History of Education in HartleyBefore 1812
We can get some idea of literacy from the marriage registers, when the couple and witnesses would have to sign the register. The table below is an analysis of the registers for 1775-1812. Spouses not of the parish of Hartley are excluded, but all witnesses are listed - some will not be from Hartley but there is no way of telling this.
Category Number Percent literate Male - spouse 33 27% Female - spouse 40 23% Male - witness 16 63% Male - witness 29 66%The "spouse" figures are likely to be a better indicator of literacy, because there is some evidence that people known to be literate were chosen as witnesses - Francis Treadwell of Fairby Farm appears many times as a witness for example.Hartley Primary SchoolIn 1818 there was no school in Hartley, but some children were sent by subscription to a neighbouring school (?Ash, which was founded in 1735). A Sunday School was started in 1829, and the same was still there in the 1834 Parliamentary enquiry, which also found Longfield had a Sunday School, Fawkham had 2 day schools for 32 and a Sunday School for 20, and Ash had 4 day schools and 2 Sunday schools (C of E and Baptist).A school roll of 1831 names the 22 children then at the school. The winner of the annual prize was Thomas Deane who became a carpenter and wheelwright and lived at Bay Lodge, Ash Road. (Hartley Parish Magazine, March 1926).But local people wanted a proper school, so Fawkham, Hartley and Longfield decided to club together to pay for a school for 70 children in 1841. The original school building was thatched. The owner of Middle Farm (William Smith-Masters of Camer) sold them the land on the green in 1841 for £2 and the school cost £135 to build. The land for the school was tiny - only 44 by 22 feet. Part of the money came from local people and part from the Church of England National Society for Education, because then it was a church school. A press report about the Church and education in 1840 suggests that it was as much about social control as improving the lot of the working classes. The house for the teacher was also built in 1841, the cost of £35 being met by the government.It doesn't sound very much money, but remember you could buy a loaf three times the size of today's sliced bread for 4p, and milk cost ½p a pint and the wage of a farm worker was 51 p a week.From various sources we can build up a list of headteachers from 1841. Mostly from the census.1841 James Cox, aged 451851 Maria Jones, aged 421861 Maria Jones (also Kellys 1867)1871 Fanny and Rebecca Drace, sisters1881 Mary Nellingham, aged 24 (also Kellys 1882)1891 Emily Jane Hillyear, aged 401901 Florence A Cromar, aged 34 (also Kellys 1903)1911 Miss Ella Rose Bragger (also Kellys 1913)1914 Miss Margaret Theresa Fiddis1944 Miss Dorothy Barnes1970 Mr Alan ConnickIn those days most parents would have had to pay for their children to go to school -even for many years after it was made compulsory in 1870. It would not be until 1891 that state run education became free.A lady who went to school here in the 1850s remembered that on Sundays the children walked two by two from the school on the green to Hartley Church. In winter they were given red cloaks to wear as Sunday best, and in summer white calico capes with straw bonnets. There is another excellent description of the school from 1912 to 1917 in "West Kent Within Living Memory" (West Kent Federation of WIs, Maidstone, 1995).As well as a school there was also a house next door for the teacher to live in.School in about 1907The school was extended in 1893 and partially rebuilt in 1907. In 1907 the School Inspector Mr Philips was convinced that Rev Bancks as chairman of the governors was doing his utmost to frustrate the necessary repairs ("The Vicar will obstruct to the last if he possibly can"), but he was eventually persuaded with the help of the Diocese and a threat from the Board that the school would be closed if something wasn't done. A new main schoolroom was built, while the old room had the thatch replaced with slate and was used as a dining hall and for PE. New playgrounds, toilets and cloakrooms were also added.The map shows the esiimated expansion of the site from 1841 (pink), 1893 (green), 1907 (yellow) and 1957 (blue). The base map is the large scale 1/2500 Ordnance Survey map from 1965.Anne Humble, who attended the school in the 1960s has written of her memories of the old school, and the picture of the school in about 1968 just after it closed.We went into school through the door in the photo. We sat in rows facing a blackboard on the far wall. There was a coal or coke boiler in the bottom left corner. In the winter our third pint milk bottles were put by the boiler to warm. I think the last lessons in the school [for seniors] were 1963/ 1964 because I went to the Round Ash Way School in 1964/ 1965. Miss Barnes was Head Teacher. There were 3 classrooms. A room divider separated two of them. It could be pulled back to make a larger room. Miss Drinkwater was one of the other teachers and possibly Mrs Pritchard or Mrs Cox. We walked to the Country Club to play rounders in the summer and do nature study. The third classroom was much newer and not joined to this building. The toilets were outside and we had to cross the playground in all weather to use them (no one complained!). We played a lot with skipping ropes at playtime and sometimes marbles or jacks. We knew lots of skipping rhymes. Both ropes , marbles and jacks we supplied ourselves from home. There was also a lot of chase too. In winter we made slides from the ice. Meals were served at lunch time but I walked home with my sister and neighbours.In the last century two ladies were headmistress for a long time - Miss Fiddis from 1914 to 1944, and Miss Dorothy Barnes from 1944 to 1970. Writing in the Hart of July 1970, Miss Barnes said when she came it was a "tiny, ill-equipped, only two teacher school" with lessons constantly interrupted by air raid sirens. When the senior children were transferred in 1946, the numbers fell to 29, but in 1970 there were 427 enrolled with a staff of 11 teachers plus herself.The new school in Round Ash Way opened with 7 classrooms for senior children in November 1968. The infants followed in the Easter term of 1969. Kent County Council spent £14,236 on phase 2 improvments in the years 1968-70. New Ash Green Primary with 320 places opened in September 1971 (Source: KCC - "Education in Kent 1970-1974").Hartley Primary School converted from one run by the council to an academy answerable to the government in 2013, to be taken over by the Leigh Academies Trust. The school does not have a governing body of its own now, rather a "local development group" which advises the Longfield Academies Board, which acts as the statutory governors.When the school was built in 1841 only 199 people lived in Hartley, now many thousands live here. Numbers rose rapidly from the low of 1946, rolls topped 100 for the first time in 1959 (Hart May 1969). So the old school became too small and a new one built in Round Ash Way (1965). Infants continued to use the old building, until it was closed forever in December 1968. The new school was officially opened by Professor Eric Laithwaite of Imperial College London, the inventor of Maglev Railways.Hartley Kent: Hartley Primary SchoolThe old school was knocked down and replaced by the three new houses opposite the green.Other SchoolsOur Lady of Hartley RC - founded in 1942 by evacuated sisters from Alderney. The school was a weatherboarded wooden building in Woodland Avenue, but was replaced by the current school in Stack Lane in 1976. It converted to an academy in 2014, like Hartley Primary it is part of a multi-academy trust, in their case the Kent Catholic Schools Partnership.Steephill School - founded in 1935 by Miss Eileen Bignold and now run by an Educational Trust.Former SchoolsOld Downs - this was a cramming school for sons of the gentry, run by a Mr Stickland until about 1950. One of the teachers here was to become the 1950s television personality, Gilbert Harding.There were also schools in the 1930s at Bonsalls, Church Road; Fairby High School, The Stoep, Fairby Lane; and Merton House (now Amberley, Merton Avenue, run by the Mrs Cromar who used to be headmistress of Hartley Primary School)
Parochial Returns on Schools 1818
Parish, Minister & Population
Particulars relating to endowments for the education of youth
Other institutions for the purpose of education
Ash near Dartford
A school in which 20 boys are taught; the funds amount to £27 10s, £25 of which are paid to the master, and the residue applied to necessary expenses, according to the will of the founder
A school for girls, supported by voluntary contributions; and another day school, containing together 47 children. A Sunday School, in which 70 children are instructed.
The poorer classes have abundant means of educating their children, free of expense.
A W Burnside, curate
There is a village school immediately joining the parish; and when the poor have not sufficient means of defraying the expense, they are assisted by charitable contributions.
The labouring poor are without sufficient means of education, but some of the children are sent by subscription to a neighbouring school.
Glover Mungeam, curate
The poor are in want of a means of education.
The poor children are educated in the adjoining parish of Ash.
|Source: A digest of parochial returns made to the select committee appointed to inquire into the education of the poor : session 1818.|
|Year||Total on Roll||Average Attendance|