Setting up the School
England's first Education Act of 1870 took the initial step towards making education free and compulsory for all children in the country. School Boards were to be set up in areas where there were not enough voluntary schools to fill the gaps.
On 23rd March 1871 the School Board for Dronfield met for the first time in the Town Hall. They appointed a Mr George to report on the schools in the area, and to go round from house to house to find out how many children there were. He was paid Ł4 for his services.
In July 1871 Mr George reported that there were 181 children between the ages of 3 and 5, and 628 children between the ages of 5 and 13 resident within the parish.
The only schools regarded as suitable were the National School with 102 pupils and the Lower School in the Grammar School with 125 pupils. (There were other schools run by Miss Cole, Miss Wildgoose and Miss Stock, but these were regarded as damp, dark, inefficient or too expensive.)
There were, therefore, 582 children without school places. With Wilson and Cammell building a gigantic new steelworks there would be more families coming into the area.
It was decided to build a school for 600 boys and girls, with a house for the master. Land was purchased at Cross Lane. The total cost of building the school was Ł6051.