Ivy House School




Ivy House School first opened on 26th July 1880. The first headmaster was John Watkins Sluman and there were twenty two pupils. Previously some children had never attended school, some only Sunday school. They started school at five years of age and left at fourteen. Classes were organised into eight standards. Infants in standard one.


12/7/1881 – Children were charged 2d a week but in February 1890, the board instructed that the fee to reduced to 1d.




This was influenced by the harvest, weather and illness.


1880             Children had two weeks off in August for the corn harvest but not many returned after this.

1882             Children absent for potato digging. Again in 1882 absence due to haymaking.

24/3/1884      Boys kept home for gardening

11/1886         Absence due to potato digging and pinching.

2/5/1887        Older children away for haymaking.

12/5/1897      20 children shifted from neighbourhood last Lady Day (possibly farm workers?)

8/1897          Mr Smale (vice chairman) suggested that the school was closed due to the high absenteeism due to                         harvest.

23/1/1902      Reported children absent Mondays and Fridays.

1903             The attendance officer visits begin.

1903             September 14th to September 21st Harvest holiday.

17/2/1904      Work cannot progress when attendance is poor, cautions attendance officer.

6/1904           Weekly visits by attendance officer


13/7/1904      Prizes distributed for regular attendance.

30/7/1909      Poor attendance again haymaking.


26/1/1913      Entry shows a holiday granted for 90% attendance.





Illness and epidemics were responsible for low attendance with the school being closed on several occasions. Children suffered with severe colds, mumps, chicken pox, German measles and diphtheria.


1904             School closed September 19th to October 17th whooping cough.

1914             The school was closed from July 6th to 31st by the Medical Officer because of scarlet fever.

                    Later on November 9th the same year there was a diphtheria epidemic.

1915             The school closed from May 6th to 31st by the Medical Officer because of a measles epidemic.

1921             The school closed in March due to influenza and mumps epidemics.




Early 1900s entries show visits by opticians for eye tests, school nurse examining for head lice, weighing and measuring.


The dentist’s visits feature:

               8/10/1920 Extracted a great many teeth! Remained from 11.30am to 1.30pm.

              1922 Still extracting teeth. Another entry tells of twelve boys refusing treatment.

              17/2/1937 Yearly visit by dentist, treating all children who desired treatment.


1950        Records immunisation taking place in school.



Made a great difference to the numbers attending. January 28th 1882 all absent – heavy snowfall. Very wet and stormy weather kept children at home, bearing in mind that most children walked considerable distances to school. Incidences of heavy snow and ice were reported in 1920, 1937, 1940, 1952, 1958 and 1979 always in the month of January.




3/5/1956 “Mr Bruce started the school bus run today, the children were punctual”






For the centenary in 1980, the pupils at Ivy House School (then known as Broadwoodwidger School) used extracts from the original Log Books to compile their own Log Book (Our Readings).  Interesting entries were chosen and beautifully illustrated.  They copied verbatim three official Inspectors Reports, not entirely complimentary for 1904, 1907-8 and 1909.


Click on each image to see examples of the children's entries