Thursday 10 April 1986

…Did SMP. Did Ginn reading as well.
Did 800m running in Games today. I was flattered [sic].
Did some project.
Didn’t do Morris Dancing. I am out of the team…

A few things about my primary school.

1) It had outside toilets. In the winter they would freeze, and the school would shut. They were in a sort of brick-and-aluminum outhouse, with a shared entrance opening on to a row of shared sinks, beyond which was a door to the right for boys and one to the left for girls. There was a cubicle at the end of the boys’ section which was locked and which remained locked for the entire six-and-a-half years I went to the school. It was rumoured somebody lived inside. I hated these toilets.

2) The school had one computer. It was a BBC Micro, and only people in years five (which I was in) and six were allowed to use it, and only then in groups of four for 30 minutes at a time. Inevitably this meant three of the four would do nothing except watch. Inevitably this caused trouble. I loved this computer.

3) Games was done either in the tiny playground or on the council playing fields behind the council flats over the road, an area which bordered land owned and fiercely patrolled by the town’s grammar school. The grammar school pupils mostly hated us, and we mostly hated them. I completely hated Games.

4) There was a Morris Dancing fanatic on the teaching staff, and every summer term a monstrously-sized pole would be dusted down and erected in the playground, around which a bunch of us had to prance naively once a week in an attempt to show the Local Education Authority that our school was very much a part of the 80s*. There was a team, of which from today I was no longer a part, that competed occasionally against others in the county. I loathed Morris Dancing.

5) The school was just five minutes’ walk from the town leisure centre, which is where we were all forced to learn to swim. Lessons were 20p a week, a sum collected at registration every Monday in tiny brown envelopes with our names on. I can’t say I loved swimming, but looking back I’m mightily glad I was made to learn.

6) The school no longer exists. At least, not as a school. A couple of years after I left, the LEA merged it with another one in the town and built new premises for the newly-combined pupil population. My old school became a playgroup, or possibly a daycare centre, and then something else, and then, well, I don’t know. I hope they tore the toilets down. Though not before checking with the person who lived in the end cubicle.

*The 1480s, presumably.

One thought on “Thursday 10 April 1986

  1. I remember that at a school I went to for a while, they were obsessed with maypole dancing! It was like the same with you… “Let’s do something worthy…” said the local education authority…

    Let’s not, eh?

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