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Gamston Schooling: past and present

GAMSTON SCHOOLING: PAST AND PRESENT. Edited by Kath Sutton. Gamston C of E (Aided) Primary School Parents and Friends Association, pound;5.99 inc pp from Stanford House, Church Lane, Clarborough, Retford, Notts DN22 9NA

Gamston C of E primary in Nottinghamshire moved into a new school building last term, and marked the occasion with this fascinating document. Gamston opened in 1856, well before the state became involved in education, and its story brings to life the legislation and other changes that have affected schools over almost a century and a half.

We know, for example, of the "Revised Code", the system of payment-by-results by which schools were funded towards the end of the 19th century. What we're not always clear about is what it was like to work within that regime, which involved an annual visit by HMI. Here's what happened at Gamston: "A dreadful example of poor behaviour was described where an inspector had arrived some three hours late for his inspection, offered no apology and necessitated the pupils staying at school till nearly 7 o'clock."

The book doesn't attempt a complete chronology. Significant events and periods are picked out, and the later years are covered by a series of personal memories by former pupils and staff, including some who were evacuated to the village during the war. It's good to see the stories and memories brought to life with photographs. It's a fine production, a worthy link binding the new school into its rich heritage.

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