20th Century change

By the beginning of the 20th century the number of children on roll was in the upper nineties, with an average weekly attendance of sixty-plus pupils. Their ages ranged from five to fourteen years old. These numbers varied little under the subsequent headship of Edith Pratt and remained relatively stable during the time of Irene Hanham, who followed Edith Pratt as headmistress. However, Irene Hanham was still in post when, in response to an aspect of the 1944 Education Act, the twelve- to fifteen-year old children were transferred outside the village for their senior education, leaving only five- to eleven-year old children at the village school.

After Irene Hanham retired in the late 1950s, Doris Bradford took over the headship of the school and she in turn was followed by Henry Scott. It was during Henry Scott’s tenure that another change occurred, for in the mid 1980s Fovant came within the Comprehensive education zone. At that stage our ten- and eleven-year old children were moved to the middle school in Tisbury.

With yet another reduction in the number of pupils on roll, the long-threatened possibility of closure loomed ever larger. By the summer of 1986, Ian Townsend, who had by then taken over the headship of the school from Henry Scott, was left with only thirty-plus children on roll. This number continued to dwindle, eventually descending well beyond the realms of economic viability.

The inevitable closure took place at the end of the summer term in 1997 and our younger children were then assigned to nearby Dinton School, which was considerably enlarged to accommodate them.

Our school had been in existence for 150 years. In many ways we were lucky to have had it for so long, for many of the small schools in surrounding villages had long been closed down. The building is now used by The Rainbow Centre which, apart from being used for meetings of various kinds, also houses a privately run nursery school and an after-school club for older children.