Webpage created: July 12, 2017
Webpage updated: March 27, 2021
SAINT ANDREW'S CHAPEL NATIONAL SCHOOLS
Perhaps it was the success of the Charles National Schools that in 1842 prompted those in charge of Saint Andrew's Chapel to open their Sunday School premises in Lockyer Street as a day school.
Saint Andrew's Chapel, later known as Saint Catharine's Church, was built in 1823 and it was ten years later that school-rooms were built behind the chapel to accommodate a Sunday school. The day schools were first established in 1842.
The boys' school was about 25 feet long by 15 feet wide and 10½ feet high. This allowed for the attendance of 50 boys. The girls' school was the same length and breadth but only 9¾ feet high, allowing for an attendance of 47 girls. There was no playgrounds attached to either school but there was a small courtyard.
There were 69 boys and 50 girls on the registers, with the children paying either 4d, 2d or 1d per week, the amount being decided by the financial status of the family, whether the father is in constant employment or not, and how many young children there were. The amount is fixed when the child is admitted to the school but all the children received the same standard of education.
Boys who had passed the seventh standard, and for whom no Government grant was received, were asked to pay 6d per week for as long as they remained at the school.
Whereas most schools in Plymouth had, in 1868, spare capacity, Saint Andrew's Chapel did not and so was selective of those children it admitted. As a consequence they could acquire good discipline and attendance by dismissing those who failed to conform to the school rules or to make regular attendance.
All children admitted were expected to attend the Sunday School and although there were apparently many who did not, it was intended in 1868 to enforce the rule more strictly with newcomers.
Staff comprised a certified master and mistress and several monitors and monitresses. Formerly, though, only pupil teachers were employed.
The usual lessons were given plus geography and map drawing. the girls received additional instruction in needle-work and knitting. In addition, the most regular attendees were given after hours instruction in other subjects without any extra charge.
It was claimed that boys travelled to the School from around Sutton Pool, from Vinegar Hill (North Hill) and from East Stonehouse.
School pence for 1867 was £43 11s 7½d (where did the halfpenny come from?) and the Government grant amounted to £31 16s. Voluntary subscriptions and special collections at the Chapel raised £51 6s. The cost of running the schools was about £200, of which the salaries amounted to about £128. The schools were in profit, however.
When the Education Act 1902 transferred the responsibility for education to the Plymouth Local Education Authority, Saint Andrew's Chapel National School became the Saint Catharine's Church of England Elementary School.