Primary School records
At long last our catalogues for primary (elementary) schools in Shropshire are online!
These lists were previously only available as printed catalogues. School records reach us in a piecemeal way – from the Local Education Authority, from the school itself, from retired head teachers or from local churches. In the case of Ellerdine school, some records were abandoned in the school building and only found when it converted was into a house. So using the printed lists alone, it was always hard to gather together records of a particular school.
My lockdown project was to get these lists online in a much more user-friendly way. The list has now been sorted, on a pragmatic basis, to allow easy searching for records of a particular school, using the system (X reference) to bring them together. Of course the original accessions can also be reconstructed using the document reference. I’ve also repeated terms so it should be easy to find Ash School Log Books or Munslow School Managers’ Minutes using the search box.
Alternatively, you can click here for Primary School Records (XED3) and then use the ‘browse this collection’ option.
Because I’ve worked on this at home using the printed lists and work done on the Access to Archives project, with only limited access to the originals, there may be mistakes. The focus has been on making records findable but do let me know if you spot any errors. The history of some schools is quite complicated, especially when School Boards were created or schools merged or split. This is particularly the case in Ludlow, Wellington and Shrewsbury and I’d recommend looking at the Victoria County History for a discussion of education in the latter two towns.
You will spot some schools listed where it says ‘no records deposited form the school’, this is to allow for future records and also for cross referencing to school records in other collections such as the general series of building plans. Over the next month, we’ll also add in whether there are school records in the parish (Church of England) or non-conformist church records. In the 19th century churches were often involved in providing education.
Useful records for family history
If you are looking for records of pupils, admission registers are likely to be most useful.
School log books are more like diaries and less likely to mention individuals. They can, however, give an excellent flavour of school life – recording absences for harvesting, the arrival of evacuees or an outbreak of nits.
You can search National School admission registers and log books up to 1914 at FindMyPast. National Schools were the schools run by the Church of England.
If you are looking for records of pupils in the later 20th century, then be aware that that there are data protection restrictions. Do ask staff in advance if you are interested in any of these.
Before 1944 primary schools were called ‘elementary schools’ because that was the only education most people had. The term ‘primary school’ only came into use as a result of the 1944 Education Act. Our printable short guide gives more information about the history of education and the records.