The original school in Bratton was the Old British School built in 1833 and sponsored by the Whitaker Family who were involved in the wool industry and interested in education. The first school was a very small wooden building on stilts next to the Manse of the Baptist Chapel. There were a 100 pupils in the school with 40 in the Upper area and 60 in the lower area. The children started at the age of three and a half years and the leaving age was 14.
The Teachers were Miss Burgess (Seniors in the Lower classroom); Miss Salter (Juniors in the upper classroom); Prior to this there were instructors from families in the woollen industry. Both teachers were in the school from World War 1 until the school closed in 1928. There were very strict tests carried out by special inspectors twice a year. Discipline was very strict and a cane was placed on the teacher’s desk. This was used for cheating, lying or any other disruption. Fidgets were made to stand in the corner facing the wall for 10 minutes with their hands on their heads.
The Interior of the school
The school had tortoise stoves which were used to dry wet clothes and shoes in winter. They were surrounded by tall mesh railings. There was gas lighting with a fragile mantle which showered fine dust on the nearest pupil and his/her desk. The teacher’s desk was mounted on a platform which also held a blackboard and easel. Desks were in groups of 2 and had hard wooden seats and tops which opened. The very young pupils sat on hard wooden small armchairs, with a small table in front.
Bratton Primary School was opened in 1928. It was just 3 rooms and two teachers. Mr. Cherry was the new headteacher and Miss Burgess, who was the last Headteacher at the recently closed British School, became the class teacher.