From Old LaF 14 February 2011

A paragraph in the Filey Parish Magazine, January 1896 informs us that ‘The Diocesan Inspection was held in our National Schools on Thursday, 21st November, by the Rev. E. J. Barry. An excellent report both of the Mixed and Infants’ School has been received.’  In 1874 the National Schools replaced the 1839 Church School on the same site in Scarborough Road. (Source, Michael Fearon, The History of Filey.)  Though ‘National School’ was the official term it seems that most people referred to it as the Church (of England) school. Whatever, as the 19th century was drawing to a close it was being well run by the master, William Foster SMITH and his assistants. The Filey Parish Magazine for February 1896 reported that the National School had received the highest possible grant from Her Majesty’s Inspector and at the Prize-giving on 20th December 1895 Mr C. G. WHEELHOUSE, after praising the teaching staff, offered his congratulations to the children for the education they were receiving.

The National Schools were based on a monitorial system of instruction and four Monitors received prizes from Mr WHEELHOUSE – Lilian STOCKDALE, Harrison CAMMISH, Lillie COLLING and L. JENKINSON. The report goes on to mention other prize-winning children, two in Standard 4, seven in Standard 3, eight in Standard 2 and two in Standard 1.

I had been checking on the ages of some children for whom I had contradictory records and three were on this list! It dawned on me quite quickly though that Standard 4 wasn’t a class you entered at a certain age but one that you moved up to when you had reached a particular level of accomplishment in reading, writing and arithmetic. To get into Standard 4 you had to read a few lines of poetry or prose at the choice of the Inspector, write a sentence slowly dictated once and in arithmetic understand compound rules (money) and reduction (common weights and measures).

If you assume the Filey children who received the prizes were the bright ones it follows that they probably attained the ‘standards’ at an earlier age than their peers. I don’t have the complete class lists for 1895 so it is impossible to identify the youngest and oldest pupils in each Standard Class. I have estimated the age in December 1895 (in years and months) of all but two of the seventeen prize-winning children in Standards 1 to 3 and give the youngest and oldest below.

Standard 1

Youngest: Maggie COLLING, 8 yrs 9 mths

Oldest: Edward A. RAWSON,  8 yrs 10 mths

Standard 2

Youngest: Faith WALLER, 9 yrs 1 mth

Oldest: Christy WATKINSON, 10 yrs 11 mths

Standard 3

Youngest: Harry STOCKDALE, 10 yrs 6 mths

Oldest: Tom APPLEBY, 12 yrs 6 mths

The prize-winners represent a tiny sample of the school population but there’s a suggestion here that the age range within a class increases as the children climb the attainments ladder.

1884, William Foster Smith
courtesy Deirdre Lebbon


Williamson Memory on the Shared Tree.

Mark of Man 83 · Filey Smiley

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