Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Day School, Clacton On Sea, Essex

Aware of the lack of educational facilities in the Clacton area, a provisional Committee met at Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Church, Clacton on Sea on April 15th, 1887 to discuss setting up a Wesleyan Day School linked to Trinity Wesleyan Church. Plans were submitted to the Wesleyan Education Department with a request to open a Day School in the existing building. 

In May 1887, a permanent Committee was formed and Mr A E Brown was offered and accepted the post of Master at a salary of £70 per annum plus half the grant and half of the fees. 

The Wesleyan Day School was opened on Monday, 27th June 1887, having been well advertised in the town by posters and handbills.

The fees which included the use of books were advertised as follows: 

For children of farmers and shopkeepers                        8d per week

For children of artisans                                                    6d per week

For children of labourers                                                  4d per week

For Infants                                                                       4d per week

There was a reduction of 2d weekly for each child after the first. 

The response was immediate. The average attendance during the first four weeks was 109. This resulted in additional desks and materials having to be purchased and the Committee limiting the Master’s salary to £150 per annum. 

Additional staff  were appointed and a proportion of the Voluntary Rate was requested from Clacton Parish Council in addition to the grant from the Wesleyan Education Department. 

Numbers on Roll increased rapidly. Average attendances were:
July 1887 – 109; January 1888 – 153, June 1888 – 198, May 1890 – 220, October 1890 – 249, August 1891 – 268 

From these figures it is not surprising that 2 additional classrooms were erected in 1889. The school was given “Highly satisfactory” reports by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate  on several occasions, with the salaries earned between £30 and £45 per annum being supplemented with a Pupil-teacher who was paid £8 per annum and a monitor who received 1/6 per week. 

By 1891, the school was receiving a Government Fee Grant and the charge per child was reduced to 2d per week up to a maximum payment of 7/1 per year, after which tuition was free. 

In 1891 concern was expressed about the number of “offices” for the size of the School. The “offices” were the toilets and as there was no further land available for the school to expand discussions were opened with the National School Board which led to the formation of a Clacton School Board and the building of a Board School in St Osyth Road. 

St Osyth Road Board School opened in June 1894 and Mr A E Brown and all his staff transferred to the new school. The books and apparatus were sold to the Board for 1/3 of the net cost and when the Wesleyan Day School accounts were closed there was a balance of £29. Mr Brown was given an Honorarium of £20 and the Church Trustees £9 on the understanding that they would improve the sanitary arrangements for the Sunday School. 

Mr Brown was the Headmaster of the St Osyth Road School until he retired in 1920. During his time in Clacton he also served as Leaders’ Meeting and Trustees Meeting Secretary at Trinity and Circuit Meeting Secretary of the Clacton Wesleyan Circuit.

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