Harsh comments for Barlborough School in the 19th century

We make extensive use of school inspectors reports and school log books in our VCH ‘Red Books’ as we plot the history of education in a particular parish. Here we look briefly a Barlborough, where some of the comments made by the Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools in the late 19th century were quite severe.

Barlborough Schools in 2021.

With only a few exceptions, the inspectors made uniformly poor reports. For example in 1876 they found the school was unpopular with parents and numbers on role had decreased. Early in the 20th century the inspectors found the schoolroom was dirty with a lack of separate classrooms. One of the problems appears to have been with the headmaster’s attitude and lack of staff. In 1898 an assistant was teaching 55 boys, with the headmaster only 18, both in the same room.

The school was transferred to the county education department in 1903. A new headmaster – David Barnfield – appointed two years later found the school in an ‘indescribable’ state with poor discipline and low standards of work. It was he who helped turn the school around. He was there for over 30-years – the school receiving excellent reports throughout.

The premises are pictured here in 2021. Part of the buildings probabaly date back to 1866, when they were originally erected by the Rodes estate. They were extended in 1911, with further new classrooms added in 2000 and 2002. For some time, the memorial gateway we featured in our recent post formed an entrance to the buildings.

Our VCH Derbyshire Volume III – Bolsover and adjoining parishes tells the fuller story of education in Barlborough.