Memories of Kingsclere Secondary School

Memories of a former teacher at the school

Assemblies - these were held in the village hall (Albert Hall). Pupils would arrive at school and then be walked in crocodile fashion to the hall. Pupils from neighbouring villages, who were brought to school by coach, were taken directly to the hall. Each day a designated member of staff would be "on duty" at the hall to receive the pupils. After assembly the pupils would walk back to school. crossing the main A339 was always "interesting".

PE Lessons - as the school had no gymnasium, all indoor PE lessons were taken in the village hall. this necessitated crossing the busy A339 yet again. The walk to and from the hall was not only time consuming, but could be rather unpleasant particularly when it was raining or snowing.

Games Lessons - in winter the boys played football on the Recreation Ground. This would necessitate crossing the A339 and walking past the slaughterhouse in Anchor Yard. The slaughterhouse was later demolished and house built in the Anchor Yard area. During the summer term we used the village cricket field and pupils walked to the ground via North Street and Love Lane

Lunch Time - during lunchtimes Mr Lewis, Mr Biddescombe and I would sometimes play football with the boys in the school playground.

School Lunches - these were eaten in the Domestic Science Room adjoining the school kitchen. In 1959 the staff had their lunches in Ted Dredge's classroom. This arrangement was changed sometime in the 1960's and members of staff joined the pupils in the DS room, with individual members of staff sitting with the pupils.

Football Posts & Pitches - when I joined the staff in 1959, I supplied the white paint and painted the goal posts. We received no help from the county ground staff regarding erection of goal posts, cutting of grass or marking the football pitch. Mr Biddescombe and I carried the goalposts from the school to the recreation Ground, dug the holes and erected the goalposts. Mr Smith the farm manager at Sainford Farm arranged for a hay cutter to cut the grass. To make the pitch more useable, I cut the grass to a more manageable length using the school's small hand rotary mower! The county ground staff always maintained that their grass cutting lorries could not be driven up to the Recreation Ground. We also received no help in measuring and pegging out the pitch. I did this with the help of some pupils. With a tape measure and length of rope in the ratios of 3:4:5 (pythagoras Theorem), we were able to peg out the pitch to within an accuracy of a few inches. The penalty areas were done in a similar way. Having pegged out the pitch I then marked the lines in creosote.

The Staff Caravan - until September 1961 there was no staff room at the school. Due to much hard work by the Governors, particularly Mrs Sandbach, a purpose built caravan was obtained. It was delivered just before the Autumn Term commenced. There was always a staff meeting on the day before the term started and I arrived at 9am. to be greeted by other bemused members of staff, Not only did we have a new staff room, but a TVS camera crew had turned up to record the event

Fire Drills - for obvious reasons these had to be held at regular intervals. Whenever we held a fire drill, the pupils and staff would gather in North Street and registers etc. checked. One morning when I was teaching in the room that backed onto the school boiler house, I thought I could smell some fumes from the boilers. However, it soon became apparent that the "fumes" were coming from the adjoining classroom, which was unoccupied. The room was the Needlework room and had been used by the girls before morning break. Unknown to anyone one of the girls had left an electric iron switched on. Furthermore, she had also left the hot plate of the iron resting against the wood paneling. On entering the room, I immediately switched off the iron and removed it from the smoldering wood paneling. There wasn't a fire extinguisher available so I quickly filled dome empty milk bottles (1/3 pint) with water from the adjacent cloakroom. I also sent a pupil to sound the fire alarm. The pupils and staff immediately vacated their rooms to assemble in North Street. As pupils passed the classroom they could see smoke coming from the open window. Mr Denley arrived on the scene just after I had doused the fire. However to my amazement his first comment was not about the fire and its possible cause, but "What are those milk bottles doing in this classroom?"

Whist Drives - in 1959 Mr Denley informed me that the school occasionally organised a Whist Drive to raise funds. Staff were expected to attend and if necessary to play. I was not a "card enthusiast" but attended the Whist Drive. I was duly called upon by Mr Denley "to make up a table". It soon became apparent that some people take Whist very seriously. In the course of the evening I received some withering looks and heard mumblings from behind the cards whenever I played an inappropriate card.

Hole in the Floor - one day the bell had been rung to indicate the end of lunchtime nd the pupils had filed into class. At that time I was using Room 2 and my pupils had come in and dutifully stood at their desks. I then invited them to sit down. As the children sat down one boy disappeared from sight. On investigation, the unfortunate lad's chair had gone through the wooden floor. Builders were summoned to investigate and assess damage and it was discovered that dry rot was the problem.In due course the floors in Rooms 1 and 2 were replaced.

Football Rota - I organised some boys to look after the footballs. I taught them how to inflate and lace the balls etc. As a result we always had plenty of footballs available for football skills practice. Whenever we had students from colleges for teaching practice they and their ;lecturers were always surprised that we had so many footballs available at one time

Ford Car BPE 17 - this was a 1934 "Y" Model Ford. It was my first car, purchased in 1961. a few years later I gave it to the school and it was kept behind the staff caravan. Some of the boys were interested in cars and on occasions we used to drive BPE 17 out onto the playground after school had finished. At least two boys learnt to drive the car in the school playground. When Kingsclere school closed in 1966 the car was taken to the Clere School at Burghclere.

Madrigal Group - Sometime in the 1960's Mr Graham Page joined the staff at Kingsclere. He taught music and his enthusiasm and hard work soon ensured that the subject became very respected by staff and pupils alike. Mr Page's enthusiasm knew no bounds and was infectious. As a result of this he started a Madrigal Group that included pupils and members of staff. I joined the group and never ceased to admire the effort and commitment of Mr Page. We would practice in his classroom at lunchtimes, Most members could not read music, but this did not deter Mt Page. He overcame this by spending many hours with each group until he was satisfied that the members were au-fait with the piece. It was a very enjoyable experience and continued when the staff and pupils moved to the Clere School.