New school stories

Folk drawing

Taryn Earley, born 1970s

I started at Loudwater school in 1981 when I was 4 years old. On my first day my mum dressed me in a floral dress and pinafore and sent me off looking like I'd just left the little house on the prairie!

I could already read pretty well, but was given my first school reading book, (along with everyone else) called 'Look' which was very disappointing as it only had one word on each page- 'look'. After individually proving we could read this great work of literature, we were allowed to move on to 'Help' an equally challenging single word book!

Most of the time my school days ran fairly smoothly and I didn't really get into trouble. I remember only being told off three times: once for sliding across the classroom floor to clean up straw that had been dropped after a session of making houses for the three little pigs; a second time when I dared move on the playground after the whistle had been blown; and a third time when I chased a boy who had taken my hat and went outside the permitted playground boundaries. For this third offence, I was made to stand by 'the wall' for the rest of break! I felt totally humiliated!

I remember Mrs Fooks, Mr Bamber and Mr Barber (although I still don't know which is which!) and Mr Fox the headteacher. Mrs Fox, his wife, taught us French, I think!

I learnt to play the recorder, which I loved, although I've never had any musical talent, and would go to recorder group in Mrs Fooks' terrapin classroom at break time once a week.

I enjoyed the swimming lessons in the school pool, though not the getting out in the cold air! And enjoyed the sports days on the field which were proper competitive events with the promise of a rosette for the winners. Occasionally we were taken cross country running, which involved running down the disused railway track at the back of the school and behind the old Lintafoam factory and the Kingsmead Road houses, including my own.

The school at that time didn't have a uniform, although that didn't stop my mother creating her own for me to wear. One year it was a pinafore in a choice of navy or grey; and another a velvet jumper in a choice of blue or brown. However the year she made me wear either a green and white striped outfit or a red and white striped outfit was the height of the humiliation! I was called 'strawberry shortcake' or 'peppermint cream' for alternating weeks the whole year!

I left the school when I was 10 years old as we moved out of the area, but have fond memories of my first school and am still in touch on facebook with several of the friends I made on my first day.



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