Schooling in Debenham
There were a lot of changes in the education system in Debenham
between 1833 and 1880 as the schools worked towards what was the best
system for the area. Some of these changes seem to have more meaning
to us as historians than others.
In 1833, Debenham had a number of schools. Firstly, it had three daily
schools, one of which was the Sir Robert Hitcham's school. This
contained 40 males and 15 females. Sir Robert Hitcham allowed the
school £30 per annum to use towards its budget. The rest was paid for
by fees from the students. The other two daily schools contained 44
males, and 34 females' altogether. These two schools were paid for
completely by fees. There were also two Sunday schools at the time.
Firstly, there was the Established Church, which would have been run
by the Church of England. This had 80 male students, and 60 female
students. Then there was the Independents school. This contained 152
students of both sexes. Both of the Sunday Schools were run by
contributions. From this, you can clearly see that the Sunday Schools
were more popular than the daily schools. This was probably because of
two reasons, the first being that Sunday Schools allowed you to work
on the fields in the week, leaving the person still earning. Another
reason was probably because no-one had to pay a fee to go to a Sunday
Then, in 1835, we can see that the Government gave a trust deed to the
Established Church School. This was to instruct poor children of both
sexes in the parish of Debenham. This meant that the Government was
taking an interest in what was happening to the education in Debenham.
In 1866 the Sir Robert Hitcham's Church of England School was erected,
and was managed by the Vicar of Debenham. The old school had closed
down, and now a new school with the old master (Sir Robert Hitcham)
was now run. The financing for this new school was quite a complicated
system. It had three methods with which it got money. Firstly, Sir
Robert Hitcham gave an endowment of £60 per annum. Next, there was £20
of voluntary contributions per annum. And finally, there were fees
paid. The richer the student was, the more they had to pay to go to
the school, with the very poorest going free. This system looks like
it may have been quite effective.
Finally, in 1879, the Debenham National School merged with Sir Robert
Hitcham's Church of England School. This suggests that the school
became mixed, and was still open to any class. This would have made
both the schools stronger and more influential.
As you can see, eventually the schools eventually went further and
further from the fee paying system that meant only the rich could be
educated. This meant that more people could reach the full of their
potential, getting a reasonable education and eventually a reasonable...