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Map of Hillsborough School Area c1890



Before 1870 elementary education for working class children was provided by private bodies, principally religious. Hillsborough was served by the National School which was situated on the site now occupied by Woolworths, However, Forster's Education Act of 1870 required the establishment of School Boards the first public local authorities for education to provide schools where the voluntary bodies failed to provide fully for the population of school age (5 to 13)


Hillsborough, at that time was within the Parish of Ecclesfield, and, therefore, did not come under the jurisdiction of the Sheffield Board which was elected in 1871.


The Ecclesfield School Board was not elected until 1882, In the parish of Ecclesfield there were 15 voluntary schools providing 3,038 places. However, there was a deficiency of places in Hillsborough and Wincobank.


In fact children from Hillsborough had been seeking places in schools of the Sheffield Board, The Ecclesfield Board, therefore, instituted the building of the Hillsborough and Wincobank schools which were both opened in 1884. Two other schools at Burncross and Grenoside were to follow soon after.


For Hillsborough School, the Board borrowed 5,745 from the Public Works Loan Commissioners repayable over 30 years.  Two schools were to open on the site in 1884:


(a)    A mixed school for older girls and boys. From 1892 two separate departments were formed for these older children a Boys* Department and a Girls' Department.


(b)    An Infant Department for the younger children.


The Hillsborough Board School was opened for both boys and girls on 7th July 1884 by Mr. George Dawson, Chairman of the School Board. The school opened for instruction on Tuesday 8th July with Richard Fewkes as Head, and Miss Peckitt and Miss Crooks as Assistant Mistresses. The average attendance during this first week was 60.


Most parents had to pay school fees for their children despite their attendance being compulsory. The usual fees were 2d. a week for Infants, 3d. a week for Standard I, 4d. a week for Standards 2 to 4, and 5d, a week for Standards 5 to 6. Mr, Fewkes reported that "several persons thinking the rate of fee, 4d. in Standard II too high, took their children home again." Despite this, the average attendance at the school during the second week was 104, and this figure had nearly doubled by the end of September.



Great importance was placed on the 3 R's of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. The Headmaster would undertake periodic testing to check on standards in these subjects.


From 1862 until 1897 schools earned their government grants on the performance of their children in the three R's and also on their attendance records, a system known as "Payment by Results". A grant of four shillings per scholar was paid for attendance and general merit, and eight shillings per scholar for attainment in the three R's. A reduction of 2s. 8d. in the grant was made for failure in the three subjects

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