A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 9, Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1989.
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A master licensed in 1585 had gone by 1590. Another was teaching boys c. 1612. (fn. 1) No organized schooling was reported thereafter until the 1780s, when William Frend, assisted by Sir John Hinde Cotton, started a Sunday school in the church with 30-40 initially illiterate pupils, who also furnished singers for the services. (fn. 2) In 1807 the parish clerk kept a school for poor children in the church. (fn. 3) In 1818 a boys' school and a girls' school were supported by subscriptions, (fn. 4) which by 1833 maintained only two Sunday schools. Parents paid for children at the two day schools. (fn. 5) In 1836 Lady Cotton and the vicar supported Sunday and evening classes and a day school for girls, boys being merely catechized. (fn. 6) There was a schoolmistress in 1841. (fn. 7) In 1844 Lady Cotton and her son Sir St. Vincent gave a site north of the Cambridge road for a National school, managed by the lord and vicar. (fn. 8) The plain grey-brick structure with a teacher's house and a single classroom to hold 72 children9 was enlarged c. 1890 and again c. 1912, (fn. 9) and remained in use until the 1980s. It had nominally 40 or more pupils in the 1850s and 1860s, mostly taught by untrained girls. The actual attendance in 1868 averaged only 18. By 1871 there was a separate infant class. (fn. 10) In 1877 there were 40 older pupils. The vicar taught there once a week in 1885 and daily in 1897. In the late 1870s and 1880s there was also a night school, taught by Henry Hurrell himself in 1885. (fn. 11) After the break-up of the Cotton estate the school was partly maintained by voluntary rates in the 1890s. (fn. 12)
Attendance, after declining from almost 50 in the early 1880s, stabilized at 35-40 until c. 1910, (fn. 13) usually taught by transient mistresses until the 1920s. (fn. 14) The number of pupils fell to 21 by 1938, (fn. 15) and from 1939 the older children went to Impington village college. (fn. 16) The county council decided in 1976 to close the school when the headmistress, who had served since 1943, retired. (fn. 17) When the building was sold in 1978, the villagers acquired it with help from an anonymous benefactor (fn. 18) and at once reopened the primary school. In the early 1980s they raised by voluntary efforts half the sum needed to maintain a school taught by one full-time teacher with 15-20 pupils, a majority of the younger village children. (fn. 19)