A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12, Wootton Hundred (South) Including Woodstock. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1990.
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In 1682 a claim that there was an Anabaptist school teacher in South Leigh was denied. (fn. 86) In 1727 the curate or vicar of Stanton Harcourt was renting a schoolroom in one of the church houses at South Leigh. (fn. 87)
Between 1805 and 1829 the Sibthorp family paid for the teaching of between 12 and 20 children under the age of 10, mostly in the winter months. (fn. 88) There was then no Sunday school, and although dissent was strong there was no nonconformist school. (fn. 89) The Sibthorps' school closed in 1829, and in 1831 there was said to be no means of education in the village. (fn. 90) An unendowed school for a few children was mentioned in 1834, (fn. 91) and in 1852 a Sunday school was supported by subscriptions. (fn. 92) A day and Sunday school existed in 1854, (fn. 93) but thereafter there was no mention of any school until 1871, when St. James's National school was built for 80 children, (fn. 94) and a government grant was obtained. The Sibthorp family gave 1 a., a new cottage rent-free for the teacher, and more than half of the building cost; the site was conveyed to the vicar and churchwardens in 1871. (fn. 95) The school initially had a roll of 41 and an average attendance of 35 children and infants. It was frequently found to be inefficient and the government grant was often withheld; no boy stayed long enough at school to learn to read fluently. (fn. 96)
Attendance was 62 in 1890 and 1902. (fn. 97) In 1904 the roll was 102 but attendance only 50; (fn. 98) by 1912 the roll was down to 58. The effect on pupils of the dark and gloomy school building was reported upon unfavourably in 1922 and 1938. (fn. 99) The school was reorganized as a junior school with an average attendance of 17 in 1931; the seniors went to Witney. Attendance had not improved by 1938 and the school closed in 1946. (fn. 1)