An Introduction to school archives

We are lucky to have access to primary sources of evidence that help us to have an insight into school life and some aspects of everyday life in the past.

Below is a list of items that may be available within a school’s archive and brief explanation as to how they can help to build a picture of life in school from Victorian times through to the twenty first century. Log books

Log books were kept by Headteachers of schools under the Revised Code of Regulations 1862. Headteachers were required to keep a log of occurrences at the school, at least on a weekly basis, and the details within these books vary according to the circumstances of the school and the attention to detail of the Headteacher.  The books were to be considered confidential and contain at least 500 pages.

Headteachers were always concerned with pupil attendance and noted causes for low attendance such as disease, weather and local or national events.  Changes in staff were recorded as well as staff absence and illness.  Changes within the curriculum (standards) and Inspections were recorded.  Examinations and any prizes or commendations pupils received would also be included. They would also write details of visits to the school by local gentry, clergy and others.

There are log books for Dartington Church of England School dating from 1869-2005. Admission Registers The Admission Registers include details of pupils admitted to Dartington Church of England Primary School from c1902-1990. Attendance Registers From 1900 attendance registers were required to be completed twice a day, once at the start of the day and again at the start of the afternoon session, but attendance was recorded before this date as noted in the log books held. Dartington Church of England Primary School has an attendance register for 1940/41. Punishment Books Punishment Books were kept from 1921-1983 to record corporal punishment. The  date of the punishment, name of the pupil, type of punishment, the offence and the signature of the Headteacher who gave and administered the punishment were recorded.

(The Punishment Book for Dartington Church of England Primary School is missing) Photographs These can show individual classes, the whole school, school plays or other events. Ephemera As well as photographs this can include press cuttings, scrap books, videos and newsletters. (Whilst every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of information on this web page is correct we apologise for any discrepancies.)
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