In May 1924, the Baptist Minister and the Curate from St Peter’s were asked to ‘test the efficiency of the religious teaching given in the (Elementary) schools. The syllabus had been approved by Tiverton Education Committee.

At Bolham, the singing was ‘especially good’. The inspection then covered ‘repetition of Scripture’ as well as the lessons which had been given. The children were also asked questions. The children at all the schools visited appeared very eager to please the examiners. It is obvious from the report at Chevithorne that different parts of the Bible were selected each year for study. Even the youngest children, in the nursery class at Heathcoat Infants, were able to recite simple texts. The work in Religious Instruction at Elmore was of a ‘high order’. The final sentence of the report for Cove School read ‘for a purely country school, with its limitations and disabilities, capital work is being done’.

We don’t have photos of all the schools mentioned above but this classroom at Elmore would have been familiar to the children in 1924.

A classroom full of small children sitting at wooden desks looking at the camera. They all look very serious. The photo is in black and white.

Elmore School 1929

There is no date on this photo of ‘number 1’ class at Heathcoat Infants but it would have been children of this age that could recite simple Bible texts to the school inspectors.

A group of children in pinafore dresses and other old fashioned clothing looking at the camera. They are all straight faced.

Heathcoat Infants

Some family historians amongst you may see names that you recognise in this photo of Uffculme School. Alonzo Woolliscroft was headmaster from 1901 until his retirement in 1932 which is reported in the Devon & Exeter Gazette. He devoted most of his working life to the school and during that time it is reported that 23 scholarships had been won by pupils.

Uffculme School

This photo is of a class at Bradninch School in 1922. The first records of Bradninch School at Devon Heritage Centre date from 1863.

Bradninch School

It can quite difficult searching for the foundation date of a school as they are ‘closed’ and established again when management structures change. For instance, the Duchy School at Bradninch is shown as being closed on the Ofsted website in 2012. The following year it was ‘established’ as an Academy.

Written by Museum Volunteer, Sue B