On 23rd February the Council decided to close the Victorian Schoolroom in 39½ Castle Street as part of an ongoing review. The school opened in 2001 and has provide a unique education experience to around 2000 school children each year. The service just about covered is costs through charges to schools. The decision to sell was brought about by the decision to sell the row of properties in which it is contained. See Exec Report 23rd Feb for details
In 2001 when Matthew Alexander bought the entire inventory of a Victorian classroom for £4,500”. It was put in 39½ Castle Street which had previously been used as the Museum store since 1970s. An advert for the school room appeared in the magazine entitled “Canes and Blackboards” and the schoolroom was opened to the public for two weeks in July. The advert explained that the schoolroom was “A reconstruction of a schoolroom of the 1890s depicting educational techniques of the time. Staff will interpret the exhibits and give an impression of schooldays at the end of Victoria’s reign.” The Victorian schoolroom had its first group of children on 10th October 2001. Details of a typical lesson are given in the December edition that year.
39½ Castle Street is a former confectionary works and has had several different uses over the years, although it was never used as a school. It now houses a recreated Victorian schoolroom and playroom which is the focus of the Heritage Service schools/ education programme. This is delivered through a hands-on learning experience. The offer has been operating from 39½ Castle Street for around twenty years
The playroom offer is for Key Stage 1 pupils and the schoolroom for Key Stage 2 pupils, with both sessions linking to the National Curriculum. The sessions run for 4.25 hours during term time (Monday and Wednesday) and have been designed by qualified teachers. The sessions include activities such as dressing up, learning Victorian rhymes and games, experiencing a Victorian lesson, follow up teachers packs and visits to other Heritage sites (Museum/ Castle) if requested. There is an established audience of schools who make repeat visits annually; the majority are from Guildford/ Surrey, with some schools from further afield.