"The Chronicles of a Country Parish" - A village appraisal of Sulgrave published in 1995

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Schooling in Sulgrave can be traced back to 1720 when John Hodges and his wife Mary endowed a school for 10 boys and provided clothing for them. This voluntary charitable basis of education exists to the present day.

The original school was held in what is now the room used for the meetings of the Parish Council. The room, at the focal point of the village, where Magpie Road diverges to form Manor Road and School Street, is the nearest thing the village has to a Town Hall or Government Building of any sort.

The original village school, later the reading room, then the
billiard room and presently a community shop

As the numbers of pupils increased a new school was built in 1822 on the site in School Street and enlarged in 1845. In 1846 an infant school was added. Voluntary contributions paid for all this work.

In 1862 the school property together with the adjacent School House were sold to the vicar of Sulgrave and became Church property.

In 1870 universal primary education was established by central government. Those schools already established by religious denominations, such as the village school, were permitted to continue as Church schools but almost all the outgoings were met by public funds, the Church being responsible only for the external part of the buildings.

The present school building bears the date 1887 when it was designed as an all-age school for some 100 pupils, a number only reached in the late 19th century during the building of the many railways in this area.

During the twentieth century the numbers of children attending the village school have gradually declined for a number of reasons. Following its upsurge in the previous century, the population of the village declined and this naturally resulted in less demand on the school.

From being an all-age school, it became a primary school, for children in the 5-11 age group only, following the establishment of separate secondary education for older children in 1944.

Although from the earliest days of organised education some village children had been educated privately in premises within and outside the immediate environs of the village, this trend gained momentum in recent years. At the same time the number of staff required at the school increased to provide for the extra-curricular duties imposed by statute e.g. school meals and day-long care of the children.

Two pictures showing the staff and pupils of Sulgrave School
in 1890 and a century later in 1990.

All these trends combined to impose on the County education authority a quite unreasonable cost per pupil and it was decided that the school's existence could no longer be justified. It was closed at the end of the Summer Term 1991 and arrangements made for the remaining children - 10 boys and 1 girl - to be bussed to the adjacent village of Culworth where the denominational school was enlarged to receive them.

See here for more photographs of the Village School and its pupils.