|Under the new scheme of the Charity Commissioners the school
moved forward on surer foundations. In the scheme It was laid down that
"There shall be once in every year an examination of the scholars by
an Examiner or Examiners appointed or approved for that purpose by the Governors",
and If the reports of the examiners are to be trusted, the school for several
years reached a creditable standard of academic achievement and conduct.
The most well known of the external examiners was the Revd. R. Gifford Wood
M.A. who was school Examiner from 1887 until 1925.
In 1883, Mr. W. Peacock became the new Headmaster, and in 1884 eleven boys sat the College of Preceptors Examination and of these ten passed. In his report of 1885, the Examiner, Mr. C.R. Hodgson, commented, "There is appreciable progress since the last examination. The work which was goad then has at least maintained its character now, while some defects referred to in the report of 1884 have received careful attention and for the most part have disappeared or all but disappeared now. This School is doing excellent work and under the able Management of the Governors with its capable masters and excellent buildings ought to be full to overflowing. Here, as elsewhere the prevailing depression in trade and Agriculture makes it difficult to maintain and almost Increase impossible to increase the numbers".
The Revd. Gifford Wood seemed well satisfied with what he discovered in 1837."I venture to express my opinion that 'the work of the school as a whole is good, and in some subjects exceptionally good, giving evidence of careful reception of careful teaching, and that the Masters may be congratulated not only an the soundness and thoroughness of the results, but on the real good work they are evidently doing in the cause of education". In 1889, a similarly glowing report was made.
Though the Examiners continued to give such favourable reports of the school, a passing comment in a Directory published in 1890 that the school was "Once a place of some repute as an educational establishment'' gives rise to some doubt about the reliability of the persistently flattering words of Examiners.
Meanwhile, there were changes in the fabric and curriculum the school. In 1887, the present school clock was erected at a cost of £40 Two years later, it is interesting to note that Upper School was used during the winter months by the Vicar of Bolton On Swale as a Sunday School.
In 1890, the premises were described as fitted up with "every requisite for scholastic purposes, and the curriculum is comprehensive and thoroughly adapted to modern requirements". In 1891,Technical Agriculture was introduced, in 1894 Drawing became a general subject, and Chemistry was introduced by the new Headmaster Mr. F. Swanston, in 1896.
By 1890 boarding fees had been raised to £31 a year, and those of day scholars were £5. Five free scholars were also maintained. When Mr. Swanston became Headmaster in 1896, his salary was £80 a year.
So there came the end of a century during which the school had flourished,
declined and flourished yet again It