Chapter 3 Education in the Village

Strong demands for universal education in the 1800´s resulted in the provision of Denaby Church School at Old Denaby, which belonged to Squire Fullerton. The fees of 2d to 4d a week per child were too high for most parents and in any case, colliery children were generally not accepted there.

After the passing of the 1870 Education Act, the first colliery school was built near the railway. The site created so many diversions with the road on one side and the railway on the other, for both staff and pupils that the Board of Education threatened to withhold the grant to the school, unless better accommodation was provided, and higher academic standards were achieved. The grant from central government was based upon numbers on roll and the academic standards, as were teacher´s salaries. Thus there were hard working teachers and very large classes.

In the 1880´s a boys´ and girls´ school was built on Rossington Street, but the infants remained at the old school near the railway. The schools´ inspectors were still not satisfied with these provisions and eventually Mr. W.H. Chambers was responsible for the construction of Rossington Street School in 1893, now known as the “Large Hall”. The boys were then housed in the old school, and the girls and the infants in the new.

This arrangement continued until l932, when the boys´ school was burnt down, and they too moved into the Large Hall. There were over 500 children up to the age of 14 years.

The West Riding County Council took over the school in 1902 but the Colliery Company were still managers, and provided money for the upkeep. Over the next few years, as the population increased the children of Denaby were provided with more schools to avoid overcrowding. Balby Street School was built at a cost of seven thousand pounds and accommodated 600 pupils when it opened on 30th March 1911, with Mr. H. Roebuck as headmaster.

The Roman Catholics of the village worked hard to raise money for their school, which opened on 1st October 1926, despite the fact that many miners were involved in the strike of that year.

By 1931 a Senior Selective School (now the Northcliffe School) opened, at first for children who had failed the 11 + to the grammar school, but had good ability, and later in 1936 for all 11+ children. By 1971, a new infant´s school had been built between Rossington Street and the market.

The improvements in education led to many well educated and gifted children of miners in Denaby, who moved away from the district for careers in the professions, medicine, research, politics and the arts; distinguishing themselves and bringing pride to the village.

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