The School

Over Peover and Snelson are proud to have a wonderful school which has survived over 100 Years.

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Schhol Centenary

Below is a taste of the fascinating history of the school. An extract from the book : Over Peover—A Cheshire Parish by Barry Wienholdt and John Mottershead.

The Educational Foundation

An early mention of a school in Over Peover comes in 1865 in the first entry of a minute book entitled Over Peover Charities.  This entry was made at a meeting of the Trustees of the Mainwaring and Mary Barnes Charities.  Present on this occasion were Sir Harry Mainwaring, Bart., a Church Warden, two Overseers from Over Peover and two from Snelson.

The business was to open an account with the Union Bank of Manchester in Knutsford.  Then a resolution was passed requiring that the tenants of two estates in Over Peover and Snelson pay their half yearly rents into the account.  The estates were School Farm in Over Peover, now replaced by ‘Tithe House’, and Ivy Farm in Snelson.  Sir Harry Mainwaring and a Mr Samuel Wright then agreed to transfer monies standing to their names, from the estates, to the new account.  A deed was then prepared establishing the Educational Trust.

This meeting took place on the 3rd August 1865, in ‘The School Room, Over Peover’, indicating that a school already existed.  There was also at that time a schoolmaster called Mr. Samuel Crump but he resigned his post the following February.

The vacancy was advertised.  A schoolmaster and his wife were to be offered a joint salary of £30 per annum, with the house and garden rent free, and with a proportion of ‘Head’ money from each scholar.  Mr William Guy of Cannock was appointed master of the boys’ school; his wife, Mary, becoming mistress of the girls’ school.  Their appointment was short-lived, because in September 1868, a Mr Luke Wood and his sister, Leah, were appointed master and assistant mistress, and subsequent records reveal that the Trustees had made a good choice because they held their appointments until August 1899.

In 1874, the Trustees (Governors) decided to build a new school and house, on the site where Peover Cottage now stands.  J. Tickle & Son built this for £470, work being started in July and completed by December.

During this period, the Governors were occupied not only with the school’s administration, but with the farms, which were in constant need of repair and a drain on the resources of the Trust.  In 1897, therefore, Ivy Farm was sold for £2,530 which, in those days, must have been a high price.  School Farm was in a dilapidated state and, in 1909, the Governors decided to rebuild the farmhouse with four bedrooms.  The cost was £330 and James Gough & Sons of Lower Peover were the builders.

By 1874 a Mr. Peter Henshall had been appointed pupil-teacher at a salary of £5 per annum and the ‘Head’ money was now contributing £32.10s.0d.  If the charge per scholar was, say, 2d per week, the strength of the school must have been approximately eighty pupils.  In the same year, the Commissioners appointed under ‘The Endowed Schools’ Act’, of 1869, produced a scheme, relating to Over Peover School and Charities, setting out the conditions to be fulfilled.  This was approved by Queen Victoria in Privy Council at Balmoral on the 20th October of that year.

The following year, the Governors received a Report of the Government Inspector which gave So much gratification they immediately awarded a gift of £25 to Mr Wood and £1 to Mr Henshall as rewards for their exertions in bringing the School into such an efficient state.

Sir Harry Mainwaring presided for the last time on 5th February 1875.  Minutes of the time made no reference to his death or of all the work he had done in starting the Charity, presiding over meetings and doubtless in many other ways not recorded.  Victorians did not believe in cluttering their records with matters outside the remit of the Trust.

The heir to Sir Harry, Sir Stapleton Mainwaring, who is subsequently referred to as Sir Harry S. Mainwaring joined the governors, as did Miss Maud Mainwaring who brought a feminine touch to the proceedings with the introduction of school holidays and prizes for the children.

About this time ‘Fire Money’ was introduced; each child was requested to pay sixpence in advance for heating the school for the period 1st October to 1st April.  For some years the schoolmaster had received a quarterly allowance of £1.5s.0d for ‘coals’ and 7s.6d for cleaning.  He or his wife was responsible, presumably, for making sure the school was heated and kept clean.

The schoolmaster and his staff at this time had much to do in the matter of education, teaching the children not only the three R’s but all the useful knowledge which a country child needed for both his or her earthly and heavenly life.  The boys, and girls also, received frequent caning for very trivial offences including not paying attention and idleness.  It is also worth noting that, during this period, the schoolmaster was paid according to the number of passes in each subject, on the result of examinations held regularly by H.M. Inspector of Schools.

Entries from the School Log Book make interesting reading:

30th April 1875          Many of the older boys absent all week planting potatoes.

16th June 1875          Attendance not good today – a number of the boys working in the hay fields.

25th June 1875          Ditto

16th July 1875           Attendance not good-very wet.

19th July 1875           Older children at home gathering currants.

3rd August 1875         Letter from Miss M. Mainwaring to tell me to send Willy Houghton up to the Hall to remain there all day in case she should require him to go any errands.  Sir Harry being very ill.

Maud Mainwaring made frequent visits to the School, presumably to check that tuition and discipline were up to standard, on behalf of the Trustees.  She also distributed prizes, listened to the children singing, watched the drilling in the playground and also gave some tuition in sewing and dictation.

By the year 1900, there were three teachers whose salaries amounted to £200.14s.3d and there were eighty-seven scholars.  Holidays amounted to fourteen days at Christmas, nine days at Easter and one month for Summer all inclusive of weekends.

Parliament was now getting to grips with education.  A new Education Act was passed in 1902 and Local Education Authorities (LEAs) came into existence.  The standards required of schools and teachers were raised and the general management of schools was laid down.  The following year, 1903, the first four ‘Foundation Managers’ were appointed.  These foundation managers came probably from the Parish Council and the County Education Committee.  The effect of this was that the Foundation ceased to have responsibility for the management, as distinct from the maintenance of the school.  From then onwards the school was to be known as ‘The Over Peover Endowed School’.

In January 1910, the County Council asked if the Trustees  (Foundation Governors) were prepared to provide a new school building and, if not, the LEA would take steps to make such provision.  The Trustees considered this threat and decided to erect a new school.  Sir Harry S. Mainwaring offered ‘a plot of land not exceeding 1½ acres and, furthermore, £425 for the existing school and house.’

The necessary permission from the Board of Education was forthcoming in March 1911, but the Board declined to authorise expenditure of the Foundation’s capital.  The governors entered into correspondence and sought legal advice resulting in the necessary permission to release funds.  The Board then sanctioned sums totalling £1,225 from various sources to create the General Endowment.

The County decided that the new school would have to cater for one hundred and twenty pupils and, in 1912, Mr H.H. Brown of Manchester was appointed architect and at the same time the Charity Commissioners changed the title of the Charity to ‘The Over Peover Educational Foundation’.  Levi Brown & Sons of Wilmslow were appointed builders in May 1913 for a contract price of £1,427, including the architect’s fees.

In February 1914, the water supply in the well, which had been sunk on the site, was not considered suitable but, by sinking a further five feet, a purer supply was obtained.  Finally the new school was opened without fanfare on 11th May 1914, and by June 1937 both electricity and mains water had been connected.

A major change came in 1944 with the passing of another Education Act which caused the ‘Seniors’ to be removed and the School became a primary school of two classes.  At the same time, the LEA wanted to know if the School should remain ‘non-provided’, ‘aided’ or become ‘controlled’.  The LEA also said that the number of Managers appointed by the Foundation was to be reduced from four to two.

The cost of making the necessary improvements required by the LEA was beyond the means of the Foundation and it was decided to apply for Controlled status.  The draft scheme was produced by the Ministry of Education in 1958 and from that time the Foundation had no direct involvement in the School.  It does, however, continue to maintain close links with the school, making grants for the benefit of the school in general and certain pupils in particular as the need arises.

The Educational Foundation with eight governors still exists and the original terms still hold.