Schools in Hethersett
At the turn of the century, Hethersett has four* schools catering for children from 3-18 years. The Caroline Lindley Trust gives grants for further education 18-25 years. All children must attend school by law and education is free to all, unless parents choose private schools. Pre-school provision however has yet to be fully funded from the public purse, but there are several groups in the village for children under school age.
In 1880 school attendance became compulsory, with all fees for elementary education being abolished in 1891. In 1918 ancillary services such as medical inspection, nursery and special schools were introduced.
Hethersett's first National School built in 1817, the British School in Henstead Road built 1850-54, and the new National School built 1860-61, were all established as the result of individual and group efforts by people, irrespective of their religious persuasion, who had sometimes the money, and always the vision of improving the lives of others through education.
An initial bequest of 1803, provided for the education of six poor children of the parish to be chosen by the rector. The curate, the Rev.John Edwards was the driving force in setting up the National School, and thus, the church was closely involved. At the National School in 1861, fees varied from one penny to sixpence per week depending on the parents' occupational status. Miss Caroline Lindley was instrumental in finding the funds to build the British School. Caroline Lindley House still stands next to what was the British School, now the Parish Church Hall. There is no record of any fees having been paid but the rents from the house were used to fund the school. The Caroline Lindley Trust was set up in 1951 when the British and National Schools were amalgamated.
The aim of the British School, begun in Edward Lombe's Great Melton Hall, was to provide a "liberal and unsectarian" education for boys and girls, teenagers and adults. Sunday and evening classes were provided for working teenagers and adults who could not attend the day schools.
Today, older teenagers can move on from the High School for Sixth Form studies at a variety of surrounding schools, or they can opt for City College to take their A-levels. They are privileged, no matter how unwillingly they may creep to school on occasion.
* Woodside First, Firs Road Middle School, Queen's Road (Voluntary Controlled) High School, Queen's Road Old Hall, Norwich Road (Private Day & Boarding Girls' School)