St Andrew’s Primary School

October 5, 2005

St Andrew’s Primary School

St Andrew’s Primary School

St Andrew’s Primary School

Fontmell Magna has had a village school since 1843. The original building was replaced in 1864 by the one we see today. It was originally designed to provide for 140 children in two classes, taught at different ends of the single school hall. Of course the accommodation has been greatly expanded and improved by the development of new buildings, but it is still possible to see the old school bell in the playground and the un-changed layout of the windows, and to imagine what it was like to have only two teachers looking after 140 children.
Here we have a photograph of a class group

Fontmell school class

Fontmell school class

taken 100 years ago when Harry Gladdis was the head teacher (back row left). Can you see how differently the boys and girls were dressed in those days?

In the summer of 2005 some of to-day’s children took part in a special event at Springhead in Fontmell Magna. It was called ‘Walking in the Footsteps of our Ancestors’, and so the Archive Society, which is naturally interested in ancestral matters, invited the school to tell us how it all went. We are very grateful to the four reporters from Year 3 – Sophie Dodd, Katherine Lacey, Sonia Parsons and Madeleine Stanford – who have created such a clear and happy account of their experience:

Springhead

Springhead

“The children of St Andrew’s Primary School walked on a beautiful spring day to Springhead. We met a lady called Helen Porter, who is a professional singer. She had organised a day of singing and drama all about the interesting history of Springhead.
We were welcomed by Flora the dog and Graham (Flora’s owner), who showed us around the gardens and told us the story of the lost flint arrow-head that Graham had found in the spring waters and lost. We all drank some spring water, it tasted pure.
We met Helen in a big room upstairs, where we looked at a

Workshop at Springhead

Workshop at Springhead

‘Timeline’ collage about the history of Springhead. We went into groups and acted out a story about Mesolithic man, this was the start of the story of the story about the flint. We thought about words, this was the start of our Walking with our Ancestors song. Helen promised to come to school to complete the song and help us with our acting.

A few weeks later Helen come to school twice, she played her accordion while we composed music and words for Mesolithic, Roman, Medieval (acted), Victorian and present-day Springhead. It told the adventures of the little flint arrow head.

Performing the song

Performing the song

On a sunny day in June we joined lots of other primary schools, they had completed other activities to do with Springhead, such as making Celtic coins, puppets and story telling. We performed our ‘special song’ and acted our play. There were lots of people there who came to picnic and to see what the children had done. It was a brilliant day, thanks to Mrs Batten, Mrs Merefield and Helen.”

This event was a considerable success and the Archive Society

Looking at the exhibition

Looking at the exhibition

is grateful to Mrs Anna Way, the Head of St Andrew’s School, for permission to reproduce the children’s work. We look forward to further opportunities for co-operation and hope that readers who have their own memories of the village school will not hesitate to get in touch with us through our contact board.

Editor