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.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
In 1584 a master was licensed to teach grammar, partly at Reach. (fn. 1) A curate briefly ran a Sunday school in the 1810s, and Edward Ball soon had another attached to his Independent chapel built in 1830. About 1854 it had up to 120 pupils. (fn. 2) In 1858 another curate held Sunday and evening schools. (fn. 3)
The 'school church' built in 1860 was to be used on weekdays for a church school, besides night schools. In 1861, when c. 60 children attended, almost half the income came from schoolpence, the vicar meeting deficits. The teachers were initially uncertificated local women. (fn. 4) The school was closed in 1871 and not re-opened until 1876, after the Swaffham Prior ratepayers had agreed in 1875 to raise a voluntary rate for it. The certificated mistress thus procured had much difficulty with the ignorant children, parents still often keeping boys away. (fn. 5) Between the 1880s and 1910 c. 55-60 children usually attended. (fn. 6)
By 1903 the authorities were demanding that the poorly lit and inadequately partitioned building be replaced, and a new school was built on an adjoining site in 1909. (fn. 7) From c. 65 in the 1910s attendance fell to 37 by 1910 and c. 30 in 1938, (fn. 8) the older children having been sent to Burwell from 1923. When Reach school was finally closed in 1959-60, it had only 20 pupils, who were moved to Swaffham Prior. In 1972 the school building was taken over by the new parish for a village hall. (fn. 9)