Victoria County History



T P Hudson (Editor), A P Baggs, C R J Currie, C R Elrington, S M Keeling, A M Rowland

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'Ifield: Education', A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 3: Bramber Rape (North-Eastern Part) including Crawley New Town (1987), pp. 72-73. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=18412 Date accessed: 20 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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In 1819 c. 75 children attended three small day schools. (fn. 98) A schoolmaster of Ifield was mentioned in 1821. (fn. 99) The schools were probably private and short-lived; of three fee-paying day schools in 1835, one had been established only in 1829. (fn. 1)

Subscriptions for a Church of England school were collected at some time after 1827, and it was founded west of Crawley village in 1831. A master's house was built, and 90 boys and 42 girls attended the school in 1835. (fn. 2) Thomas and Henry Broadwood in 1834 provided an endowment of rent charges on land in Ifield and Rusper. (fn. 3) The school, between West green and Crawley High Street, was in union with the National Society by 1844. (fn. 4) By 1847 there was a separate infants' department with its own room, a mistress, and a house; the school was supported by the endowment, subscriptions, and payments. The attendance at both departments combined was then 168, (fn. 5) and in 1855 an average of 25 infants and 119 others. (fn. 6) Attendance at the school, known successively as Crawley and Ifield National school and Crawley and Ifield C.E. school, fell to 65 c. 1875, rose to 205 in 1890, (fn. 7) and fell to 154 in 1899; (fn. 8) from 1908 to 1938 c. 200 attended. (fn. 9) In 1914 a new infants' school opened; the juniors took over the old infants' building. (fn. 10) The school closed in 1955 and the pupils were transferred to the new St. Margaret's C.E. school, Ifield. (fn. 11)

Ifield National school, later Ifield C.E. school, in Ifield village, originated as two Sunday schools for boys and girls, one of which was built in 1843; both were in union with the National Society by 1847. (fn. 12) It may have been the infants' school in the centre of the parish mentioned in 1867. (fn. 13) The building was enlarged in 1871 and reopened as an elementary school with 30 boys and 26 girls in 1872. (fn. 14) A grant was received from c. 1874. (fn. 15) Attendance reached a peak in the early 1900s: in 1907 there were 108 children, of whom 32 were infants. (fn. 16) The school was enlarged in that year. (fn. 17) By 1914 attendance had fallen to 60, by 1922 to 50, and by 1938 to 36. (fn. 18) After bomb damage during the Second World War the school was transferred to Little Deerswood. It closed in 1955 and the pupils were transferred to St. Margaret's school. (fn. 19)

Crawley and Ifield British schools, in the Ifield part of Crawley village, originated in a free school opened by the Quaker Mrs. Sarah Robinson, formerly a partisan of the National school, in 1852; the incumbent had offended her by expelling the child ren of nonconformist parents from the National school. A permanent school was built by subscription in Church Road, later Robinson Road, and opened in 1854; the National school's former headmaster transferred to the new school. (fn. 20) There were said to be c. 60 children in 1855; (fn. 21) then or in 1857 an infants' department was built. (fn. 22) The school received a grant from 1868. (fn. 23) Attendance rose rapidly to reach 139 by 1874. (fn. 24) The school was extended in 1878. (fn. 25) In 1890 it could accommodate 242 children and was attended by 192. (fn. 26) A new infants' schoolroom was built in 1895, and a new infants' school on the playground in 1899. The school became a council school in 1903. (fn. 27) In 1907 there were 277 children in the mixed department and 95 infants; (fn. 28) the total had fallen to 274 by 1914, and was 305 in 1938. (fn. 29) A new school was built in 1916. In 1953 juniors and infants were transferred to West Green county junior and infants' school; c. 200 children were transferred to Hazelwick county secondary modern school in 1954, leaving the Robinson Road school as a county secondary school with c. 150 first-year children. (fn. 30) The school moved to the new Sarah Robinson secondary modern school on Ifield campus, opened in 1956, (fn. 31) the Robinson Road building being used first by the Workers' Educational Association and later as an annexe to Crawley College of Technology. (fn. 32)

A Roman Catholic school was established in the 1860s in connexion with the Capuchin friary. In 1867 there were 20-25 children. (fn. 33) It still existed in 1871, (fn. 34) but no more is known of it.

Private schools in Ifield in the 19th century, mostly in Crawley village, later town, included a boarding school, begun in 1831 and surviving in 1835, (fn. 35) which was possibly Ashford, a ladies' boarding and day school; (fn. 36) a day school run by Sarah Wright from 1862 or earlier to 1866 or later; (fn. 37) a boarding school at North House from c. 1874 to 1915 or later; (fn. 38) a young ladies' seminary in 1878; (fn. 39) and a commercial school in Springfield Road in 1895, (fn. 40) where there were also two preparatory schools in 1915. (fn. 41)

St. Margaret's C.E. school is treated under Crawley new town.


98 Educ. of Poor Digest, 962.
99 W.S.R.O., Par. 109/1/2/1.
1 Educ. Enq. Abstract, 973.
2 Ibid.; P.R.O., ED 7/123; W.S.R.O., Par. 60/25/1/1.
3 W.S.R.O., Par. 60/7/1/1.
4 Ibid. TD/W 156.
5 Nat. Soc. Inquiry, 1846-7, Suss. 8-9.
6 W.S.R.O., Ep. II/40/1.
7 Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1874-5 [C. 1265-I], p. 418, H.C. (1875), xxiv; 1890-1 [C. 6438-I], p. 678, H.C. (1890-1), xxvii.
8 Schs. in Receipt of Parl. Grants, 1898-9 [C. 9454], p. 244, H.C. (1899), lxxiv.
9 Bd. of Educ., List 21, 1908 (H.M.S.O.), and later edns.
10 P.R.O., ED 7/123.
11 W.S.R.O., E 60/12/5, p. 213.
12 Nat. Soc. Inquiry, 1846-7, Suss. 8-9; P.R.O., ED 7/123.
13 Rep. Com. on Children and Women in Agric. 78.
14 P.R.O., ED 7/123.
15 Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1874-5, 419.
16 Public Elem. Schs. 1907 [Cd. 3901], p. 639, H.C. (1908), lxxxiv.
17 W.S.R.O., CC 490.
18 Bd. of Educ., List 21, 1914 (H.M.S.O.), 523; 1922, 342; 1938, 402.
19 W.S.R.O., E 60c/12/4; inf. from Mr. Frost.
20 Crawley: Robinson Rd. Schs. Centenary Bk. 5-6 (copy in W.S.R.O. libr.).
21 W.S.R.O., Ep. II/40/1.
22 P.R.O., ED 7/123, giving 1855; Robinson Rd. Schs. 7.
23 Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1868-9 [4139], p. 610, H.C. (1868-9), xx; Robinson Rd. Schs. 8, however, gives 1860.
24 Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1873-4 [C. 1019-I], p. 418, H.C. (1874), xviii.
25 Robinson Rd. Schs. 10.
26 Rep. of Educ. Cttee. of Council, 1890-1, 678.
27 Robinson Rd. Schs. 12-13.
28 Public Elem. Schs. 1907, 638.
29 Bd. of Educ., List 21, 1914 (H.M.S.O.), 522; 1938, 401.
30 Robinson Rd. Schs. 3-4, 16-17.
31 Below, Crawley new town, educ.
32 Inf. from Mr. Kay.
33 Rep. Com. on Children and Women in Agric. 79.
34 Robinson Rd. Schs. 9.
35 Educ. Enq. Abstract, 673.
36 Pigot, Nat. Com. Dir. (1832-4), 1026.
37 Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1862, 1866).
38 Ibid. (1874), s.v. Crawley; Crawley, ed. Lowerson, 32.
39 Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1878), s.v. Crawley.
40 Ibid. (1895), s.v. Crawley.
41 Crawley, ed. Lowerson, 32.