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Mears Ashby Endowed

Primary School

Mears Ashby primary school in the late 1950s

updated 8.3.08

 

Back row: Mrs Day, Robert Harris, Steven Smith, David Arch, Gregory Sandal, Stephen Bridges, Colin Lester, Richard Harris, Mrs Halliday

Middle row: Colin Habicher, Linda Smith, Angela Jaegar, Ann Simmons, Marian Woodward, Lindsay Topping, Annette Hunt, Diane Vickers, Graham Habicher

Front Row: Robert Habicher, Nicholas Topping, Christopher Haynes, Tim Desborough, Shelley Bruce, Beryl Bazeley, Diane Osbourne, Ian Bridges, Alun Perkins, Philip Lester, Michael Tebbitt

 

Taken in Summer 1959, this photograph was taken in the front garden of School House. Note the side view of Tinker Tree Cottages behind and the high stone wall on the other sideof North Street on the left.

The School had 2 teachers at the time, which was only permitted when the school roll exceeded 29. Mrs Grace E Day Headteacher, and Mrs Halliday, the infant teacher.

The 1950's saw a thriving village school, but at this time village schools were disadvantaged by their geography; large mixed ability classes, no control over the curriculum, the headteacher usually looked upon the acquisition of a headship in a village school a job for life and nobody ever questioned the teaching standards. Mrs Day however, was a thorough and caring teacher, but the fact that she normally had a class of up to 29 children, aged 4 - 11 with no help, meant that few passed the 11-plus. The catchment area of village schools in the 1950's was often mainly farm labourer's children, so the overall academic standard was not high.

Village school life in the 1950's was akin to being surrounded by a large extended family; the discipline was good and the young children often supervised by the older ones, no extra help at playtime so this was essential.

All schools were supplied with the one-third pint of milk per child and at this school the pupils could buy biscuits; rich tea or nice, at a halfpenny each or 3 for one penny to eat with the milk. No school meals in those days, in fact only the Habicher boys lived outside the village too far to walk home for lunch, so they brought a packed lunch.

In spite of the good family atmosphere, bullying was common, and indeed considered a natural part of school life, and the victims were encouraged to retaliate, unnecessarily perhaps as they were generally an lot smaller than the bully!

School outings were rare, but 1958 saw an outing to London, including a Thames boat ride, visit to Kew Gardens (although ths did not seem particularly relevant to primary school children!) and tea at St Albans. All parents were encouraged to come along of course, as this would have been a horrific day out for poor Mrs Day on her own.

The school was heated by a pot bellied coke boiler, with its accompanying pile of coke cordoned of in the corner of the playground, and the pupils strongly discouraged from using it as missives, tempting though it was. Little interaction was encouraged between parents and teacher, the PTA had not been invented, and parents did not, under normal circumstances, consider it necessary to intervene in school life.

11-plus examination. The pupils were selected for grammar school by 11-plus examination, but as the school was small, the examinations were external. In 1959, the first part was held at the next village, Sywell C of E School, those who 'passed' had to take another paper at the now closed Rock Street Primary, Wellingborough. The children that did pass the 11-plus went to Wellingborough High School (girls) or Wellingborough Grammar School (boys) or Wellingborough Technical School (mixed) for those with medium/technical ability. The pupils that 'failed' went to the John Lea Secondary Modern School, also in Wellingborough.

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