Symondsbury Church of England School was founded in 1868. The first school in the village, the Dame School, was situated at 1 and 2 Barton Cottages and tuition cost a penny a day. The present school, on the site of the old Poor House, was built by the generosity of The Rev. Gregory Raymond, Rector of Symondsbury, who provided £1,500 for the school buildings and £1,500 for Raymond’s Charity. Since then the school has flourished and always tried to adapt itself to changing times.
Originally the school taught children from a largely agricultural background who left school and went to work aged 12, later at 14. Holidays were adjusted to include harvest and potato picking. The school supplemented reading, writing and arithmetic with evening needlework classes for the girls. Children tended gardens on the school field. The headmaster and his family lived in the School House attached to the school. The school was the centre of the village and many local events and parties took place in the school building.
A war memorial in the village churchyard bears testimony to the 28 men killed in the First World War, most of whom would have been pupils at the school. After the Second World War, when the school leaving age was raised to 15, Symondsbury School taught 5-11 year olds. The number of pupils in the school increased dramatically and a temporary classroom was erected to accommodate them. This was succeeded by the two beautiful new classrooms in use today as the reception and KS1 wing. The school has been extended further since then, providing a well-equipped computer suite and additional teaching area.
Symondsbury School’s strong connection to the church has been sustained throughout the years. Today the children maintain close links with the church and community. For instance, a small group of local people come into school each week to hear the children read.
In these days of easy mobility the school attracts children from a wide surrounding area as well as from the parish. The fact that several families who have attended the school for at least three generations continue sending their children to the village school speaks for itself.
Extract from the original Raymond’s Charity Trust Deed dated 1868
The school shall be opened and closed daily with prayer. After morning and evening prayer, a hymn shall be sung by the children. Some portion of the Bible shall be read daily by the children in which they shall be examined.
The boys and girls shall be instructed in reading, writing, arithmetic and geography. The girls in addition to the above shall be taught plain sewing, marking, darning, and cutting out garments and knitting.
The hours of instruction shall be from 9am to 12 noon and from 2pm to 5pm, excepting from November 1st to March 1st when the school shall be closed at 4.30pm.
The children shall have 3 weeks holiday in the harvest and leasing time and 2 weeks at Christmas, including the week in which Christmas Day shall fall; a whole holiday every Saturday, on Coronation Day, and a half holiday every 6th April and 11th October.