Frieth School

Mrs Hinton 1931 - 1941

Once again the school was staffed by a number of supply teachers from September 1930 until Mrs Hinton was appointed headmistress in November 1931.

In 1932 an HMI remarked on this disturbed period :

During the past four years this school has been conducted for varying periods by six different headmistresses. It is not surprising, therefore, that its condition both in attainment and discipline leaves much to be desired

Fortunately, Mrs Hinton is a woman of considerable experience and proved capacity and she has, moreover, the support of a more experienced and capable assistant than has formerly been available for Infants and Standard I. It is possible to say, therefore, that the outlook is now more hopeful than for some time past.

The HMI was right; under Mrs Hinton and her assistant Mrs Entwistle (1931 - 1942) the school became a happy and hardworking place. Between 1931 and 1939 the school roll stabilised at about 50 pupils; as their age range was still 5 - 14 years, teaching them must have proved a challenging task for both teachers.

Old pupils from this era who have been able to tell me of their schoolday recollections spoke highly of both Mrs Hinton and Mrs Entwistle.

Mr & Mrs Hinton lived in the School House with their three children Betty, Roger and Ruth. Betty trained as a nurse and emigrated to South Africa, Roger was a scholar at the Royal Grammar School High Wycombe and then joined the RAF, whilst Ruth was a pupil at Frieth. Mr Hinton worked locally. One older resident described them as "A nice homely family".

Mrs Entwistle lived in one of West's cottages at Perrin Spring with her husband and elderly mother.

Frieth School 1932

Cecil Woodward Mervyn Edwards Bill Bastin Jim Keep Fred Johnson Jack Hollis Bill Johnson
Keith Hanson Douglas Edwards Brenda Edwards Joan Cave Joyce Bastin Cynthia Ford Maggie Latham Rita Edwards Arthur Woodward Geoffrey Hanson
      Cecily Edwards Ruth Hinton Barbara Hollis
    Aubrey Edwards Leslie Latham Wilfred Keep Kenneth Latham

During the period from 1931 until the outbreak of WW II there exists a good photographic record of the schoolchildren, but neither Mrs Hinton nor Mrs Entwistle are pictured. [ Ruth Hinton is in this picture, second row, middle one of the three girls ]

Frieth School 1933
Image from John Harris's collection

    Joan Hungerford Margaret Latham Joan LeGard Margaret Howard Bessie Miller Brenda Edwards Agnes Clemants
Ted Collier Douglas Edwards Cyril Edwards Jack Hollis Wilf Godfrey Bill Johnson Ted Howard Jim Keep Mervyn Edwards Cecil Woodward Albert Randall Fred Johnson Geoff Howard George Sherwood
Wilf Keep Pat Burke (nee Tapping) Rita Edwards Mary Clinkard Barbara Hollis Sheila Nuttall Ruth Blunt (nee Hinton) Arthur Woodward Les Latham Vic Stratford Reg Howard
    Hannah West Cecily Edwards Evelyn Clinkard Joan Harris (nee Latham) Jean Laye Barbara White Jean Illesley
    Fred Butler John Sherwood Norman Ansell Nigel Howard John Shaw Ken Latham George Hungerford
[ Sorry about the size of the font above ]

[ July 2009 - Geoff Howard (4th row back, second from right) writes :

"I used to live at Perrin Spring, then in Lane End, and since 1967 here in Canada. I {was at} Frieth School {...} from 1929 till about 1938.

When I was young we lived next door to Mrs Entwhistle at Perrin Spring, a teacher at school, so I had to behave at home as well as school, that was hard at times.

My mother had only one leg, she lost a leg falling on the play ground at Frieth school when she was young. She was from Little Frieth, and was from the White family. I think there was a large White family, some emigrated to Canada but I have never located them except for old Tom Higgs now dead, he was from the Higgs family of Little Frieth, related to the Whites.

I remember fetching shoes for the family from your {grand}father's shop (Edgar Francis Barksfield 1883-1948), also I remember coming to the house and digging the potato patch (by the way you had a real good crop!)" ]

Mrs Hinton wrote rather less in the Log Book than some of her predecessors, but the following extracts serve to show something about the curriculum, children, school building and the effect WW II had on the school.

The school curriculum followed much the same pattern as before, with an emphasis on the "Three Rs" plus history, geography, nature study, music, physical exercises, needlework, art and craft. Some of these subjects would have been taught individually, to cover such a range of age and ability. Syllabus and timetable were followed closely during these years of good teaching. By this time school text books had become cheap and plentiful, their content had improved and was more attractively presented.

Whilst Mrs Hinton was headmistress there was a succession of four curates and their families in the Parsonage opposite the school : the Revs. Parr, Wilkes, Wilkinson and Chandler. The curate, or Priest-in-charge as he was called, took a children's service in Church on Sunday afternoons instead of a morning Sunday School. The Priest-in-charge continued to come into School and take Scripture lessons at least once a week and church services for the school children about twice a term. Because the headmistress had boys of 12 - 14 years old in her class these gentlemen helped in school at various times, on a voluntary basis.

April 1932 : Rev Parr comes in and takes Scripture once a week

1934 : Rev Parr comes in to give lessons to the older boys on woodwork and handwork

May 1938 : Rev Wilkinson takes the boys for cricket

Nov 1939 : Rev Chandler took Scripture and singing

Each year the Log Book gives the report from the Diocesan Inspector and records the names of the winners of the Bishop's Prize Certificates and Merit marks.

During this period the Secondary Schools Entrance Examination, or 11+ as it came to be called, assumed a greater importance in the eyes of many parents and emphasis was placed on it in schools.

April 1933 : Secondary Schools Entrance Examination, only children taking it were at school.

This is the first mention of a school closure for this event.

July 1936 : Progress Exam papers sent from Education Committee worked this morning

This examination had been going on for some years, apparently these papers were set by the Buckinghamshire Education Committee and the results had to be sent back to them. This would have been one way of keeping watch on how the Three Rs were being taught in each school [ There's nothing new under the sun ]

However by 1940 this type of test had been dropped and, instead, all children had to take a Preliminary Qualifying Test (Note 40) for the Secondary Schools Examination, this served the same purpose as the Progress Exam.

The school went on "Educational" visits to places of interest or the seaside. 1934 Littlehampton, 1935 Bognor, 1936 Bournemouth, 1938 Windsor Castle and Burnham beeches, 1939 Whipsnade Zoo. Parents could accompany their children if they wished.

The teachers regularly attended the Teachers' Conference held in Aylesbury and courses elsewhere on Educational topics.

Dec 20th 1933 : An open afternoon for parents

This is the first recorded instance of parents being invited into school to see their children's work.

Sep 1938 : It has been found necessary to vary the timetable a few times during the week in order to fit in the broadcast lessons

This is the first mention of broadcast lessons (see also Note 43)

Sep 1934 : Two boys go to the Marlow Centre for woodwork and two girls for housewifery

Dec 1934 : The HMI called and ordered the destruction of several sets of old books

Frieth School 1934
Image from John Harris's collection

    Bill Johnson Billy Ireland Ted Howard Jim
Mervyn Edwards Wilf Godfrey Fred Johnson
      ? Agnes Clements Joan Legard Margaret Latham Sheila Nuttall
Mary Clinkard ?
Fred Butler Ken Latham Bill Ireland George Sherwood ? Arthur Woodward Rita Edwards
Cecily Edwards Marion Ramsay (nee Dix) Ruth Blunt (Nee Hinton) Nancy West Jean Illsley ? Jean
Barbara White Evelyn Clinkard Joan Harris (nee Latham) Pat Burke (nee Tapping)
  Vic Stratford Doug Edwards Ted Collier John Shaw Geoff Howard John Sherwood Nigel Howard Wilf Keep George Hungerford
    Peter Martin ? ? Edwards ? Norman Ansell ? Reg Howard Les

As in previous years a succession of visitors and officials called at the school and to their number was added :

Dec 1936 : The County Librarian visited the school

Boxes of children's books were sent twice yearly to schools from the County Library at Aylesbury to be issued weekly to any children who wanted to read them at home. This was a significant step forward as few children had access to suitable books of their own.

Oct 1935 : The Headteacher attended a conference at Oxford in connection with the National Savings Movement (Note 41)

When due to illness or bad weather, attendance figures fell below 50% the meetings were not recorded, on instruction from the County Secretary.

6th Jan 1932 : Received a telegram from the School Medical officer to exclude from school all children who had not previously had measles, 41 excluded. Number on books 53. Attendances cancelled until Jan 22nd

Jan 1933 : Influenza epidemic. Attendances cancelled from Jan 16th to Jan 27th

Only one instance of children absenting themselves from school is recorded :

Feb 1936 : Five boys stayed sliding on the pond and arriving very late were marked absent

For the boys this opportunity was too good to miss !

Frieth School 1937
Which of these boys were the 5 who stayed sliding on the pond ?
Image from John Harris's collection

      Joan Latham Pat Tappin Mary Clinkard Rita Edwards Evelyn Clinkard Hannah West Jean Laye
Fred Butler Victor Stratford John Sherwood Aubrey Edwards Arthur Woodward Ted? Howard George Hungerford George Sherwood Nigel Howard Wilf Keep Reggie Howard Peter Green
      Eric Turgiss Cyril? Edwards ? Cecily Edwards Norman Ansell Peter Martin
? Tony Stratford Alfred Plumridge Mavis Dyer Barbara Russel Kathy Woodward Connie Collier Rosie Laye ? Josie Muckley Gerald Cornish John Pearce

Dec 1938 and Jan 1939 : Very heavy snowfall, children unable to reach school

Mrs Hinton continued the tradition of Maypole Dancing and her pupils always performed at the Annual Garden Party at Parmoor.

The celebration of Empire Day was going out of fashion by the late 1930s but Mrs Hinton records all special events to do with the Royal Family :

May 1935 : George V Jubilee, children received a souvenir book each, a pencil and a Jubilee Medal

The exterior of the school remained the same, a little upkeep was undertaken and the classes were rearranged. Now that there were only two teachers the first room was kept empty and used as a hall for assembly and PT. The middle room was used for the older children and half the third one for the young ones. The further end beyond the partition was used as an art and craft room.

References occur to the uneven surface of the playgrounds :

Nov 1931 : Mrs Entwistle fell while playing games with the infants and cut her knee badly

The fact that references to injury occur quite frequently from now on may be due to the necessity to record them, not to any sudden increase in such in juries.

Some improvements were carried out inside the building :

1934 : HMI's report : Some chairs and tables (Note 42) would be more useful than the present type of furniture in the infant room. The school has been redecorated and cleared of much ancient lumber

April 1940 : Electric meter read

Some time between 1933, when electricity came to Frieth, and 1938/40 (note 43) it must have been installed in the school, but there is no mention in the Log Book of when this improvement took place.

Until 1898, when the Village Institute was built, the School was used for evening meetings, so there must have been some form of artificial light in the first room, probably hanging oil lamps. These must have been removed as, for many years, there was no artificial light at all in the school.

Nov 1930 : School dismissed at 3:20pm Light in classroom was poor throughout the day and there is no artificial light

Mrs Hinton makes no mention of the outbreak of WW II which occurred during the summer holidays of 1939. School life went on much as usual during the 1939-40 period of "phoney war", apart from a small influx of families from London who took vacant cottages in the neighbourhood or came to stay with relatives. Some of the latter went back after a few weeks causing fluctuations in the school roll.

[ January 2012 : John Hopkins has written to say that he lived in Hayles Field during the early part of the war (in the house later occupied by my aunt and uncle, Jean & Ted) and he has written a diary, part of which covers his exploits as a child going to school and growing up in Frieth and Essex during the war years. John further comments that "The land mine [mentioned in the diary] fell on the other side of Parmoor Lane, about 500 yards from the houses" Click here to read this fascinating extract ( .pdf file, requires Adobe Reader, download free here )]

Food shortages began to show up during 1940 and there was a brief attempt to organise a school midday meal, though how or where is not recorded.

3rd April 1940 : The dinners for school children, organised by Mrs Becher, started today.

26th April 1940 : Dinners ended, to be continued in the Autumn.

There is no record that they did recommence then or of any further school meals until 1946 when a kitchen was built at Frieth.

Before the days of school meals, arrangements for children from Skirmett, Holywicks and Finnamore Farm, who lived too far away to go home during the midday break, caused difficulties. In good weather they were locked out in the playground, but in bad weather humanity prevailed and they were allowed to stay indoors, unsupervised unless one member of staff also lived at a distance. As early as 1897 Mr West had written:

During the winter months over 40 children stay to dinner in the school, and as there is no one to supervise them they misbehave themselves and give trouble. Arrangements should be made for someone to superintend the children and keep order during the dinner time. This is a growing evil and should be attended to.

The dinner time problem decreased in proportion to the falling roll and was minimal by 1931.

During the war school kitchens were organised in many schools and others were supplied with meals from central kitchens; teachers supervised School Dinners on a voluntary basis. However, rationing still continued for some years after the cessation of hostilities and the School Meal Service continued and was expanded.

It was not until a year after the war had started and the "Blitz" on London had begun that Evacuation really affected Frieth.

Sep 23rd 1940 : Twenty one children from London accompanied by Miss Fisher from Wimbledon were accommodated at the School

Oct 7th : School reorganised, Miss Fisher Class 1, Mrs Hinton Class II, Mrs Entwistle Infants. 85 children on books

The three teachers coped with the changes and kept the School running smoothly.

May 1941 : Open Day, about 50 parents attended

July 1941 : Sports races held in the afternoon

Sep 1941 : Gathered blackberries on several afternoons

Dec 19th 1941 : Tea and Christmas tree in Village Hall after School, given this year by Lady Parmoor

In December 1941: Mrs Hinton retired and went to live at Bolter End. Unfortunately shortly after this Roger Hinton who was on flying operations with the RAF was reported missing, but throughout the war Mrs Hinton never gave up hope that he might still be alive. Later Mr & Mrs Hinton emigrated to South Africa but returned to England and lived in the Reading area in their declining years.

Click to go on to the next chapter "Miss D. Browning January 1942 - December 1943"


Comments in [ square brackets ] are mine or contributed by others, the rest is my mother's original text.

(40) In post war years the Qualifying Test was replaced with a type of "Intelligence Test" whilst the second part consisted of two English papers and two Arithmetic papers. In 1966 both parts of the 11+ were replaced by Murray House Verbal Reasoning Tests.

(41)    National Savings had been started during WW I but now children were being encouraged to save through a School Savings Scheme, buying 1d or 6d Savings Stamps

(42)    Twelve sturdy oak tables in two heights, six of each, and 24 chairs were supplied and some were still in good order in the 1980s (The last of the chairs were placed outside for children to use at break times in 1985)

(43) A Wireless, probably supplied by the Education Authority, was more likely to have been a mains set than the wet cell battery type. Mr Latham, at the Post Office, provided a service for recharging wet cell batteries at this date, and many people in the village used it.