I’ve been sorting out of some photos and found these old school photos of me. It occurred to me that it is 40 years exactly since I started school. I can’t remember the exact date (well it was a while ago!) as they did phased start then according to age. I’m an August birthday and remember going up those little steps to Miss Barbara’s class and everyone else already being there. Even then I felt the injustice of everyone else knowing what to do and knowing each other – The joys of an August birthday! It was a good time though, I still have friends that I see all the time from my school days. I got thinking though about how much school has changed in those 40 years.
We didn’t have a uniform at all in primary school. The photos show some of the outfits that I went in. Just as I was leaving there were rumours that they might think about introducing one. It certainly made the transition from primary to High school seem much more of a big thing though. All of a sudden, to be in uniform was very serious! As a mother, I now shudder at the thought of having to decide every day what to dress the kids in too.
We didn’t even eat our lunch on the school premises in those days. Our school canteen was about a 10/15 minute walk across a busy crossing and up a main road. Its amazing that we learnt anything the amount of time we must have lost travelling to and from the canteen!
Speaking of lunches, we had the dreaded School Dinner Inspectors. They probably only came in once a year but it felt much more often. It was a real gamble what was on the menu that day but we all knew that you were not allowed to leave a crumb on your plate if they were visiting. Force feeding at its best.
This is one that has only recently come back to me but I wonder when it was abolished. The girls and boys had separate playgrounds in our school and never the two should meet! The boys were allowed footballs but it was presumed that the girls wouldn’t be interested (Hmmm!). We played games like Hot Peas & Cold Onions & Tic. It was the 70’s – Bare with us!
There was no such thing as rubber matting and wooden climbing frames – It was concrete flooring all the way. Health & Safety was a mere blot on the horizon.
The School Dog
We had 2 Headteachers – One for Infants & one for juniors. We were in separate building so it made sense to us why. Our infant teacher brought her dog to school with her every day – A completely docile, black labrador who sat under her desk. I didn’t get to see much of the dog but knew it was always there – Suppose that means I wasn’t called into the Head’s office very often!
My Year 4 (2nd year Juniors) teacher smoked like a chimney – His pipe was legendary and he often puffed away during afternoon lessons. If you were called to sit on his knee during the afternoon, you knew your lungs were for it. Yes, lets gloss over the fact that we were to sit on our teacher’s knee. Thank God some things change.
Trampolining Centre? Soft Play area? Children’s entertainer? Nah, house parties all the way with your Mum as chief entertainer and the highlight being Pass the Parcel at the end. (Shock horror, not every layer had a sweet or prize in it either and newspaper was the only way to wrap the parcel)
When you were 6 it was dead easy to know what you were wearing for any parties – everyone just wore their First Communion Dress after they had made it during the May procession.
I could go on for hours now I’ve starting thinking… There were no such thing as SATS, Ofsted was unheard of & we certainly never heard about league tables. Back then, you just went to the school that you lived near. We would have been laughed at for moving to an area just for the school. The majority of us walked to school and back home (this was not always a good thing in the depths of winter!)
Of course, somethings don’t change. Kids starting High School are still required to back their exercise books (When will someone in B&Q realise that is what we all do with the wallpaper samples?) Assemblies are still the place for show & tell & the school nativity will always be the highlight of the academic year. What are your favourite school memories? How has school life changed since you went?