Tuesday, June 20, 2006

(Never going back to) my old school...

The title is from a Steely Dan track and I visited my first Primary for the first time in 38 years yesterday. I took David along, as I am keen to get him to grasp that we were all kids once. (It was a training day at his school, he wasn't bunking off..)

I had visions of my old school being much bigger that David's. In many ways it was, the classrooms were a more sensible size and it had corridors rather than "open plan" shortcuts. Some things looked disappointingly small though, particularly the stairwells leading to the upper classrooms. The playgrounds were generously sized and the fields delightfully shrubbed.

Schools put up a lot more work on display these days, the foyer was a riot of colour and an extensive display highlighted many productions of the last 30 years or so.

The hall felt about the same size, a smidge smaller than I thought but suitably lofty and well lit with lots of windows. The school is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, only two years older than me and it must have been still rather new when I started.

We didn't see too many kids, they were hard at work in a couple of rooms we passed through although the music room was empty. This was the room where I had hid under the sand pit from Miss Thorpe (the Reception teacher) on my first day after the first few hours proved too much for me. Now it had keyboards and oil drums (of the carnival kind) although we did see a splendid reception area in the other building (which had been some sort of special school in my time).

A very friendly head teacher was very pleased to show us round and happily contrast then and now. One older member of staff was able to mention several teachers that I had forgotten about and we swapped some stories and recollections. I was mildly disappointed that the building was showing its age with talk of partial demolition & replacement within five years. It still had most of its Crittal style metal framed windows and French Window double doors from the sink rooms that linked pairs of downstairs classrooms. (The upstairs rooms had their sinks on the landing).

I had a very happy childhood at Stocksfield Avenue, it was a good school but probably not particularly remarkable.

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