Leadgate Community History Club

Schools in 19th Centur​y England

Education in England remained closely linked to religious institutions until the nineteenth century, although charity schools and "free grammar schools", which were open to children of any religious beliefs, became more common in the early modern period. Nineteenth century reforms expanded education provision and introduced widespread state-funded schools. By the 1880s education was compulsory for children aged 5 to 10. Source:  Wikipedia

The Elementary Education Act 1870, commonly known as Forster's Education Act, set the framework for schooling of all children between the ages of 5 and 12 in England and Wales. Source:  Wikipedia

There was serious debate as to making education compulsory. In 1858 Sir Charles Adderley (1814-1905), Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education, had declared that any attempt to keep the children of the labouring classes under intellectual culture after the very earliest stage at which they could earn their living, would be as arbitrary and improper as it would be to keep the boys at Eton and Harrow at spade labour (quoted in Simon 1965:120). Source:  Education in England

An 1880 Act made education compulsory until the age of ten, following campaigning by the National Education League. Under the Elementary Education (School Attendance) Act 1893 it was increased to 11 and the right to education was extended to deaf and blind children. In 1899 the leaving age was increased again to 13. Source:  Politics.co.uk

Although in 1918 the age was raised to 14 it was not until The Education Act 1944 that compulsory education was raised to 15, this act, which also created Grammar Schools, came into effect in1947. Source:  Politics.co.uk

The First S​chools

The first two schools in the village were provided by the Derwent Iron Company in 1856 one for girls at Church Square and one for boys at Bottle Bank, later to become a Wesleyan Day School. Source: History of Leadgate by Bill Stockdale

Photograph supplied by Brian Harrison CDHI

In 1863 a Catholic school was built on the opposite side of the railway to the Broom’s Church and in 1925 a Catholic Infants’ School in St. Ives Road. Source History of Leadgate by Bill Stockdale

1870 saw the “Hills” St. Ives Church School opened in a building originally utilised by the Roman Catholics. In 1908 following the closure of the Bottle Bank Site the Council Schools were opened in West Street. Source History of Leadgate by Bill Stockdale

The history quoted above also appears on  Leadgatevillage.com  site, well worth a look if you are interested in our village. Just click on the link above.

Bottle Bank School

St Ives School - The Hills

First opened in 1870 the "Hills" was a feature of the village for around 100 years after the school closed the site became utilised as a Care-Home, Redwell Hills which remains on the site to the present day.

Leadgate County School

Formerly Leadgate Wesleyan Day School until February 1905; later Leadgate Council Mixed School. Leadgate County Junior School opened in 1975 Source:  Durham Records Office

Brooms School (Our Lady and St Josephs)

The original Brooms RC school, opened in 1863 was situated across from the railway and close to Brooms Church. An RC Infants school was opened in 1925 on St Ives Road, close to St Ives CoE school, that is now the site of the modern day school Our Lady & St Josephs.

Tripartite System

The education system was expanded and reorganised multiple times throughout the 20th century, with a Tripartite System introduced in the 1940s, splitting secondary education into grammar schools, secondary technical schools and secondary modern schools. In the 1960s this began to be phased out in favour of comprehensive schools. Source: Wikipedia

The 1940's Education Acts changed the demographics of school provision in England. Separate schools were created for younger children (age 4-11) usually called Elementary and/or Primary Education. Children from the primary system would feed into Secondary Education depending on ability and geographic location.

English Martyrs Sch​ool

Established in the early 1960's English Martyrs School, a Catholic comprehensive, was located in Prospect Park Leadgate. The first intake, in the mid 1960s, would have consisted of the older pupils from Our Lady and St Joseph's RC school.

Schools in Leadgate Today

Today Leadgate has two schools one of which, Leadgate Primary School, is split across two sites.

Leadgate Primary Lower School is situated on West Street and the Upper School is located on Alder Grove.

Our Lady & St Joseph's RC School is located on St Ives Road


The history of schooling in Victorian Britain
Durham Records Office
Leadgate Village Website
Politics UK Website
Education in England

Leadgate History Society


Brian Harrison; James Cuthburtson; Philip Boyle; Terry Richardson; Arnold Parkin; Andy Plant; Paul Richardson; Paul Trotter; Joseph Campbell; Ellen Affleck; Kieth Marley​; Paul Wilson; Peter French; Paul Emmerson; Joanna Stewart; Florence Telford; Leadgate History Society

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Leadgate Community History Club do not claim any copyright over the photographs on this page. They remain the copyright of the source site and, in some cases, the copyright owners, they are referenced here for educational purposes, and when attributable, proper attribution has been given. Please do not use or reproduce without attribution and/or acknowledgement to the original copyright owner.