Evacuation meant that many schools in evacuated areas had to shut. Once children started to move back to their homes provision had to be made to re-start the education process in that area. Even in areas deemed safer from bombing, head teachers were given precise instructions as to their responsibilities while bombing raids were a potential threat. Schools in the east of Sussex were in a curious position. The county was considered safe enough not to warrant the evacuation of children who lived within that county. It was also thought to be safe enough to receive evacuated children from London and its surrounding areas. Yet Luftwaffe fighter and bomber aircraft passed over the county daily during the Battle of Britain and the subsequent Blitz. East Grinstead in particular suffered large fatalities – including children – when the town was bombed.
In what was titled ‘Bulletin 32’, the Director of Education, J H Baines, sent a letter to all head teachers of schools in the east of Sussex. The letter also went to those head teachers who had accompanied their children from schools in Dartford, London County Council and Croydon to reception schools in Sussex.
“Re-opening of schools after Whitsun: Following upon the wireless announcements all local and visiting schools in the East Sussex Reception Area will re-open on May 14th, 1940. It is inevitable that some teachers who have left the area may be delayed in returning, but the staff available should ensure that work is commenced on the Tuesday morning.
Air raid precautions: General precautions – Head teachers will no doubt have heard that the government advice to the public with regard to the carrying of gas masks. They should now see that all children carry their gas masks to and from school each day. An inspection of the masks should be undertaken without delay, necessary adjustments attended to and defects and losses reported to the local ARP organiser.
Schools with shelter protection are reminded of the desirability of practice in speedy occupation of trenches and shelters. All stirrup pumps should be tested to see that they are in working order.
It is assumed that each school has made its own arrangements, as indicated in Bulletin No 10, for the carrying out of ARP and has appointed staff to deal with these matters and with the supervision of the children while using the shelters in cases where this protection is available. This applies to the arrangements made for the dispersal or otherwise for children attending supplementary accommodation.
Danger of articles dropped from aircraft: The attention of all children should be drawn to the danger of touching an article, which may have been dropped from enemy aircraft. Any article of this nature observed should be reported to the local police.”