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Broughton School

Broughton School lies on the A606 between the villages of Upper Broughton and Nether Broughton. Unusually the school served two communities which lie in different counties (Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire) and as schools were funded by their counties, this came to produce adminstrative difficulties as time went by.

The 1870 Education Act heralded in compulsory education and obliged local authorities to provide primary education for all children aged 5 to 11. In 1874 'The School Board for the United Parishes of Upper and Nether Broughton' was created and it built the school and the schoolhouse for £2000. They lie halfway between the two villages.

The school opened on June 4th 1877 and during the first few months it had 100 children on its books and had three classes.

On 30th May 1877, the Leicester Chronicle and Leicestershire Mercury reported that 'the splendid new school for Upper and Nether Broughton United School District was opened with tea and entertainment'. The article praised the board who 'for upwards of three years have been working with energy and have just succeeded in opening this new and spacious building'.

School logs report that attendance could be erratic; children were prone to catching the many illnesses prevalent at the time, and they were frequently required for work on the land: 'Several children absent to gather colts foot' is one entry, another records 'Bean-dropping begins'.

A major change occurred in 1940 when 41 children and 3 teachers were evacuated from Great Yarmouth and had to be instantly absorbed into the school. The most famous pupil was one of these evacuees: Kenneth MacMillan who was billetted at Willow Farm in the village, he subsequently became a choreographer and the Artistic Director of the Royal Ballet.

The school closed down on 19th January 1969 and the remaining children were transferred to other local schools. Since then the building has been used for light industry. Initially it housed a business making rowing boats and latterly it has been occupied by a company manufacturing disposable items for the health service.

In 2011 the Upper Broughton History Group was awarded a grant of £14,500 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to record village history remembered by both older and former residents. We interviewed 42 people about four main topics, one of which was Broughton School (the others being how they enjoyed themselves, the war and farming). These wide-ranging memories became the trigger for an exhibition in 2013, the production of an education resource for the local primary school, the creation of a history website and for the publication of three booklets. One of these forms is 'A History of Upper Broughton: School Days'.

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