A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (North-Eastern Cambridgeshire). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.
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Schooling was available at Fulbourn from the 1570s. Between 1600 and 1625 the curate usually also acted as schoolmaster, although a B.A. was also teaching in the 1610s. (fn. 1) The master reported in 1669 was a dissenter; another in 1685 was unlicensed. (fn. 2) Local education was endowed by Mrs. Elizabeth March, of the Farmer family. By her will of 1722 she gave land in Oakington, worth £70 by 1780, to support schools for teaching poor children, free of charge, to read English in five Cambridgeshire parishes including Fulbourn. (fn. 3) In 1728 a master was teaching 24 children in that charity school, held by 1747 in St. Vigor's vestry. (fn. 4) Successive masters, a father and son until 1762, and their successor, 1762-1808, (fn. 5) received £10 out of the endowment until 1800, £20 by 1837, and £38 by 1860. (fn. 6) In 1807 when that endowed master, an Anglican chosen by the rector and parish officers, taught only reading, another taught writing; there were also three dame schools. (fn. 7)
March's school had 30 pupils in 1818, when another day school had 45, two thirds male; six dame schools had c. 75, and two evening ones another 41, although most boys had to go to work early. (fn. 8) In 1833, when the endowed school, apparently under an unsatisfactory drunken master, had only 18 pupils, villagers were paying for teaching in seven dame schools and one evening one with 144 children between them. (fn. 9) The parish clerk kept March's school, perhaps mostly for boys, from 1834 to the late 1860s, charging c. 1837 for teaching writing and arithmetic. By 1851 he was hiring a schoolroom. (fn. 10) About 1847 c. 110 others, mostly infant girls, still attended five dame schools. (fn. 11) In 1851 c. 190 children were receiving some schooling. (fn. 12) One dame school survived into the early 1880s. (fn. 13) A private day school, whose master in 1859 gave evening classes for older boys, (fn. 14) was probably that kept by the Paynes at Chafy's Farm c. 1850-80. (fn. 15)
The new All Saints curate started evening classes for 80 young men by 1854, (fn. 16) when the existing endowed school had 60 pupils under its 'efficient' master. (fn. 17) The next vicar had a Church school, including one large mixed schoolroom, erected in 1858 on a site west of Wright's, later School, Lane, given by the squire. It was built of grey brick trimmed in red to a slightly Gothic design resembling the contemporary almshouses. The cost, £625, was mostly met by subscription. Opened in 1859, (fn. 18) it soon had c. 50 pupils paying schoolpence, out of 160 schoolchildren in the village, mostly girls; they were taught by an uncertificated mistress. (fn. 19) Another schoolroom for c. 45 boys was added, with a house to the north for the teacher, in 1871-2, possibly because the endowed school had recently ceased; March's benefaction, then worth £34, met half the running costs. (fn. 20)
By 1873 the clergy were finding it hard to maintain that school, then taking 170 pupils. A British day school connected with the chapel, which had once taught up to 150, had lately closed for lack of money. The ratepayers demanded a school board, (fn. 21) established in 1879. In 1880 it built a new schoolroom for 60-80 boys under a certificated master, formally succeeding March's school. It was enlarged in 1893 to hold 200 pupils. (fn. 22) Under a compromise reached in 1883 the 1871 church school building was transferred to the board for teaching the older girls, while that of 1858-9 was retained for a church infant school, which again proved difficult to support by 1897. (fn. 23) Evening schools with up to 60 pupils were held from the 1880s into the 1910s. (fn. 24) March's endowment, worth £35 in the late 19th century was used from the 1880s for prizes at the board school or apprenticeships. (fn. 25)
Attendance at that school, 100-120 until the 1930s, fell to c. 60 after the older pupils were sent to Bottisham village college in 1937. That at the church infant school was usually 65-85 over the same period. (fn. 26) From 1955 it was amalgamated with the surviving county junior school. (fn. 27) Its building later served for a youth club and library. (fn. 28) In 1969 a new infant school for up to 70 children was built west of Haggis Gap. (fn. 29) In 1976 the two schools together had c. 500 pupils, the junior school's numbers having risen from 86 to 250 since 1957. (fn. 30) In 1982-3 there were only 200 juniors and 90 infants. (fn. 31) Despite strong local opposition the two schools were amalgamated on the School Lane site, with extra buildings, in 1985. (fn. 32) The infant school buildings became a community centre from 1986. (fn. 33)