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Purton Stoke School

1927
Empire parade in 1927

1971Sports day 1971

The mixed elementary school was built in 1898 by Mr E Barnes of Purton for £600, many of the materials coming down the canal to the lock at Cross Lanes.
Before then, the children of the hamlet had to make their way to either of the well established schools at Purton or Cricklade in all weathers. Mr Charles Iles and Jacob Rummings initiated a petition by the inhabitants of the village. The school was unusual for its period, in that it had been financed entirely by local landowners and residents, and not by one of the educational societies which had built so many of the schools throughout the 19th Century. The Managers of the Purton National Schools attempted to have the school set up under the auspices of the National Society, thereby making it a Church school. Mr. Storey-Maskelyne who had agreed to give a piece of land for the school, would not agree to override the wishes of the community.
In a letter to the Managers dated November 1894 he wrote: "I much prefer the school being, so far, a Church School; as far as I am personally concerned. But I hold that a community of English people are quite competent and trustworthy as regards determining for themselves what sort of school they wish to have, and as I told you I would not give a site to be so conveyed as that the parishioners whose children are to be taught, are to be refused a voice in the management of the school."
And so it was with some reluctance, that the Vicar and Managers of Purton agreed to the Purton Stoke School being an un-denominational one. Mr. Storey-Maskelyne also so conveyed the land that in the event of the closure of the School, the land should be returned to the family.
It was built to hold 100 pupils. On the first day 104 children registered, and the average for the year was 70.
They were taught cheese and butter-making at Pond's Farm, and had lessons in hedging, milking and veterinary subjects.
The 1902 Education Act empowered the County Councils to assist voluntary and private schools from the rates. In the early 1900s Purton Stoke School was brought within the orbit of the Wiltshire County Education Authority. The numbers were reduced in 1930 when all the senior pupils were transferred to Purton. Between 1942 and 1943 numbers were increased when just over 40 evacuees from London were billeted in Purton Stoke. By 1978 only about 26 children attended and despite local protests the school was closed.
Mr Arnold-Forster had inherited the site and wished it to be used in some way by the community. The Purton Parish Council invited offers and decided that the Jubilee Gardens Trust could have it at a cost they could easily afford.
It is worth recording that Mr Leonard Scott, who did his best to prevent the School closing, was the last Chairman of the Managers and his grandfather was the first.
The last teachers were Mrs Heywood, the Headmistress and Mrs Bradley.

The site is now being used as an education and training centre for adults with learning difficulties and is known as the JUBILEE GARDENS PROJECT. The trainees are given instruction in growing flowers, fruit and vegetables and the fresh produce can be bought at the gates outside the old school building. Hanging baskets are a speciality. Trays of young plants are also available at certain times of the year.

The other Purton Stoke School (now Purton Stoke House see Lord Ashley) ...