diary · family · Kids · memoir · Parenting · School

Nan’s Diary: Starting school

As we hit September, I have one child returning to school and one just about to start, meaning both boys will have moved on from those early years at home with me. With such a big adjustment looming for us all, I thought it was a good time to look back at this stage in my Nan’s life, when she had just moved to Bexhill, to bring me down to earth. My favourite part is her description of Miss Reeve!

‘The education in primary schools changed in September 1956 and a new school (St. Peter and St. Paul) was built in Buckhurst Road in Bexhill for 7 to 11 year-olds and Philip would go there. The school in Barrack Road was the place we had to go to see the then headteacher – Miss Reeve – who was to be the head at the new school. Anyway, she proved to be a very formidable woman, with a broad Yorkshire accent, and one of the least attractive women I think I have met.

It was fixed that Philip would go to the new school and Neil would go to Chantry, which was being retained as the Infants’ Section (5 to 7 year-olds), which he attended until he too went to St. Peter and St. Paul the following year. Martin started at Chantry in 1957.

‘Miss Reeve proved to be a very formidable woman…one of the least attractive I think I have met.’

Philip duly started at St. Peter and St. Paul in September 1956 and with a long winding drive up to the school, I was going to take him in for the first day, but he said he wanted to go on his own. He didn’t know any other children or teachers, being new to the town, but he scorned my offer to accompany him in, saying that he had met Miss Reeve and would see her about where he was to go. I couldn’t believe my ears and, at the time, I felt I could never have done it. I can see him now walking up that long drive all on his own without a backward glance!

In complete contrast, Neil cried and carried on when going to a new school, so I went in with him for about three weeks altogether; I think the bus journey from the front in addition to going into a strange place was too much for him – he really didn’t settle until we got into the house in Millfield Rise and he just had to cross the road, more or less.’


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