School Life, Natasha Price, 1997

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HORATIA DURANT MEMORIAL PRIZE ESSAY COMPETITION 1997

SCHOOL LIFE

BY - NATASHA PRICE

SCHOOL LIFE - 1930 TO 1960

To start my project I thought it would be a good idea to interview a teacher who taught in the “Old Raglan School”, in the 1930's, 1940's 1950's to find out what school life was in the OLDEN-DAYS.

The teachers name is Mrs. Olwyn Haggett who lived in Chepstow Road for many years. Below are the contents of my interview. 1. How many teachers and pupils were at Raglan School?

There were three teachers and a head teacher (Master) who lived at “Tan-y-castell House” in Castle Street, in Raglan. There were approx. 80 pupils starting from four year olds up to fourteen year olds.

2. What subjects were taught? The three Rs, (Reading, Writing, Arithmatic) English, Geography, History, Nature and Needlework for the girls and Gardening for the boys.

3. School Dinners? There were no school dinners till after the war years, then there was a canteen that provided lunch, also in the morning break children were given one third of a pint of milk in dinky glass bottles.

4. Where did P.E. take place? There was no hall, P.E. Lessons were taken daily in the classroom in winter and in the playground in summer. During summer months they played cricket and Rounders in the Brooks farm field opposite the health centre. The children had great fun.

5. If Children were naughty what discipline took place? There was no caning children were never naughty they respected their teachers and all in authority. (I can't believe that children were never naughty).

6. Did you have music lessons? There was no piano,so we held jumble sales and with the proceeds we eventually acquired a second hand piano. We were delighted. The concerts were held in the Jeffreys Hall, which meant trudging through the village in bitter weather conditions for rehearsals.

7. Have you a funny or unusual story about school? I have many funny stories about school, too many to mention! One little boy (5 years) when asked to choose his favourite hymn, always chose the “BOXING hymn” as he called it, namely “Fight the the Good Fight”.

MRS. JENKINS THE CARETAKER During my interview with Mrs. Haggett, she told me that a lady called Mrs. Ellen Jenkins (Nellie) used to look after the fires and things at Raglan School. So off I went in search of Mrs. Jenkins, who lives opposite the infant school gates at Elms Cottage, who is 93 years old and is a wonderful character, she had five sons who attended Raglan School.

She has seen so many changes in the 70 plus years that has taken place in Chepstow Road. Mrs. Jenkins would be paid £2.00 a month. Every morning she would light three stoves, two in the old school and one in the parish room, which was used for the Infant School. She would have to collect sticks and use newspaper to get the “Tortoise Stoves” going then put coke on. Then every 2 hours the teachers would have to stoke up the fires to keep the heating going for the children to keep warm. In the winter the milk drinks were put around the stoves to stop the drinks from freezing. There was no central heating so things would freeze up.

The toilets were at the bottom of the play yard, they were children sized toilets, but even the teachers had to use them, and very often you would hear the children giggling, trying to look under or over the door. The school garden was enclosed by a brick wall, where the notice board is now. The boys would grow vegetable and fruit that were used in the school canteen. There was an apple tree, that pupils and teachers shared the fruit and there were many flowers where the Infant and Junior school are now.

I think Mrs. Jenkins has seen so many changes, but she has accepted it all very well and I think she is a very lovely lady

MY MUM AT RAGLAN SCHOOL Last but not least I decided to interview my mum. What her school days were like. She said they were the most wonderful days of her life and started to laugh (I know she was only joking). My Mum Caroline Price or Court as she was known then started Raglan School in 1965, her classroom was the parish room and there was a mixed age group in one classroom, so the older children looked after the younger ones. Mum said the first day she started school she walked through the door and was greeted by Miss Carre who all the children adored. The room seemed so big and filled with lots of toys. She was not worried when Mum said goodbye and could not wait to play with the children and toys.

Every lunch time the children used to walk across the yard to a cream coloured canteen for their dinner (this is where the playgroup is now). Mum's favourite lunch was the cheese and potato pie and she can remember at Christmas when the Christmas pudding was served, there would always be a sixpence in them, everyone was thrilled!

They loved playing a good game of rounders and the boys played cricket, they did not play netball until reaching the comprehensive. During the summer every Friday they used to go swimming at Abergavenny in the outdoor pool. Once a year the whole school went on their school trip, usually to Bristol Zoo. During Mum's time at Raglan school there were 3 teachers, Miss Carre, Mr. Whitney and Miss Morgan and the headmaster was Mr. Jones who was very very strict and the children were very frightened of him.

Raglan village started to grow, houses were being built below Caestory Avenue, Prince Charles Road, houses were built, so the school was becoming too small. So the children watched the new school being built. My Mum spent a couple of years there, then went to Monmouth Comprehensive. Soon it was discovered that the new school was too small and yet another had to be built.


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