Infant school was a very different place when I was small.
My first school was Park Road Infants. This seems to be the only building left standing of the schools I attended.
I’m trying to remember what it was like but it’s a long time ago now. I think I would have started school in 1958 and things were different then. You may also need to take my memories for what they are, just memories. I haven’t checked the accuracy of any of these. My parents are dead and I doubt there are any accessible records.
The school was infant only and had 2 classes per year (I think) and possibly a nursery class. My first teacher was Mrs Swan who had long beautiful auburn hair and I remember as being kind. I remember nothing of the lessons we had, though I still have a few of the books my parents kept. If I can track them down, I’ll include photographs.
I’m not going to try to make this chronological, more a stream of consciousness recollection. I’ll note things down as I remember them.
The school was essentially classrooms off a single corridor. The hall stuck out the other side and the headteacher’s room was in the middle.
This is from memory
And this is the school now
Teachers I remember
Rec Mrs Swan
Yr 1 Mrs Gelder, Mrs Batty
Yr 2 Mrs Seagrave
Head Miss Fletcher
- No uniform. I don’t know of any primary schools that had uniform then.
- The school day was generally 9am to 4pm with 1½ hours for dinner. Lots of children went home for this.
- We had to put our heads down on our arms on the desk after dinner for a while
- We sat in rows. At desks. I can’t remember what we kept in the desks. I don’t remember playing. Except at playtime.
- We were given halibut oil capsules to take with our milk. They tasted vile
- We had a maypole & learned dances like these. It had red, blue, yellow & green ribbons. Boys held blue or green, girls held red or yellow.
- We had a May Queen, though I only remember this in the first year I was there. I have a photo somewhere I’ll dig it out.
- There were cupboards at the back of the hall with things to play with. I think we only got them out for wet play which was in the hall (maybe). These included wooden stilts like these or others made from Golden Syrup tins with strings through, hula hoops etc.
- I seemed to spend a lot of time in year 1 standing behind the blackboard as a punishment for something (I really can’t remember the details but I think it was to do with disagreements with another child)
- The year 2 teacher took a slightly different approach & punished the other child too. I remember being very pleased about this – I suspect, though again cannot actually remember & I’m basing my conclusions on what happened when I was older – I was asked if I hit her & I would have said “yes”. She was asked the same & said “no”. My downfalls over the years have often been because of my ridiculous level of honesty.
- We learned to read with Janet & John books – no idea if it was phonics. I just learned.
- We did an infant nativity. I was Mary. I had to sing a solo. I remember the headdress being hot, itchy and uncomfortable. I kept taking it off then putting it back on again so I’d look like Mary. I cannot remember the song. At all.
- And at the end of three years, they sent home a report.
I feel it is important to note that I actually only got one question wrong in Maths (¼ mark) They docked me a whole point because I spelled my name wrong at the top of the paper – I was excited!!
That’s it by the way. That’s all my parents got to inform them of progress.
Is it better now? What was it like when you were in Infant School? Can you even remember?