Ald. Miller : The cheapest solution from the ratepayers’ point of view would be to build an infants school there as a feeder to the mixed school.

Mr. Claridge : Personally I do not see much objection to building an infants school there.

Mr. Hensman : If the County Council build an infants school there, who will have control of it?

The Chairman : The County Council.

Eventually it was decided to invite Mr. Holland, secretary of the County Education Committee, to confer with the local committee on the matter.

The Rushden Echo, 4th December 1914, transcribed by Gill Hollis.

Rushden National Schools - The Infants Department - To Be Closed?

The Rev. Percy E. Robson, M.A., Rector of St. Mary’s, Rushden, in the “St. Mary’s Parish Magazine” says with reference to the National school:

I think it is right for me to intimate to you though I can only do so briefly here, that to my great sorrow, we are threatened with the loss of our Infants School.

In spite of all protests from our Managers we have been required to pledge ourselves before the end of this present year to undertake extensive alterations, which according to plans submitted by our architect would cost £2,000.

This in any case would have been a very heavy burden, but under the circumstances, when Church people are giving, and rightly giving, all that they can spare for patriotic funds, it would be impossible, and would seem to us unpatriotic, to attempt to raise such a sum of money for school purposes.

I cannot understand the action of the County Education Authority forcing our hands at such a critical time as this. But that is our position, and we are powerless to do anything but to hand over to the Local Education Authority the duty of providing proper and suitable accommodation for the infants in that part of the town which for so many years the Church has served.

With all my heart I deplore this surrender, and it distresses me that so soon after my coming here I should be forced to make it.

What the effect the surrender of our infant school will have upon our mixed department depends upon the action of the Local Education Authority. We must wait and see.

The Rushden Echo, July 2nd 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Promotion for Rushden Teacher
We are pleased to report that Mr. G. F. Smythem, formerly a teacher at the Rushden National Schools, who enlisted in the Army Ordnance Corps last September, has now been promoted staff-sergeant.

Rushden Echo, 4th June 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Proposed New School for Rushden

The question of the proposed new Council infants’ school at Rushden was raised at the meeting of the Northamptonshire Education Committee on Saturday. Our readers will remember that the Board of Education have condemned the present premises of the Church of England infants school at Rushden and have notified that they will not recognise the school after April 30th next year. The Managers of the Church of England school having intimated that they are unable to provide accommodation in place of the present buildings, the Rushden District Education Sub-Committee recommended that steps be taken to provide a new Council infants school at the south end of the town. The County Committee on Saturday decided to issue the necessary legal notices for the provision of a new Council school, to accommodate about 175 infants. On the suggestion of the Rushden Education Authority the Elementary School Buildings sub-Committee for the county had requested the county education surveyor to report upon a site offered by Mr. A. H. Sartoris, adjoining the present National school. This report showed that the piece of land recommended contained rather more than a quarter-of-an-acre, that there was an open water course crossing the front of the site, an open pond in the middle of the site in the only place suitable for a building, and a steep rise at the back of the site. The Surveyor estimated that so far as could be ascertained without definite plans, the additional expenditure needed to fit this site for the erection of a school would be between £315 and £410. The Surveyor reported that in the same field, but some hundred yards up the Wymington-road, there was sufficient land to obtain a good site, there being suitable portions containing half an acre of practically level ground. The Sub-Committee were of opinion that the site proposed was entirely unsuitable for an infants’ school, and that part at least should be kept in hand with a view to the ultimate extension of the playground of the mixed school, which is now rather cramped. It was decided to request them to make enquiries for suitable sites of half-an-acre or thereabouts, including if possible a site on the Wymington road.

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