Hoath Church of England School opened in December 1860 in the building currently used as the village hall.
A plaque on the wall reads:
This tablet was placed here to commemorate the indefatigable exertions of the late Sarah-Ann Collard in raising the funds for the erection of this school house.
The school was built to educate local children from five to thirteen years of age. The building consisted of two classrooms, one larger than the other. Living accommodation for the teaching staff was also included. This comprised a scullery and living room downstairs with a staircase (now removed) leading to a bedroom above. The living accommodation was in use until the school closed in 1928.
Information about the school from 1902 onwards is recorded in the school log book. In 1905 the Headteacher was Miss Hocken and the assistant was Miss Thomson. Both retired in April 1905 after thirty years' service at the school.
The school was certainly well-subscribed. Miss Gowns, Headteacher from October to December 1905 writes, 'The Monitress is no use whatsoever as a teacher, so I have the whole six Standards and the Infants to teach (72 pupils present this week). Unless good help is forthcoming my health will thoroughly break down . . . it requires three good teachers to work up such a backward school.'
The larger room housed Standards I to VI – children from seven to thirteen years. The Headteacher taught this wide group of children unaided until after 1915 when various uncertified assistants are named. The Infants used the smaller room and were 'awkwardly seated at long desks placed on the ledges of a high gallery' (H.M.I. report 1911). In 1912 the gallery was removed and dual desks were installed.
The Infants class (at their dual desks) in what is now the committee room – about 1924
Despite the good work that was being done in a difficult situation by many teachers over the years, there was a need for change. In 1922 Mr G.A. Turner (H.M.I.) wrote of the 'cramped and crowded conditions. There are two classes in the main room . . . The stove stands out from the wall, there are desks for 54 children, a piano, cupboards and some boards used for making a platform for concerts and public meetings. Most of the school material is piled in corners for want of cupboard room and there is very little space for free movement. The walls and ceiling are dirty. On the day of inspection 59 children were being taught in this room'. In 1928 the school was moved to a new building.
Children at Hoath Church of England School about 1925
To see some early entries from the school log book, please click on the picture.
With thanks to Miss J Webster for the information in her article on Hoath School published in Hoath and Herne: The Last of the Forest.
An entertainment staged by the school – date unknown