Can anyone remember having to wrap your exercise books in wallpaper at home? It was a bizarre practice, which resulted in many of us using plain white ‘woodchip,’ while others got nice waterproof covers by using sticky back plastic.
Just when all of us had finally got our heads around pounds, shillings and pence – on 15th February 1971 they decided to change the British monetary system! I never understood how a 1/2p piece wasn’t the same value as a ha’penny.
Each child was allocated a ‘colour’ as soon as they attended Pot Kiln. Red, blue, green or yellow. (I was blue). It didn’t matter which class you were in, you were all given different colours. Each time you did something good you were awarded a ‘credit’. In reality it was a small coloured rectangular piece of card, which you’d then post into one of the wooden boxes in the hallway.
Each week, at assembly, the headmaster would read out the colour with the highest number of credits obtained during the previous week. It was all very competitive and I was always thrilled when ‘blue’ had won.
It would never have occurred to any of the children to acquire a piece of coloured card and cut it into rectangles to ensure that their colour won….
I remember getting my name in a merit book (an honour indeed) for a piece of creative writing called “Granny Wallen’s Kitchen” (I have no idea why I chose that name!) I also remember having a picture hung up in Gainsborough House… it was a collage, made of scraps of material, and it was a bride!
Those were the days when you used to get little bottles of milk delivered, one for each child at the school. The crates were left in the playground, and in winter the bottle tops would be pushed right up with ice! In summer, by mid-morning break the milk would be practically off. Also, many of the foil tops would be full of holes where the birds had pecked at them (gross). We used to wash and keep the foil bottle tops for art classes, where we’d smother them in Copydex and inflict our sticky offerings upon unsuspecting parents at home time.
I recall there were a few children who had drinks of orange instead. I have no idea why they were the ‘chosen ones’. Maybe their mum’s wrote a note saying they were too delicate for dairy?!
As I lived fairly near to the school I often went home for dinner, so I have only vague recollections of dinners at Pot Kiln School. I believe we had large metal water jugs on each table, and we possibly used plastic plates. However, I do recall that the dinner ladies who looked after us kiddies outdoors during our lunch break were particularly nice to us. One dinner lady gave me a small metal tin and a necklace (I have no idea why, other than kindness).
If, like me, you had a brother or sister at the school, photos were taken of both of you together. Inevitably, when you eventually got the photographs to take home to your parents, one of you would look great while the other would have their eyes shut or have a daft look on their face.
I remember spending the vast majority of my time making stuff with coloured paper, cardboard, paint and glue. Paper mache on balloons, with bits of old cardboard egg boxes made fantastic (large) piggy banks when painted bright pink. However, it wasn’t easy making the coin slots in their backs when you were only ever allowed to use blunt scissors with rounded ends.
I made a picture of a bride on some black paper, using bits of fabric. My creation was subsequently displayed in Gainsborough House!
Sewing classes consisted of large blunt needles, thick coloured thread and stiff cream coloured squares of a cotton-like material, which had enormous holes in.
Often the glue was like wallpaper paste and we used little white plastic spatulas to spread great globules onto whatever we were making. Other times we used Copydex…..what a stink!!
Thankfully, sports day involved nothing more strenuous than walking along a short course with an egg balanced on a large spoon. Another ‘favourite’ was the three-legged race, where you’d get your leg tied at the ankle to another child's leg, and the pair of you would have to somehow run to the finish line. Slightly easier was the sack race, where each child stood in an itchy old sack and jumped the entire length of the course. I seem to also remember throwing coloured bean bags around, skipping ropes with no handles, and hula hoops (not the edible variety).
I remember the entrance gate at the bottom of the hill. To the left were some portakabins.
The caretakers bungalow was to the right, and behind it was a flat grassy area which I remember was used for sports days.
Walking on the path up the hill, to the left was the playground, with a small metal climbing frame and the ‘notorious’ tunnel. It was on these grassy fields that we played such innocent childhood games as ‘oranges and lemons’ and ‘farmer wants a wife’. Further up the hill, behind the playground, up another slope were the netball courts. Further still was the swimming pool, enclosed in a short wooden fence.
To the right of the path was a road and at the top of the hill was the tarmac playground, with hopscotch grids marked out in white paint.
There was a large concrete tunnel, covered with a grassy, soil mound, and if you ran towards the tunnel and mis-judged it, you could give yourself a hideous crack on the head! There was also a large climbing frame made of what seemed to be metal scaffold poles (such things would never be allowed today).
The hand held bell was something of a trophy, because each break-time some lucky child was chosen to stand on top of the tunnel and ring it.
I don’t recall the names of many male teachers, but back in the 1960′s I don’t suppose that many men chose Primary School Teacher as a career.
However, I do recall that there was at least one male teacher. I have no idea of his name or what he looked like. I just remember feeling embarrassed one day because he’d asked us all to draw pictures of mermaids. I assume it was a perfectly innocent request, although I still squirm at the thought of a class full of small children being asked to draw what was essentially topless ladies….