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Church Close Boys' School Log Book 1872-78

Some notes from Log Book of  CHURCH CLOSE SCHOOL  1872-78

The first 6 years of this school were plagued by very poor attendance, an ineffective school warden and many parents who seemed to place little value on education. The first two headmasters in this period appear from their notes and tone to have given up in frustration !


May 6th 1872 School finally opened on this day. Teaching commenced with 9 boys and 2 girls             WJA Ball Headteacher

13th       7 more boys and of the 17 on register, only 3 are able to read books of 1st standard

15th   8 boys and 4 playing truant

27th May   The family of Dormands invariably come a few minutes before 10 o clock without reasonable excuse

Jun 19th Thomas Mercer  and John Dormand  gone to examination at Wesleyan school

Jul 5th Punished Alfred Hood for fighting

34 of the lower classes unable to tell letters

Sep 2nd The boy Freeman daily playing truant

Oct 8th  John Smith punished for truant

Nov 18th The boys Gilchrist and the Bowmans absent again useless keeping them on registers


Feb 4th Gilchrists seldom at school. The boys Paterson always late

Mar 12th The three Gilchrists truant and mother is worse

Feb 17th Tom Goodwin truant

Mar 15th Robert Dormand died after a 4 hour illness

May 5th The migration of fishermen from the town to the coalfields is on increase and having marked effect. 31 boys removed.

May 12th I find it impossible to get the boys here at 9 o clock. Another nuisance, from 15 to 20 boys have to leave school at 11.30 to carry dinners- I have decidedly failed in attempting to stop this- whenever the attempt has been made it is invariably resulted in moving the boys to other schools where the practice is permitted.

I have adopted this RULE  “ any child coming late cannot be permitted to leave the school before 12 o clock- sickness or any case of emergency excepted.

19th I give the names of absentees to the Warden but never get any answers.

20th “Minding the baby” seems to be a general excuse of non attendance. Many of these are truants

26th At 5 minutes past 9 only 7 boys present. It is somewhat useless making out list of absentees- the Warden gives no account.

Jun 18th There is a tendency of children running from school to school. It is useless trying to CLASS my school

Aug 25th Reopened after Harvest Vacation. A number have left to go to the Wesleyans. Admitted James Mitchell, Charles Cotton, Edward Albert Cotton, Thomas Patterson, John Robinson, William Henry Gibb and John Alexander Cotton.

Sep 1st  Andrew Brown has again put in an appearance. I have entered him 3 times now.

Sep 15th Moved the infants to the Gallery.

Sep 22nd Children moving from school to school. I fancy to throw the warden off the scent.

Oct 27th     60-70  absent this morning ‘ a waste of time and paper sending lists to the warden’.

Nov 5th Many absentees I fancy are looking after tar barrels.

Nov 24th   81 absent this morning, many I have crossed off the register as they are playing the streets to evade the warden and pretend to be in attendance at some petty woman’s school.

Feb 6th 1874    Gave up charge of this school . WJA Ball    Headmaster

March 13th Took charge of Boys’ Dept on Monday 9th . 54 the average attendance.

May 2nd Atttendance thin visit of circus.

Jun 19th Made list for warden but as having scarlet fever in his home is forbidden to make home visits.

Jul 10th Average attendance 70.

Jul 23rd Thin attendance as Annual Agricultural Show.

1875 May 22nd  Attendance very thin hardly worth keeping school open.

Aug 6th  Sgt Turnbull of Militia Staff stationed at Hartlepool Barracks took drill.

Sep 3rd  Architect and builder visited school.

Oct 29th Attendance average 142 but 4 have been absent over a month with no explanation.

1876 Apr 7th  I feel the vicar has been influencing certain parents to take their children away from the Board School to his own (Prissick Schools) 3 lost this way.

May 12th I feel the school warden cannot be doing his duty.

May 19th New school warden.

Jul 31st  By a resolution of the School Board all children over the age of 7 should be drafted but the infant mistress refuses.

Aug 19th None transferred from Infant School as there should be.

1878 Apr 11th Have given up charge of the school.     James Bernard Ives Headmaster

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