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Oxford Road

Breachwood Green

Herts. 

SG4 8NP 

Tel: 01438 833115

Breachwood Green JMI School

School History

The village of Breachwood Green was formerly known as

Brachwoddgrene

villageBreachwood Green School was built in 1859 and was originally a plait school. These were schools in which straw plaiting and a little reading was taught.

Plaiting schools were established by the beginning of the nineteenth century. The schools were generally conducted in a cottage by a village 'dame' often to keep her off parish relief. From what can be gathered from factory inspectors and other first hand reports the conditions in these 'schools' were unbelievably squalid. A constant feature of such places was the claustrophobic overcrowding with as many as fifty children ranging from four to fourteen years of age packed into tiny rooms no larger than eleven square feet.

 

old schoolAs there was no room for a fire, heating was through coal or wood in earthen or metal pots called 'dicky pots'. Most of the children had started plaiting very young in order to master the trade but girls would leave when they were old enough and competent enought to work unsupervised. Plaiting children regularly worked a ten hour day and received little formal education except perhaps fifteen minuted bible reading. There were at least two plaiting schools operating in the village before the late 1860s. In towns, schools were being set up in the early 19th century, but this trend did not reach the villages until later. Some schools were financed by the Government and known as Voluntary Controlled, and others by Church or Chapel and known as the Voluntary Aided Schools.

 

Earliest records of Breachwood Green School reveal that in 1864 when Mr. King was the headmaster, he "commenced his scholastic duties" with 25 children, with this number having risen to 52 by the end of the month. Mr. King remained in office for eight years and was followed by Mr. Shepherd, who stayed for five years until 1878. During this period the school was changed from being a National School under the Church of England to become a Board School in 1876, when education became compulsory up to the age of 13 unless an examination had been passed earlier.

Extracts from the first school log book 1864.

MonthDayLog Book EntryNotes
April

4th

25 Children in attendance

 
 

5th

Snowed. 30 children present at school

 
 

8th

No. on roll 33

Heads reason for increase in numbers "During this time I tried to make the school as attractive as possible".

 

15th

No. on roll 40

 

22nd

No. on roll 45

 

29th

No. on roll 52

May

6th

No. on roll 57

 
 

13th

No. on roll 60

 
 

18th

Attendance poor due to a fair on the village green

 
 

20th

62 children attended school.

The village Rev. paid regular visits

June

3rd

Began a 'lateness for school' campaign

 
 

6th

Boys away working in fields pulling carrots

 
 

8th

Ivy planted around school by order of Mrs Hale, Lady of the Manor.

 
 

10th

School started 9.30 instead of 9.00 due to latcomers owing to the hay season.

 
 

17th

Numbers at school peaked at 74 in attendance

 
 

21st

A pupil returned to school after 3 weeks of absence due to field work.

 
 

30th

Linen sent to school to be made into shirts by the girls.

 
July

11th

Children out at work bird tending

 
Aug

15th

Harvest holiday until the 12th September

 
Sept

23rd

Sparse attendance due to statue and balloon ascent at Luton

 
Oct

24th

Sparse absence due to acorning

 
 

25th

Sparse absence due to acorning

 
 

28th

Poor attendance due to demand of acorns (this were used to feed the pigs)

 
 

31st

Poor attendance due to demand of acorns

 
Dec

2nd

Many younger children absent on account of the weather

 
 

19th

Many younger children absent on account of the weather

 
Dec

26th

through to January 2nd - Christmas holiday.

 

The old school Log Books make very interesting and amusing reading. In the earliest records there are accounts of frequent visits by the Reverend Baker, and reports of the progress of the children in learning the Catechism and hymns. On one occasion a length of calico was sent by the Rev. Baker to be made into a shirt for a boy of 14; presumably this was the basis of a needlework lesson for the girls. Mrs. Hale, at that time resident at the Bury, was also prominent in these old records, and it was at her instigation that ivy was planted round the school to hide the bare bricks of the building. She also inspected the needlework, writing and general appearance of the children.

During the last century the school has undergone some dramatic alterations. In the last decade alone the school has had some major reconstruction work done to the original and subsequent buildings.  In 2007 the school was significantly improved with the addition of a new purpose built school hall and kitchen.  Class 4 moved from their temporary classroom to the old school hall, and the library was redesigned aswell.  Every year we seek to make further improvements to the school and most recently (May 2008) we have added a sheltered outdoor learning area to the front playground..

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Upcoming Events

18 December
Christmas Lunch
19 December
Last Day of Autumn Term
03 January
INSET Day
04 January
Start of Spring Term
08 January
Class 3 Swimming