THE HISTORY OF SYTCHAMPTON ENDOWED PRIMARY SCHOOL AND THE LLOYDS EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION
(With many thanks and acknowledgement to John Silvester April 1997)
Up until 1869 the government played no role in education and County Councils did not exist before 1888.
During the 1690s, new schools were being founded by the Church of England to try and make education more widely available to more children. However, there were no such schools in Ombersley and Sytchampton.
THE LLOYDS EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION - HOW IT ALL BEGAN
As a result, a group of local men worked together to establish a charitable foundation with a view to providing schools for local children.
In 1702 a local man called Thomas Tolley of Comhampton died and left £20 in his will to help further local education. 21 years later, another local man, Thomas Baker of Boreley died and left £1000 for the same purpose. Both of these bequests were paid over to Richard Lloyd, believed to be a local church warden, who used this money to acquire land and buildings on behalf of the trust.
Richard Lloyd appointed seven trustees to manage the charity, then called the Richard Lloyd Charity.
The seven original trustees of this charity were: Martin Sandys, Richard Bourne, Samuel Sanders, Thomas Baker, John Wood, John Oakey Senior and John Pardoe. One of the key aims of this charity was tor provide a free education for children of poorer families. The Charity also provided books, pens, ink, paper and sometimes clothing for the children who came to the school.
THE DAME SCHOOL AT BROOKHAMPTON
Initially, the first school established, was a Dame’s School, which was run out of Brooms Cottage at Brookhampton. The teacher was a lady called Miss Sarah Portman, who was a distant relative of Richard Lloyd. She taught approximately 30 children in the cottage, and the subjects she taught included Reading, Writing, Knitting and Sewing, but she never attempted to teach arithmetic!
THE FIRST SCHOOLS IN OMBERSLEY
In 1730, a house called Isabell and Dawkes in Ombersley was established as a school for girls and boys. These buildings have not been used as schools for over 130 years, but they are known as the Old School House and the Old School House Garage. By 1732, 80 pupils were being taught in these buildings and were taught by a husband and wife, John and Hannah Williams. The couple were paid a joint salary of £24 a year and an allowance of coal!
In 1806, the trustees of the charity standardised the school day and the school holidays. From March to November, the schools would be open, Monday to Friday from 8am to noon, and from 1pm to 5pm. From November to March, the schools would close at 4pm, except for Thursdays when they would close at 3pm. To make up for this lost time, they would open from 8am to noon on Saturday. The school holiays would be one week at Eastr, one week at Whitsuntimde, three weeks at Harvest Time and four weeks at Christmas.
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SYTCHAMPTON SCHOOL
Shortly after the Ombersley Inclosure Act which was passed in 1814, but not fully implemented until 1826, the trustees of the charity made the decision to exchange the land they had at Brookhampton for some land by the Kidderminster/Worcester Road. It was decided to sell the Brooms Cottage school, and build a new one on this site instead.
A contract, dated 24th February 1826, was made with John Whitney of Ombersley to build the new school for £225.
In 1827, the trustees inspected the new school, (now Sytchampton Endowed Primary School) and authorised the teacher, Miss Bourne (who had been the schoolmistress at Broom’s Cottage) to move to the Sytchampton School.
By 1839, Ombersley Schools were becoming overcrowded, with 160 pupils. Therefore, in 1847, an infants school was built in the village. It is believed that this school was built on Church Lane, where a 19th Century Building now stands called Ewers Cottage. In the first year of this school 41 children attended the school. But within three years this number had grown to 70. In order to try and reduce the overcrowding, it was decided that no child over 13, except in very rare cases, could remain at school. The infants school appeared to stop operating in 1854.
In 1851, the Trustees began the tradition, still continued to this day, of presenting each school leaver with a bible.
By 1857, the number of pupils in the Ombersley Schools had risen to 121 boys and 113 girls. The problem of overcrowding had not gone away.
Finally in 1868, it was decided to close the Dame’s School at Sytchampton and to upgrade the school. A 24x16ft schoolroom was built against the school house by Joseph Harding and cost £73-18-0.
The Trustees ordered that all children from Northampton, Tytchney, Winnell, Lineholt, Comhampton, Acton, Dunhampton and Sytchanpton and the top of Oldfield were to go to Sytchampton School. No children under the age of six were to attend any school.
By 1870, 74 boys and 56 girls were being taught at Sytchampton. The number of pupils for the Ombersley Schools dropped to 88 boys and 87 girls.
ELEMENTARY EDUCATION ACT 1870
In 1870, the government decided to improve the education for all children between 5 and 13 years of age. They passed the Elementary Education Act in 1870 and sought to improve education either by aiding existing schools or by setting up Local School Boards to provide and run schools. Education was still not free at this stage and a weekly contribution was expected from parents.
In 1875, it was decided that a new school building should be created in Ombersley, just outside of the village, at the to of the Droitwich Road. The land was a gift from Lord Sandys and he also bought the old school properties in the village for £400.
At the same time, it was decided that a second classroom should be built against the exisiting school at Sytchampton. Additional land was purchased from Mr Pickerwell and the Governors of the school had to agree to fill in his pool and make another watering place for his stock. The new room had a porch on the North side, and in October 1875, it was agreed to build one for the first room on the South side. It is believed that a ‘time capsule’ was buried beneath the extension made to Sytchampton School and it is also believed that Frank Bellamy, maternal grandfather of Frank Baylis, was chosen, on account of his good handwriting, to write the inscription.
All of this building work was completed by the Autumn of 1875, but it is likely that the new school in Ombersley was not occupied until after the Christmas holiday. The total cost of Ombersley School, including the additional room, was £2177.