IN 1815 William Hughes bequethed the sum of £300 a year towards the education of six children to be chosen by the village's parish minister, the churchwardens, the overseers and the schoolmaster. This bequest was to be "for ever."
A schoolroom was subsequently erected in 1817 with funds raised by voluntary contributions and the Parochial Returns of 1818 record that there were 60 children supported by subscription and four children educated from the income amounting to eight guineas from the endowment in what became known as the National School
There was in addition a small girls' school and the Curate, the Rev John Edwards stated that the poorer classes thankfully availed themselves of the means provided for the education of their children.
By 1833, 125 children attended the school. They were charged one shilling (5p) a quarter except for six who were paid for from the endowment. The returns of the National Society's School Enquiry 1846/7 recorded that 68 boys and 41 girls received instruction in the school. Of this number, 48 boys and 32 girls attended both on weekdays and Sundays, 19 boys and 6 girls on weekdays only and one boy and three girls on Sundays only.
They were taught by a master and asistant mistress and five paid monitors. The total expenditure in salaries amounted to £44 6s and the estimated annual cost of maintaining the school was £63 1s.
In 1860, the Rector of Hethersett, the Rev William Collett, applied to the National Society for aid towards erecting a new mixed school measuring 53ft x 18ft to accommodate 120 children, with a teacher's house attached. The site, valued at £92 10s was taken from glebe land and the cost of the new schoolroom and proposed teacher's house amounted to £751 15s 6d. A government grant of £280 4s was received, £44 11s 6d was raised locally and the National Society contributed £30.
The new school was completed in 1861 and the original building was retained as an infants department.
It was proposed to charge 1d per week for the children of farm labourers, 2d or 3d for the children of gentlemen's servants and mechanics and 6d for the children of small farmers. The school received an annual government grant and an additional classroom for infants was added in 1883 at a cost of £173, raised by local subscription and with local builders Bailey & Son carrying out the work.
In1850 the British School came into being in the village to provide education for both children and adults in the Great Melton district. The National and British schools worked side by side until their amalgamation in 1951, when it proved obvious that neither of the existing schools could reach the standard in buildings and amenities laid down in the Education Act of 1944.
The British School was sold to become the village's Church Hall.
The National School was taken over by the Local Education Authority and became known as Hethersett Voluntary Controlled School. It became a state school and also a church school with the village Rector playing a
pivital part in the management of the school.
After the amalgamation children over the age of 11 were removed and growing numbers as the village expanded led to the provision of additional classrooms and a new school hall in 1970.
In 1972 a First School was built elsewhere in the village and in the same year the school's swimming pool was opened. Today the school is known as Hethersett Voluntary Controlled Middle School.
To mark the Millennium the school is producing a booklet on its history. It will include anecdotes from the past, photographs and articles as well as a diary of a year in the life of the school at the end of the century. It is anticipated that this will be ready by the summer.
Ofsted Reports Section
Over the past few years the school has been visited on three occasions by Office for Standards in Education
In March 1998 Ofsted government inspectors visited the school for the second time in 18 months to look at the progress made following the initial visit. (Details of the original Ofsted report are available on the government's Ofsted site).
This time the school received a glowing report. Details of this can be read by following the accompanying link.
Our 1998 Ofsted Report update
In January 2000 the Ofsted Inspectors returned and produced an even better report, a resume of which can be read here.
Our 2000 Ofsted Report
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Report on Governors' Annual Parents Meeting 1998
Report on Governors' Annual Parents Meeting 1999
Report on Governors' Annual Parents Meeting 2000
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