Archive centreCarlisle
ReferenceDS 194
Alternative ref.DS 5748
TitleOusby School
DescriptionThe school known successively as St Luke’s National School, Ousby Parochial or Church of England School was established by a trust deed dated 18 September 1856, whereby William Crackenthorpe, lord of the manor of Ousby conveyed to the Reverend James Bush, Rector of Ousby and his successors, the site for a school for the education of children and adults or children only of the labouring manufacturing and other poorer classes in the parish of Ousby, to be conducted in accordance with the principles of the Church of England . The Rector was to be the sole trustee of the school, and responsible for the religious instruction within it. He was also to be chairman of the managers or could appoint his curate to that post. The remainder of the managers comprised the churchwardens of Ousby, ex-officio, and 4 members of the Church of England elected by those who had subscribed at least 10 shillings a year to the school funds from among the subscribers of at least £1.

An additional endowment was made under the Ousby Enclosure Award, dated 21 March 1863, comprising the rents of an allotment of 40 acres of land (which became Moor Farm), for which there was a separate body of trustees, who were to be elected by the landowners of the parish but in later years appear to have been nominated by the parish meeting. The Rector was until 1886, one of the trustees, but in that year a new body of trustees was appointed by the Charity Commissioners, and from that time there was periodic friction between the managers of the school and the trustees of the endowment, particularly after the school teachers’ salary became the responsibility of Cumberland Education Committee in 1903, as the trust’s income was no longer required for that purpose and began to accumulate.

Under the Education Act 1902 the management of the school was altered in July 1903 to provide 4 Foundation Managers, including the Rector ex-officio and 3 others (at first elected by the existing managers but from July 1904 comprising one manager nominated by the Rector and churchwardens and 2 representative managers elected by the qualified subscribers to the school funds, or in default of an election, appointed by other Foundation Managers) and 2 representative managers, one appointed by the county council and one by the district council.

Although some alterations appear to have been carried out to the school in the 1870s, the structure was essentially as built in 1856 and the children of all ages were still being taught in 1 room, approximately 26 feet by 16 feet. In 1911, when the school had 36 pupils, H M Inspector urged the managers to extend the building and divide it by a wood and glass partition, to provide separate teaching for the upper and lower age groups. These and other improvements were carried out in 1913, financed partly by contributions to a ‘School Enlargement Fund’ and partly by money from the school’s endowment.

In January 1912, when the number of trustees of the ‘School Allotment Foundation’ had fallen to 5, a further 4 were added by the Board of Education. Subsequent vacancies were not filled in a regular manner and by 1941 only 1 of the trustees appointed in 1912 survived and the validity of the appointment of those who had subsequently acted as trustees was in question. A major dispute over the composition and purposes of the trust and the status of the school (whether it belonged to the church or the parish generally), split the community. The surviving trustee of 1912 was able to secure the appointment of the Rector and other supporters of the church as trustees, and a closer relationship between the trustees and the school managers was thereby achieved. Difficulties over the composition of the trust were finally removed when the Carlisle Diocesan Board of Finance was appointed the trustee in December 1958.

Immediately after this change in the control of the school’s endowment, major alterations to the school building were planned and completed in 1961. Despite this, Ousby School remained a small one and was eventually closed in the 1970s. The whereabouts of the educational records and many of the administrative records of the school is unknown. Most of the records belong to the managers, kept by the Rector of Ousby with the ecclesiastical records of the parish. A few papers relating to Melmerby Church of England School were also included in the deposit.
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