Weeke local History - Winchester Education Background


Winchester Education Background

Various schools have existed in Winchester for the richer members of the community but the poorer classes had little schooling until the Nineteenth century. The only regular schooling would have been Sunday school associated with learning stories from the Bible.

The Winchester Charity School, also known as the Free Charity School, was founded c1710, in connection with Winchester College, as a trust for clothing and educating poor boys and girls of the city. The school's funds were raised by annual subscription and occasional legacies. The children admitted to the school had to be recommended by the subscribers and were aged between 8 and 14. The whereabouts of the school is not known (HRO 214M85).

The Hampshire Society for Education of infant poor was founded in 1811 'for the education of the infant poor on the plan of the Rev Dr Bell and in the principles of the Established Church'. This was two weeks after the Archbishop of Canterbury had chaired the first meeting of the National Society. By annual subscriptions the Hampshire Society provided the basic funding for Hampshire schools. The National Society provided loans and other resources to aid this growth of schools in Hampshire. Two central schools, one for boys and one for girls (St Marys school), were built and by 1835 there were 161 boys and 178 girls (HRO 44M69/H1/1 & 2).

From the early 19th century the Charity School continued as an educational foundation only, with no school attached. This change occurred in 2 stages. First, in Oct 1819 at a committee meeting of the Hampshire Society for the Education of the Infant Poor the committee agreed to accept £10 annually from the Free School for the instruction of its girls, at the Winchester Central School (HRO 128M84/47). Then in Aug 1836 the 30 boys belonging to the Free School were admitted to the Central School for the payment of £20 per annum.

The idea of a church school in every parish was promoted by the Hampshire Society. By 1850 there were six church schools in Winchester. These were Central; Holy Trinity; St Bartholomew; St Maurice; St Peter Cheesehill; St Thomas. The Hampshire Society established its own training college which was to become King Alfred's College and now the University of Winchester (Dawson, 1988).

Other churches were also providing schools. There was a Roman Catholic school for 30 children in St Peter Street and a school for 110 children called the British School, attached to the Congregational Church in Jewry Street.

Not all parents in Winchester made use of the educational opportunities offered to their children. In 1846, a survey showed out of a total population of Winchester of 10,000 only 617 of the children were attending a day school of any kind (Dawson, 1988).

Acts of parliament in 1870 and 1876 made provision of elementary education and attendance compulsory for children between 6 and 12. In many places board schools were set up and financed by local rates, but not in Winchester. The Elementary Schools Council provided assistance to the voluntary schools in Winchester to help them comply with the national Board of Education requirements. St Thomas and St Peter's Roman Catholic Schools moved to new buildings while others, including St Bartholomew's, St Cross and the Wesleyan School (which had superseded the British School) were improved and enlarged. Through the generosity of Bishop Sumner, All Saints School was built for the Parish of Chilcomb.

The Education Act of 1902 made education the responsibility of the state and not the church. Winchester City Council thus became responsible for the provision of elementary education within the city. At this time there were 3000 children attending day schools in the city. The first council school was not opened until 1912 and this was Danemark in Gordon Road. This arose after the Education Board condemned the buildings which housed the Wesleyan Mixed School in 1908. 250 pupils had to use the Wesley Hall until the new school was ready in 1912 (Dawson, 1988).

The 1921 Education Act required local authorities to make adequate and suitable provision by means of central schools for organizing courses of advanced instruction for the older or more intelligent children.

In Jun 1921 a Board of Education scheme established the Charity School Fund as the Winchester Charity School Educational Foundation, its purpose being to fund exhibitions of various kinds (secondary school, technical and teacher training) and to make other payments in aid of further education.

By 1928 Winchester had decided to house the central classes for boys and girls at Danemark School. It was estimated that attendance would be 110 girls and 100 boys. Danemark closed as an elementary school at the end of 1928 and opened as the central school still called Danemark in early 1929 (Dawson, 1988).

The aim was to 'secure greater efficiency by grading pupils, and making the classes for older children smaller. At about 11 all children in the City Schools were examined, and those who succeed best won a Secondary School Free Place to Danemark. The group who did well but did not get a free place were offered a scholarship in the classes at Danemark Central School. The remaining children over 11 selected from St Mary's (Senior Girls), St Thomas (Senior Boys) and the new Stanmore (Senior Girls and Boys) schools.

After World War II there were many changes in education. The 1944 Education Act 1944, implemented in 1947, not only raised the school leaving age, from 14 to 15 but also gave county councils the responsibility for providing free education at primary, secondary and further education levels. This meant that from April 1st 1945 Winchester City Council no longer had responsibility or control of education in the city schools. Under the terms of this act, both elementary and secondary education were redefined and reorganised and all Local Education Authorities had to submit development plans. The Act also involved reorganising schools into elementary and secondary. This involved a “comprehensive” education up to 11 then an exam, the 11 plus to stream pupils into “grammar” schools or secondary modern schools.

Grammar schools were for the more academic pupil, Secondary Modern schools for a more practical, non-academic style of education and in some areas Technical schools for specialist practical education. Technical schools were not implemented in Winchester.

Peter Symonds for boys and the County High School for girls were the two Grammar schools in Winchester, both established in Weeke parish. The Secondary Modern Schools were St Marys (girls only), Danemark (mixed) and St Thomas (boys only). A long term plan was established to improve these schools. It was obviously decided to move the schools out of the centre of town. The site chosen was on Romsey Road opposite Stanmore Lane within the parish of Weeke. The boys new school was built in 1952 and boys were moved in from Danemark and St Thomas. St Thomas was closed and St Marys School closed with the girls replacing the boys at Danemark. This established the two Secondary Modern schools in Winchester as single sex schools. The new boys was initially called the Winchester Secondary Modern School for boys. Later it was renamed Montgomery School for boys. In 1959 the first buildings for a new school to replace Danemark were built next to the boys school on the Romsey Road site. The old Danemark site was maintained as an annex until 1966 when further building on the new site completed the transfer. The new school maintained the Danemark name (Dawson, 1988).

The late 1960s saw the rise of comprehensive education when Hampshire County Council reorganised education in Winchester. It was decided that all schools would provide comprehensive education for 11 to 16 year olds. All schools would then feed sixth formers to Peter Symonds which was converted to a sixth form college for 17 to 18 year olds. The school became a college in 1974 and the final grammar school pupils persisted until 1978. The County girls School became Westgate school and lost its sixth form. A new school was built to meet the needs of the growing population in Weeke and Harestock called Henry Beaufort, also providing comprehensive education for boys and girls. Montgomery and Danemark became comprehensive schools but maintained their single sex status ( HRO W/C1/7/22). This continued until 1984 when Montgomery and Danemark combined to form Kings.

Release 1.0 last update 02/09/08

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