My Day at Barn­wood Park

Gloucestershire Echo - - REMEMBRANCE 2018 -

8.15am Break­fast: The school opens early so pupils can ac­tu­ally sit down to a cooked break­fast.

8.30am Uni­form: There’s no sign of the pel­mets that passed for skirts in the early 1970s. Mrs Tufnell has made it quite clear she ex­pects a re­spectable dis­tance be­tween hem­lines and ties have to knot­ted at the neck, not the chest. My uni­form passes muster but I hand in a note ex­cus­ing me from PE – you can’t put some­one three years off a bus pass into gym knick­ers with­out fright­en­ing the kids half to death.

8.50am Maths: In­stead of 42 kids sit­ting in rows lis­ten­ing to Mrs Mckay drone on, she has us work­ing to­gether in groups us­ing dif­fer­ent colour shapes in a tray to make equa­tions. Thank good­ness I’m sit­ting next to Will who seems to know what to do.

9.40am Science: Miss God­ding is demon­straing how to make red, yel­low and blue power balls so we can mea­sure the height of each bounce and test if the amount of chem­i­cal added to slime makes a dif­fer­ence.

10.30am Break: Pupils often use the 20 minute break to eat tubs of potato wedges so they can en­joy lunchtime clubs with­out go­ing hun­gry. Cake is be­ing sold in a cor­ri­dor to raise money for char­ity.

10.50am Drama: Miss Knight tells me we will be learn­ing about Com­me­dia Dell’arte – not a type of milky cof­fee but a style of comic drama that orig­i­nated in Italy.

11.10am Mu­sic: Mr Pugh clearly doesn’t know about the cu­ri­ous in­ci­dent of the cat in the choir be­cause he in­vites me to join a singing les­son.

11.25am Dance: As some­one with the abil­ity to make Theresa May look like a cross be­tween Darcey Bus­sel and Shakira, I’m start­ing to wish I hadn’t asked for that note about PE. You don’t need rhythm for net­ball, run­ning and jump­ing.

11.40am English: It’s English so the pres­sure’s on. The pupils start by read­ing to them­selves. I don’t have a book so I share Ri­ley’s David Walliams’ tome which takes me straight back to the days when ev­ery­thing pro­vided by the school was “one be­tween two”.

12.30pm Lunch: The can­teen is all cash­less fin­ger recog­ni­tion which means the kids can’t use their din­ner money at the near­est chip­pie. There’s a ca­reers fair in the hall and for­mer pupils have come back look­ing all grown up in their new sixth form uni­forms.

1.15pm Per­sonal and So­cial De­vel­op­ment: I’ve read that there’s no hold’s barred in to­day’s PSD lessons so I am re­lieved when Mrs Biles an­nounces we are learn­ing about water safety. It is all a far cry from Lonely Water, the men­ac­ing pub­lic in­for­ma­tion film voiced by Don­ald Plea­sance.

2.05pm Fu­tures: Mrs Foster, head of Year 7, needs to make sure pupils re­turn from half term know­ing the most im­por­tant piece of in­for­ma­tion in se­condary ed­u­ca­tion 2018. Their com­puter pass­word.

2.55pm LRT: As some­one too old for HRT I still can’t tell you what LRT stands for, but I can take a punt on it be­ing what we called re­vi­sion. Hav­ing nearly been dobbed in for chew­ing gum, I fi­nally re­alise my 1970s school days were not in vain – thanks to ac­com­mo­da­tion I get 15 out of 15 in the spell­ing test.

3.15pm Home time: I’m too ex­hausted for any af­ter school ac­tiv­i­ties.

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