School History – 1904

The turn of the new century brought many changes. The old system of education was swept away in 1909 by the formation of new County Council Education Authorities. The school was immediately transferred to the County of Staffordshire who have remained responsible for it every since. Effects for the village were dramatic. Not only did attendance rates immediately improve (see early history), but a new building was added in 1913. It was purpose built and had many of the latest features like central heating and large airy rooms.

Henry Hewitt was still Head until about 1919 and saw many changes during his headship. The school lost its independence on the 1st April 1909 when it was taken over by the newly formed Staffordshire Education Committee. This saw a transformation for the school. Under the new owners Henry was able to secure funding for a building programme. A new building was erected in 1914 comprising of 6 classrooms, and office space. Part of the new construction was a wide corridor for ‘marching’ and ‘exhibitions’. The new building was constructed to very high standards and included central heating and large rooms. The layout of the school was changed at the time. A new playground was created off Station Road for the senior girls and boys. This area was divided by a fence so that they ‘didn’t mix’. Even the entrances were separated. The senior girls entering from Station Road and the Boys from High Street. The old building was refitted and converted into three classrooms for Infants. They had their own play yard off High Street.

During this period the school was an all age school providing education for pupils from infants to early secondary.

The image to the left was taken about 1905. It shows the wife of the Headmaster, Mrs Hewitt with her class. Given the independence of many of the schools of this type and the difficulties in gaining well trained staff the wives of heads were often employed to work at their husband’s school.

Later Heads for this period included Mr Dale and Mr Bowers.

The picture below shows Mrs Sumnal with her class at the school. The picture was taken about 1905. The location is thought to be at the corner of the original building and the caretaker’s house (both now demolished).

The school was still independent in 1905. After the creation of the large local authorities for education, by the 1920s married women were often not allowed to work in schools. Although many were urgently needed during the First World War many were forced to resign after the war. It is not known whether Mrs Sumnal escaped the problem many women like her found themselves in, later in the century.

By the 1930s the system of providing all age schools was creating a problem. Many of the schools were too small to provide the specialist education senior pupils required. Staffordshire decided to re-organise education in the Audley area.