Morley Parish Council

Serving the people of Morley Derbyshire

Clerk/RFO: L Storey
P O Box 8108, Derby
Derbyshire DE1 0ZU

Chapter 8

In 1816 a Church of England school was erected on Morley Moor; its exact position is unknown but it was in the vicinity of the almshouses. This school was set up by an endowment income of £11.0s.2d from a charity founded by Emma Darwin in her will of 1818 giving £110.5s.0d. for this purpose. The school consisted of a schoolroom, 33 feet by 20 feet, and a statement in 1877 of the Trustees (R..Sitwell, R. Darwin and H.Bradshaw), gives the average attendance for six months as twenty-six scholars. Older members of the parish now recall their parents saying that when this school was in use the pupils had to pay a copper or so a week and take their own stools. The school was finally closed in 1879 and replced later by a Board School which open¬ed in the January of 1881. In the' parish magazine for January 1910 there is a note 'that the old school house on the Moor 'has now been pulled down'. It is recalled that a house called Dames School used to stand by the side of the Moor Pond, but whether it was ever used as a school no-one can say for sure.

The new school was built on Main Road' and consisted of one large classroom Which the children aged eight to thirteen years used. It had two cloakrooms and was staffed by a head teacher and two assistants. The school has not changed much although it seems to have undergone some rebuilding in 1897 when the infants room was added, and in 1911 when the Recreation Room was used as a temporary schoolroom before they moved into the 'new building'. Heating apparatus was also install in 1911 and since then the school has been improved by the addition of piped water, electricity and flush toilets. One of the cloakrooms has been turned into a kitchen for the dishing-up of the midday meals, (started in 1941) which are delivered 'ready cooked from a central kitchen. The school log book for the years 1881 t 1907 has not been traced so little is known about this period, but the next log book from which the County Education Office have give permission for extracts of an historical nature to be used, gives us much interesting information.


Epidemics hit schools even today but the records of illnesses in the log book suggest how much more serious these were in the days before immunisation was common. Whooping cough, measles, diphtheria, scarlet fever as well as ring-worm and skin infections are all mentioned. Curiously polio does not seem to have occurred. Today only measles is likely to cause a serious drop in attendance figures, and in 1928 during a measles epidemic the numbers in schools fell from possible forty to only eight pupils. In 1918 the school was actually closed on medical grounds although we do not know for what illness, but it may have been 'flu which can still spread with alarming rapidity. Diphtheria and scarlet fever are almost unknown now among children. Apart from these epidemics school attendance seems to have been good for there are mention of half holidays given in recognition of this.

The Welfare State and the increasing medical care of children show very clearly in the log book. After 1911 there was a regular medical inspection and in 1917 comes the first mention of a school dentist when children go to Derby for treatment by him. They were sent to the Clinic there too and sometimes were recommended for the Children's Hospital.


Bad weather affected Morley more than most schools. In 1912 sixty-one out of the eighty one children on the register had more than mile to walk to school, and over field paths or unmade roads, this was impossible in heavy snow. School work seems to have been disrupted nearly every February between 1910 and 1920.

Education Policy

Some entries show the changes that were taking place nationally. In 1913 when the school leaving age was thirteen, two children left immediately after their birthdays, but later children obviously stayed as they do now to the end of term when they reached the statutory leaving age. Despite the 1918 Act raising the leaving age to fourteen except for children going into jobs urgently, in 1921 a boy left at thirteen on a 'labour certificate'. Scholarship exams for the grammar schools are mentioned. The school nurse and P.E. instructress visit the school, not only on their duties but also to give lessons. In1928 the Hadow Report made recommenda¬tions about the methods of teaching and although no mention is made in the Morley log book, it might well have been that Morley in some ways was actually in advance of these ideas. Derbyshire must have been a fairly active county in education for the staff of the school were some¬times absent attending conferences or lectures. Certainly His Majesty's Inspectors visited the school regularly and encouraged new ideas in teaching. The idea of teaching being a trade however died hard, and as late as 1925 there is mention of a teacher 'completing her period of apprenticeship'.

The Curriculum

The curriculum changes with the passage of years, and of course with the individual interests of the various headmistresses. The scope of subjects however is very impressive, and Morley must have had some progressive teachers. Schools today may have a wider range and the subjects may be more consistently taught, but there must be many a pupils at school today who would envy Morley children of that time for the variety of lessons they enjoyed, yet this was done on very little money (the allowance for year 1913 was:- fifty children at 3s.9d., three at 2s.9d., and nineteen infants at 2s.3d. so total was only £17.18s.6d. from which all materials had to be bought).

In 1914 comes the first Mention of H Management; an H.M.I. report remarks 'original writing is encouraged by letting the children describe a picture postcard or other objects brought from home, or subjects which demand observation, personal experience or imagination': the School Nurse teaches the girls how to bath a baby and the P.E. instructress after taking seniors for drill enquires if they have learned any dance steps. The children went to Derby for swimming lessons in 1920 and the girls went Horsley Woodhouse to learn cookery. Particularly interesting is an extract of 1919 of how 'the children went to the field opposite the school to make a 'Village of Ancient Britain' with models they had previously made in the modelling lesson'. The school went to Breadsall and invited children from West Hallam for football and cricket matches, and outings to Derby to plays and films were made. In the 1930s visits to blacksmith, a brickyard and the church were made and the introduction of geography walks strikes a very modern note. Indeed Morley records co well grace a present day Speech Day report.

The 1914-18 War

The record of the school during the 1914-18 war shows how much the war affected the lives everyone. At first it was Miss Boden bring Red Cross materials so that the children might make face flannels, and asking them to knit mufflers, caps and mittens. Later the Rector Bedford presented the school with a certificate for the work done. They had completed 95 mufflers, 26 caps, 6 pairs of mittens, 135 face cloths, 49 treasure bags and 14 pairs of socks.

Seven wounded soldiers from the Hospital set up in at the Manor were no doubt exciting visitors in 1915, but Mrs. Lynn one of the teachers must have felt otherwise, for in 1916 she leave of absence to visit her hus¬band posted home wounded.

By 1918 the position of England had grown more desperate and the school was closed in Feb¬ruary 'to enable the teachers to do visiting in connection with the Food Distribution Scheme' and again in the following month the school clo¬sed while the teachers helped with the scheme for Meat Rationing. The children were thanked for collecting wool from the hedges for the salvaging department, and an H.M.I.,. Mr. Vickers, visited the school 'to make enquiries about the collecting of blackberries, and as a result 128 lbs. Were sent off to the jam factory in Derby. There is ample suggestion here of how effective was the U-boat campaign and to what extent England was thrown back on her own resources.


Over the period the number on the register drops from eighty to forty, reflecting the trend for smaller families, but perhaps due more to the drift from the land. There were many teachers who came and went, ten head-teachers and twelve infant teachers from 1911 to 1929, but after 1921 and the coming of Miss E. Woodford marked a more stable regime.

The school has on the whole been of a progressive nature, and the curriculum for a small village school has been varied and interesting from a practical as sell as an academic point.

In 1977 there are 32 children on the roll.