In 1870 a law was passed which made it mandatory for all children in England aged between five and ten years old to attend school.

Children from rich families were usually taught at home by a governess and then the sons would go on to study at fee paying public schools.

When parents wanted all of their children out of sight and out of mind, girls were sent to fee paying schools which popped up all over the country.

Victorian schoolteachers were usually single women with no qualifications.

They were extremely strict, punishment was severe and the focus for lessons was reading, writing, arithmetic, and religion.

One such school was Summerlands in Honiton.

The first principals around 1880 were Jessie Ann Eastman and her younger sister Elizabeth Martha who both lived on the premises.

They were the daughters of Samuel Eastman who was an Independent Minister in New Windsor.

Their staff consisted of a French teacher, two English teachers/governesses, a cook, and a housemaid to care for 11 pupils.

The fees were nine guineas a term. The Mayor attended their annual entertainment at the Dolphin and distributed the school prizes.

Four years later they introduced a kindergarten class, and the prospectus promised a happy home, success in examinations and a Christian training 600 feet above sea level in a bracing and salubrious climate.

By 1891 Jessie had opened her own school in Wales and Elizabeth remained in Honiton.

She employed five governesses who specialised in teaching English and music, a cook, and a housemaid to look after her six pupils. Elizabeth died in February 1894 and the next principals were the Misses Grimbly.

These sisters offered home comforts, individual attention, moderate fees, good modern education, preparation for examinations, music, singing, dancing, drawing, painting, needlework Latin, French and German but by 1901 the teachers far outnumbered their one boarder.

In 1912 the Grimlys announced that they were opening a branch school in Colyton and both schools specialised in music, drilling and Post Office exams. Mr L. H. Holden a conductor started a music appreciation at Summerlands.

At the end of 1934 Miss Barralett was the principal and pupils were awarded special prizes for mathematics, history, geography, French, Latin, music, elocution, and nature.

During the opening ceremony of the Glen in 1937 the children planted a copper beech tree. At the VE Day tea and concert in May 1945 the pupils performed dances under the supervision of Edith Tucker and Florence Webby.