Doddington Historic Buildings

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No.8 Doddington School

See also pictures of Doddington School Classes from the 1930's contributed by Mr Raymond Stokes

School 2006Built in 1876, the school closed in December 2006. It is facing the Faversham Road, the school buildings and playing field form a high-profile section of the Street. Plans are to turn the site into 'affordable' housing.

The school log book shows an entry, from 24 April 1877, by John Bisby who was appointed the first Schoolmaster of Doddington United Board School on that date. The opening took place on May 14. A total of 102 children were admitted, comprising 23 Junior and 79 Senior pupils. At this time, the school was competing with two other local establishments: Doddington College (a boarding school for 'sons of gentlemen' - now Southdowns) and Gloucester House Academy (for tradesmen's sons and daughters). Before the introduction of Council Schools, parents of the Board School paid weekly fees of 3d. per child; this was later reduced to 1d.

SchoolIn common with most schools throughout the Victorian era, holidays were arranged around the farming and hop-picking calendar and attendance was poor.

The log book of 4 April 1883, summarising 'Her Majesty's Inspectors Report', reads as follows:

"The children passed pretty well in Geography and Grammar, and the Needlework of the Girls is very fair. Reading is fluent but monotonous; Handwriting neat and clear; Spelling accurate except in the fourth Standard; Arithmetic tolerable."

Amongst the many members of staff who have worked at the school since its opening have been several Head teachers who remained for some time.

Thomas & Elizabeth PottsThomas Potts and his wife, Elizabeth - who were Head Master and Mistress of the school for 41 years between 1883 and 1924 - were presented with a hand-illustrated book on their retirement, with a statement of the regard of parishioners of Doddington, Newnham and Wychling.

School GardenSucceeding the couple as Head was Bernard Thomas Beaumont who relinquished the appointment in 1952, when he retired. During his time there, he continued the work of his predecessors in building up connections with St. John's Ambulance. He also introduced the school garden in which vegetables were grown and used in the school canteen. Gradually, this activity was extended to the keeping of calves, ducks and pigs.

The entry for May 24 1935 details the Empire Day celebrations, which included pageants by the Seniors and Juniors as well as "exhibition bouts of boxing" and a speech by Douglas Leigh Pemberton Esquire.

Doddington School 2006Following Mr Beaumont's retirement, a three-year spell under Mr Graham Bond saw the profile of sporting activities raised within the school. Mr Bond also took teams to play other local schools. In 1955, the first of two Mr Jones took over as Head; R Jones remained until 1965; GDG Jones, on his retirement, claimed to have spent "twenty-three marvellous years at this happy school". Both Heads continued to build on the achievements of their predecessors, continuing with the gardening and the sporting activities. 'Sports Day' was introduced and included parental participation. During the Summer Term of 1966, plans were made between Mr G Jones and the PTA and KCC to erect an outdoor swimming pool at a cost of 198 pounds. During the school holiday that year, the new pool was used by the children at every opportunity and (according to the log book) "10 children learnt to swim from scratch".

The present school is housed in the original Victorian buildings with the addition of a kitchen and entrance hall, built around 1891. A new administrative suite and staff-room were built in the Spring Term of 1996 and the whole building was re-roofed with grey, Welsh slates during the summer of the same year. A large mobile class-room was acquired in 1990. Recently it has been completely re-decorated and refurbished, providing a bright and airy environment for the older Juniors and enabling the use of the Hall for assemblies, gym, PTFA functions, etc.. It is also used for the Discovery Playgroup on three mornings every week (since 1994). The swimming pool, to which solar panels were added in 1975, is still used by all the children during the Summer Term and through the holidays by those who wish to hire it privately.

The school grounds are extensive, comprising two sports fields, an enclosed garden and wildlife ponds. Plans for refurbishment of an air-raid shelter in the grounds are currently under review. In addition, the surrounding countryside provides many opportunities for the children's education.

Bygone Pictures Photo Gallery Click Thumbnails to Enlarge

'St John Ambulance 1907
School Class
Pictures 1930's
The Street & The
Old School House
School &
Old School House
School House & the Street with motorbike
St Johns Ambulance
Click for school class pictures from 1930's
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