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Miss Squire's Prospectus

The prime concern of this institution is the moral and spiritual welfare of all its scholars.

The school aims to inculcate the virtue of humility, a willing acceptance of the existing social hierarchy and the recognition of God’s divine wisdom in thus ordering our lives.

At the start of each day, school prayers and a suitable reading from Holy Scripture are followed by registration. The ensuing collection of ‘school pennies’ serves to pay for coal and lamp oil. Inspections of various aspects of the person is carried out in order to exemplify the precept that ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’. School clothing is provided for children of the deserving poor by our patron, Lady Harriet Eliza Neeld, who concerns herself most particularly with the well-being and progress of each pupil.

The school offers basic training in Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. A selection of approved readers are used. Spellings are chanted each morning. Proven competence in slate work is required before training in the use of the copybook and the dip-in-pen. Tables are learned by rote and mental arithmetic is practised daily. Pupils are familiarised with pounds, shillings and pence and imperial measurement.

Girls may be taught domestic or sewing skills in anticipation of the requirements for entry to domestic service or the blessed state of matrimony. Although boys are generally put to work on the land, some will be apprenticed to local craftsmen where their knowledge of geometric drawing can be of use. Those who have learned to write a neat hand occasionally find employment in a clerical capacity in Chippenham. This reflects the efficacy of frequent reminders that ‘Practice makes perfect’. On occasion the object lesson is taught and pupils may be given the opportunity to further their knowledge of history, geography or the natural sciences or to master the skills of drawing, painting or simple craftwork.

Exercise is provided by the bowling of hoops in a decorous fashion. Drill is performed each day both to improve the circulation of the blood and to foster habits of obedience. Strict rules of conduct are enforced at all times and no child is allowed to speak without first being spoken to by the teacher. Good posture is insisted upon and a courteous mode of address is demanded of all pupils both to their fellows and their superiors. Appropriate disciplinary measures will be taken to deal with those who do not conform to these requirements. Certificates and medals will be awarded to all those scholars who have attended faithfully, conducted themselves well and performed diligently at their lessons.