by Mr. G. Charlesworth, Headmaster.
Article two in the Education in Feltwell Loop
It is perhaps true to say that no institutions in England, with the possible exception of prisons, have changed during, the past half-century, so much as schools. Indeed, a century ago, the terms prison and school called forth ideas differing little from each other. In each was the same worship of the twin gods SILENCE and UNIFORMITY. Feltwell, far from being a laggard in following the trend of the times, has rather been a leader.
Of the School to which in 1643 Edmund Moundeforde left two thirds of the rent from 840 acres of fenland we have no recollection, but we do know that in 1660, Feltwell School was a recognised Grammar School in which the teaching of Latin Grammar had a prominent place.
The next known landmark seems to have been the building of the school on the south side of the Beck now known as the Infant School; followed in 1880 by the present "Big School" on the north side.
The Log Book of this period gives the impression that the school was run jointly by the Headmaster and the Rector; the Rector calling daily to admonish any troublesome pupils. It is
quite evident also that the rod was not spared, with the consequent risk of spoiling the child. Lateness appears to have been punished with severity and monotonous regularity, and "truanting" was rife. As far as one can judge, the punishments meted out had little effect, since the same names appear time after time for the same offence. Running away from school also seems to have been a most popular sport about this time.
With the building of the R.A.F. Station in the village, it soon became apparent that the two existing buildings were not large enough to cope with the influx of pupils. Although the war, by closing the Married Quarters, delayed the necessity for building a new school for some years, when finally, the walls of the old schools began to bulge outwards from the pressure of the children inside; a start was made on the new school in 1951. Three years before this, the building of a Canteen had satisfied a long-felt want.
Feltwell now possesses the finest school building of any village in Norfolk, and it is the first one of its type to be built in a rural area by the County. Set in its own playing field of six acres it enjoys practically every advantage for which a school could ask. Later developments will see the "over 11's" transported to the new Modern Secondary School to be built at Methwold, and the addition of a Nursery Block.
As the buildings have changed, so has the type of education given in them. Running away from school is happily a thing of the past, a busy hum of activity replaces the old rigid rule of silence, the filling of the stomach and maintaining the health of the body have been added to the school's duties, and the rod - when it can be found shows signs of rotting away from lack of use, rather than wearing out. The attitude of the great majority of the parents has also changed considerably, if we can judge by the support given to the school as compared with times long ago. Few villages can boast of such a loyal and co-operative band of parents as that connected with Feltwell School.
All these changes, both of buildings and of education, are to the good, so long as the primary object of any school is not forgotten; namely: to train the child to be a credit both to himself and the community when the time comes for him to take his place in the world.
And the qualities which ensure this are unchanging.
TRUE FELTWELL GEMS.
Teacher: And what do the letters J.P. stand?
Pupil: Please Sir, Mr. Addison, Junior Plumber.
OR Pupil: Please Sir, can I go home, I feel white.
The little boy who came to school crying last term because he hadn't got the ear-ache. His sister had, and she'd got a. holiday.
"You won't tell my mother I eat carrots in the Canteen, will you? Because I don't eat them at home."
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