A History of the County of Essex: Volume 4, Ongar Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1956.
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In 1770 there seems to have been a school at Navestock Side, (fn. 1) but by 1818 this had evidently ceased to exist. (fn. 2) In the early 19th century Lady Waldegrave and the vicar had jointly supported a school, probably a dame school on Navestock Heath, but about 1817 this was closed on the death of the mistress. Earl Waldegrave then built a schoolroom on the north side of Navestock Heath in which in 1818 a master was teaching some 40 children on the monitorial system. (fn. 3) Under the patronage of the Waldegraves and the superintendence of the vicar the school increased its attendance to 50 in 1828 and 60 in 1833. (fn. 4) In 1837 the Waldegraves built a new school, or rebuilt the old one on the same site, and added a teacher's house. (fn. 5) By 1839 the school was being used to full capacity by some 70 children, each of whom paid a penny a week. The total income for the previous year had been £46, of which £31 had been obtained (with some difficulty) from subscribers. The school was supervised by the vicar and Litchfield Tabrum of Bois Hall. At that time there was also a dame school in the parish with about 50 pupils, but there were still some children not going to school. (fn. 6)
School attendance continued to increase as the population rose. In 1846-7 there were 75 children, taught by a master and mistress. (fn. 7) In 1859 an inspector found the schoolroom overcrowded with 95 pupils. 'The children seem nice', he reported. (fn. 8) In 1862-3 the school was receiving an annual government grant. (fn. 9) Its supporters realized the need for more accommodation and this had been provided by about 1867. Local subscribers gave £617 towards the rebuilding and the government contributed £145. (fn. 10) By a deed of 1867 the vicar and churchwardens were made trustees and the management was entrusted to the vicar and six representatives of the subscribers. An inspector reported in 1871 that the new school had 146 places but that 14 more places were needed to ensure universal elementary education in the parish. (fn. 11)
Attendance at the Navestock Heath school was 101 in 1871. (fn. 12) It fell with the declining population of the parish to 88 in 1902. (fn. 13) The government grant, however, increased from £45 in 1873 to £59 in 1893 and £101 in 1902. (fn. 14) By the Education Act of 1902 the school passed under the administration of the Essex Education Committee, Ongar District, as a nonprovided church school. In 1904 there was an average attendance of 89 and there were four teachers. (fn. 15) The attendance fell to an average of 71 in 1911 and 46 in 1938. (fn. 16) In 1948 the school was reorganized for mixed juniors and infants and in July 1949 it was closed owing to the small attendance. (fn. 17) The building is owned by the Diocesan Board and is used for village activities. (fn. 18) It is a rectangular one-story building of yellow brick with a slate roof with the former teacher's house attached, and it stands next to the Plough Inn.
In about 1871 there was a school at Horseman Side, in the cottage which now adjoins the 'King William IV'. (fn. 19) This may have been a private school mentioned by an inspector in 1871 as being at Navestock Side. (fn. 20)