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Bletchley historian John Taylor takes look at how Victorian plans
to educate youngsters in the town came to fruition


Fenny Stratford Board School
Memories of the Fenny Stratford School Board are still evident on the apex of what is now the Knowles School in Queensway.

Sunday Citizen February 18, 2001

By the late 19th century the Government had recognised the national need for a formal education, to prepare pupils for those skills born of the Industrial Revolution.

For these proposed board schools, preparations to elect persons for their local administration were made.

Regarding a school board for Fenny Stratford, by November, 1886, the necessary signatures had been obtained and a requisition was made to Mr Powell, clerk to the Newport Board of Guardians, to call a public meeting.

This was for the purpose of forming a school board for Fenny. In accordance, a meeting of the Church School Managers and Teachers Association (North Bucks ranch) was held in St Martin's Mission Room on November 27 where the chairman informed the members that the existing Fenny Schools would soon have to come under a school board.

This was mainly due to extra accommodation being needed by the Education Department and since the Railway Company had refused to help them, they preferred a rate supported school, rather than one funded on the voluntary principle.

In due course a meeting was therefore convened in the town hall whereby the ratepayers of the parish would pass a resolution, as to what steps should be taken to form a new school board.

Fifty ratepayers had signed the request but in the event, held 'at the inconvenient hour of 11am' the turnout was poor, since the Education Department had not allowed the expense of advertising the meeting in the local papers.

Nevertheless it was eventually resolved that a school board of not less than seven members should be formed. In January, 1887, a meeting of the local nonconformists was held in the Wesleyan schoolroom to dis¬cuss who should be nominated for the board and a similar meeting by the vicar and churchwardens of St. Martin's also took place to consider their moves.

Mr Rowland suggested that four candidates should be nominated but when one of the hopefuls was rejected, he promptly announced that he would stand as an Independent!

As for the railwaymen of the LNER they held a meeting in the Co-op assembly room, having decided that they should be represented since their children filled the schools. Mr A Read, the goods yard Inspector, was eventually chosen. Then, towards the end of the month, a notice to the ratepayers of Fenny Stratford called for them - on January 31 - to elect the seven representatives necessary, to preside over the educational interests, as required by the Elementary Education Act, in early February the election duly took place.

The church candidates had blue placecards, the conformists red and Mr Rowland, as an independent yellow and the poll, held in the infants' schoolroom closed at 8pm.

To be continued