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Sexey's School magazine - Issue 1 - February 1897

The following entry in the HeadMaster's log-book will probably be of interest to those who have watched the progress of the school during the last six years, and will form an appropriate text for the first article of this series:- ''April 6th, 1891 Opened school in temporary premises at The Glen, Bruton, with 15 boys."

The first morning was one of great anxiety to all concerned in the success of the long-talked of trade school. The "Glen" premises were to serve as The Head Master's house and also for the purposes of instruction for a year, until the new buildings could be got ready. The schoolroom, about 20ft by 15ft., was an exceedingly pleasant place to work in, in spite of its small size, affording as it did through the large French window a delightful view of t he old lawn reaching down to the river and shut in by the trees. The latter included Hornbeam, tulip tree, alders, acacias, and a magnificent beech, whose height many of the first pupils will remember measuring with more or less accuracy. A glimpse of the church tower could be caught between the foliage, while clustering or climbing near the window were rose trees in profusion, wisteria, sweet -Smelling clematis and jessamine. Inside the room were 15 eager lads ready to begin at once the study of all the subjects comprised under the term ''human knowledge,'' with a Sort of vague hope that some mysterious and fascinating branch of natural science -alchemy at least -would form, their staple mental food.

The authorities rather damped this enthusiasm by insisting upon an examination, the results of which showed that a great deal of comparatively humble study in the merest elements was necessary before higher branches of knowledge were attacked. No formal ceremony took place at the opening, but several parents were present and the governors were represented by the late Mr W. Muller, who spoke a few words of encouragement to master and boys. The second quarter saw the commencement of the scholarship system, which was destined to play a very important part in the later development of the school.

On August 1st 1891, the head master, assisted by Mr. W L Leng of Bridgewater, examined nine candidates for two scholarships. Edgar Pound and Edmund Green were successful and became entitled to free tuition and books for three years.

The East Somerset Agricultural Society offered three scholarships of £10 a year each for three years. The examination took place in September and resulted in John Steeds, Ernest Churchouse and Victor Jackson being elected. In the third quarter, the number of boys rose to nearly 40 and this justified the governors in appointing Mr. W. C. Watson as an assistant master for the junior boys and for woodwork, the latter subject being taught in an adjoining cottage.

This additional help allowed of better organization, there being now two divisions, senior and junior. In January 1892, the first batch of county scholars arrived, Harry Dix (Wincanton}, James Payne (Castle Gary), J. H. Thomas (Ditcheat), C. Adlam (Frome), E. J. Price (Wedmore), E. Singleton (llchester). H. Hillier (Wincanton).

In March the first annual examination was conducted by Mr. H. J. Walker, of Bristol, forming a fitting close to the year of work in temporary premises. Mr. Walker concluded his report as follows: - "I beg to say that from the results of my examinations and from a careful inspection of the work performed by many of the boys when first admitted to the school, I am convinced that real progress has been made. Mr. Knight has carefully organized his school, has adopted intelligent methods of teaching and is, in my opinion certain of future success". The curriculum so far was somewhat limited, but it had been found possible to teach some practical mechanics, land measuring and elementary science, in addition to the usual subjects.


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