A Service of Celebration of 200 years of Church of England Schools took place in Caistor Parish Church attended by pupils of Grasby All Saints Church of England School and Caistor Church of England and Methodist School, and David Clements, Schools Advisor for the Diocese of Lincoln.
Following words of welcome by the Rev Canon Ian Robinson, a commemorative candle, lit in Lincoln Cathedral in February 2011 and which has since been spending time in each of the Church of England schools in the diocese, was carried by two members of staff from Grasby during the singing of the first hymn, This Little Light of Mine, with both school’s banners and brought to the altar.
A moving service of hymns, prayers, Bible readings, musical items and blessings by Pat Harris and Canon Judy McMann (Bishops Visitors to Caistor and Grasby Schools) took place before the candle was collected from the altar by two staff members from Caistor school.
The Christian churches were the first to provide mass education in England and Wales. The National Society, founded at a meeting on 16th October in 1811 aimed at providing schools for poor children.
The National Society was set up to raise money to build schools and to pay the teachers who taught basic skills and also to provide for the moral and spiritual welfare of the children by teaching them the ‘National Religion’- Christianity as represented in the Church of England and Wales.
The aim was to found a church school in every parish and by 1851, still 20 years before the state took any responsibility for education, there were 12,000 schools across England and Wales.