St Matthews CE School Logs During WW1

The following entries have been taken from School Log Books held at Staffordshire Records Office, cataloguing the effects of WW1 on schools across Staffordshire. In many cases, very little is written in the Log Books that directly acknowledge the war. However, other issues widely commented upon which communities had to contend with during this period, including disease, finance, employment and school attendance, can be seen as being affected by the outbreak of war and therefore on education between 1914 and 1918. 

Page 229  

Jun 25th 1915: The school closes today for a fortnight to enable some of the older children to help in the hay field as there is a scarcity of men. 

Jul 19th 1915: A soldier brother from Canada had a day or two’s leave – had not seen the children for 7 years so begged leave of absence for a day.

Page 236 

Feb 15th 1916: There was a heavy fall of snow this morning only 25 scholars were present out of 35.  

Feb 18th 1916: The attendance during the week has been very poor. Owing to the inclement weather & floods a good deal of sickness prevails and a number of scholars have been absent. The average for the week is 25.5 72.8%. 

Page 237  

Mar 2nd 1916: Floods out all round; several children unable to get to school & many absent through bad colds etc. The roads are in a dreadful state & rain is falling heavily. Only 15 children have arrived at school, so I have sent them home for the day. 

Mar 3rd 1916: Have just discovered a girl covered with a rash and as the doctor has happened to call have asked him to look at her. He says it is German measles. Her brother must not attend school. Only 21 children in attendance 4 more will have to be excluded. The attendance during the week has been very poor indeed as so many scholars are ill or not able to attend on account of floods or snow etc. The average is only 22.5. Percentage 66.1 

Page 238  

Mar 6th 1916: In consequence of the cases of German measles the Medical Officer of Health has closed the school from today until March 27th.
Page 245  

June 30th 1916: The school closes today for a fortnight during the Hay harvest. 

Page 246   

Jul 21st 1916: Extract from the Copy of Diocesan Report. “Good work is done in this little school, though there has been an exceptionally large number of changes among the children attending school, owing to migration of families.”   (Signed) H.W. Thorne. Diocesan Inspector. 

Page 247  

Aug 24th 1916: The school closes today for the corn harvest holidays (3 weeks). 

Page 254  

May 25th 1917: A half-holiday was given yesterday it being Empire Day

Page 259  

Jun 15th 1917: Have had notice that the Diocesan Inspection will not take place as the Rev H.W. Thorne has been appointed a Temporary Chaplain to the Forces. 

Jun 22nd 1917: A half-holiday is being given this afternoon to mark the honour bestowed by H.M. the King on the Director of Education for the County.

Page 261 
Aug 31st 1917: The school closes this afternoon for a fortnight (corn Harvest). 4 scholars of one family absent owing to diphtheria in the family (3 cases) 4 other scholars have been absent because of the above (parents nervous). This has caused the percentage to fall considerably this week. Average 32.4 Percentage 83.
Page 264 

Nov 30th 1917: Dr Fausset, Med. Officer of Health visited to inquire about the health of the children. One or two cases of diphtheria have broken out in the village. 

Page 273 
May 24th 1918: Today is Empire Day & a holiday is being given this afternoon. Last lesson consisted of a talk to the children on, “Why we observe Empire Day” & their duty as citizens of the B. Empire. Patriotic songs were sung. 

Page 277
Nov 5th 1918: A day’s holiday was given yesterday in honour of the Victories gained at St. Quentin Canal on the 29th Sep and at Ramicourt 3 days later by the 46th North Midlands Division.