Very little is known about education in All Cannings prior to 1824.
We know from Assize Records that John Goodman had an evening school until January 1824 when he gained notoriety for being one of the first two people to be hanged at Devizes Gaol. The other was Edward Amor; they were both accused of beating Mr Alexander near to his house at South Farm and robbing him of 3d and a key. Goodman was a partly educated ex-soldier and lived in a cottage on the site of Prospect Cottages.
However, in 1833 the Rector, Rev Thomas Anthony Methuen, persuaded the Lord of the Manor, Alexander Baring, later to become Lord Ashburton, to donate a plot of land upon which he built, at some cost to himself, a school and school house.
Twenty six years later in 1859, with the School having proved itself to be a success, Alexander’s son, William, Baron Ashburton, covenanted the land to the School, or rather, to the Rector and Churchwardens of All Saints Church, All Cannings.
When the School was built the Green was still occupied by several farms and the provision of a style at the front rather than the later gate was more to keep animals out than to keep children in.
In 1862 a further grant of land was made bringing it up to the last land extension on the old School site, prior to the acquisition of the land below the cemetery where the School annex was later ‘parked’ and the new school was constructed in 1998-1999.
Eventually, by 1863, the School had become absorbed in the National School system and became subject to yearly visits from Her Majesty’s Inspectors as well as yearly visits from Diocesan inspectors, the former to test general educational standards and the latter for the teaching of Religious Knowledge. The two inspections usually occurred about 6 months apart.
From 1863 it was required that all schools in the National School system kept a log-book, initially to be filled in each day although later this became weekly or as required. An admissions register was also required to be completed after 1874. Ironically the first name to appear in the All Cannings Admission Register is one Mary Ann Goodman! Since that first entry more than 2500 other children have been entered at the School filling nearly 3 large books, before entries were recorded on computer. The evacuees which were billeted in the village were not entered since they appear on the register of the original School which they would have attended.
The following are just a few extracts from the nearly 2000 page of handwritten entries in the log book:
8th December 1863
School as usual today. Edward Tasker was punished today for throwing stones at old John Beake, an old man who lives next door, while they were out at play at the dinner hour,which means the boys were at play. The old man followed them in to complain of them.
9th June, 1864
School duties performed as usual. My school is much kept back by the irregularity of attendance; the parents think nothing of it if a child plays the truant. They really seem as if they did not wish their children taught.
14th September 1870
Catechism to the whole School. Several children have been absent from School this week, potato picking and gathering acorns.
18th July 1879
A great many of the younger children suffering with measles, Elizabeth Benger (Monitress) ill and unable to attend to her duties.
26th November 1880
School still badly attended owing to Whooping Cough and Jaundice. Weekly average – 38.8.
28th October 1892
A new Tortoise Slow Combustion Stove was fixed in the Large Room this week in place of an old stove.
17th October 1894
I found this afternoon that Mary Rose’s head was swarming with lice, and separated her from the rest of the class; I have written to her mother begging her to make her head clean.
7th December 1900
The writing lessons this week in the First Class have been devoted to the writing of letters to the parents inviting them to an entertainment to be given by the children on 19th December.
4th November 1903
Visited this school this afternoon. The offices are insufficient and in a filthy condition. A Special Report on them will be sent to the Board of Education. The stove needs a guard.
4th April 1906
Instead of taking the Drawing Lesson this afternoon, 21 of the boys who brought spades and forks to School went with me to the garden at the rear of the school and dug it all over roughly in order to clear it of weeds with the view to cultivating it later. The boys worked well and thoroughly appreciated the change of occupation.
9th January 1908
The cocoa, provided at 1/4d per cup, for the children staying to dinner, is very greatly appreciated. 32 children had cocoa today.
14th July 1911
Great inconvenience is caused and particularly so during the very hot weather of the last month by the absence of water on the school premises. The occupiers of the two cottages close to the school kindly supply the children with water to drink, but their pump is out of order just now.
3rd October 1918
School closed this afternoon for blackberry picking.
17th October 1919
School closed for ‘Peace Celebration’ Holiday for one week 20th to 27th
3rd December 1925
The sum of £5 has been offered to me by the All Cannings Concert Party as the nucleus of a fund for the purchase of a piano for the school. I have written to Mr Pullinger to know if there is any prospect of help by means of a grant from the Education Committee.
27th March 1933
The children today sent to Devizes Hospital 10 dozen eggs and 18 ½ lbs of groceries.
13th February 1940
Black-out fixed – provided by Oxford Gardens LCC School Parents Association.
1st May 1951
5 cwt coal were delivered to School this morning and 4 tons coke delivered to the School storage space at the Rectory.
5th September 1960
Flush toilets were in use at the School for the first time.
1st September 1970
Etchilhampton School was closed at the end of the Summer Term. Eight children have been transferred to All Cannings School.
18th April 1980
Three pupils have moved to Devizes, thus reducing our number on roll to 45. There are now three council dwellings vacant in the village plus three new council houses nearing completion, so we are hoping for a rise in numbers soon.
18th June 1990
Parents Action Committee for the building of a new School 8pm. Apparently plans for a new School actually exist at County Hall.
8th July 1997
Brilliant News. By now you should all know about our success in receiving money from the Schools’ Renewal Challenge – a new School at last.
7th July 1998
NEW SCHOOL. Our ‘Digging the first soil’ ceremony will take place on July 21st when Rev’d Alan Jeans will come along to share the excitement.
Follow ththe offices being whitewashed during the summer holidays and the school bell being out of order in December.
1949 - The school re-opened in September with three children having left at the age of 15, one to work in the local shop and two working in their parents' farms. One girl left to attend Devizes Grammar School and one had gone to Trowbridge Technical Institute where she had been granted a boarding scholardship. There were 67 children on roll.
1955 - There were 72 children on roll. The yard was resurfaced and over the course of the year there were repairs to the ceilings and a new wash basin was installed as well as a shed outside. The previous winter was severe and the infants class was closed due to the low temperatures. The stock of coke ran out and due to difficult conditions on the roads deliveries were delayed. Note the large stove at the front of the room together with the guard. This was newly installed during the cold winter. The coke stoves were finally removed in the summer of 1970 to be replaced by oil fired heaterse links to some of the photos from our school archive:
1921 - F.M. Locke was Headmaster from 1900 to 1929. According to the Log Book there were 70 children on roll. Some of the highlights for this school year included the school being given 6 small balls and 6 lengths of rope for PE as well as a 'Guide to the British Isles' presented by the Michelin Tyre Co. Other entries included