Tyneham School

The Tyneham Village School

Tyneham School

Tyneham school was built in 1856. It wasn’t just the village children who were taught in Tyneham school. Children from the outlying farms and villages and also attended the school. They had to walk in, sometimes from great distances, so if the weather was bad, the attendance would be poor.

In those times, outbreaks of influenza as well as other infectious diseases kept many from attending  school. During busy times on the farms attendance would also suffer. This was because many of the children had to help with the harvest and other work, such as hedging and ditching.

Children of all ages were educated at Tyneham school with children from 4 to 14 being taught in the same room. The younger children would sit on the stage behind the drawn curtain. They would practice their counting using beads on strings or drawing with blunt crayons. It was recorder that children as young as three would often wander in to join their elder siblings.

In those times, schools in England were very strict and Tyneham school was no different. There was a very strict regime under Mrs. Pritchard, who was the head teacher from 1921 to 1928. There was no talking, and knuckles were rapped when the pen was held incorrectly for handwriting. Joined-up writing was practised from the start, with careful attention to spacing of letters. Like in all schools at that time, the Union Flag was saluted on entering school in the mornings.


Tyneham School

Children at the school before it was closed in 1932


A plaque on the outside of the school recalls the memories of former student, Winnie Bright. She was taught by Mrs. Pritchard for four years. Winnie walked to school from Kimmeridge every day, and knew all the best places to find orchids on the way.

Tyneham School InteriorWhen the school put on an evening show, the unwieldy bench desks were taken outside and the villagers would bring their own chairs. Children sat on the floor or perched on the bookcases at the back watching the show by the light of paraffin lamps.

Although Tyneham shcool was originally designed to able to house up to sixty children, it never reached its full attendance. When the Coastguard station at Worbarrow eventually closed in 1912, nearly half the pupils left.

The schools attendance remained low throughout the 1920s. In 1932, when the total number of students had fallen to only 9 children, Tyneham school was forced to close. The school was then used as the village hall. The remaining students were taken to Corfe castle school by bus.

Today, Tyneham school has been fully restored, both inside and out and gives a good idea of what school life would have been like for those attending.


This video is from YouTube and shows the interior of the school.

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