Sarah Eccleston (Bayfield), 1970s

St. Kenelm's C.E. Primary School, Romsley
Centenary Celebrations
1915 – 2015

Memories of Mrs Sarah Eccleston (nee Bayfield)
Pupil/Parent/Nursery Manager - 1970s onwards


The school seemed a lot smaller when I was there. I started in Mrs Hutchinson's class. We didn't wear uniform for the whole time I was there and there was at least a two, if not three term, entry. I remember a child being brought in by their mum screaming and trying to back out and I was a bit bemused by it! We were in the huts at the back of the school where nursery now is. I think it was Mrs Hutchinson and Mrs Twigg in there. The cloakroom for our coats was in between the two classrooms.

I can't remember which class they were in but I know children used to bring the teachers' coffee down to them. Mrs Hutchison once said that the teachers used to watch them and how the tea/coffee would slop over into the saucer & the child would stop & pour it back in!

Mr Ruddick was head. There were school meals, which always stank of cauliflower! As a fussy eater I used to go home for lunch but had to stay one day because mum was having a day out (how very dare she!). Mr Ruddick sat me on his lap and force fed me cauliflower! They were allowed to do that kind of thing in those days!

If I remember correctly every September we were gathered in the hall on the first day back to be told whose class we would be in. I had Mrs Hutchinson as my teacher for three years running. In fact I only ever had two teachers there – Mrs Hutchinson and Mr Carter. Can you imagine that now! I loved them both. There was, of course, the lovely Mrs Powell, who was always so jolly and I'd have loved a go in her class. Gill Tandy was the secretary; she was wonderful. Mr Patience taught top end of the school and we were all frightened of him because he was anything but patient and used to shout a lot!

It seemed to be a school serving the village then. Amazingly there can't have been room for many, if any, out-of-area children at all despite the use of a couple of mobile classrooms.

It was during my time there that the boundaries changed and we moved to Worcestershire & the 3 tier system (First, Middle and Secondary schools) This school took children from 5 to 9 years and so had to lose two or three teachers. I can't quite remember but I know Mr Patience and Mr Carter had to go. We were the first year to go to Hayley Middle School. A mini bus used to come for us!

I'm not exactly sure what year it was, maybe mid-seventies, but I seem to remember it being said later at one of their funerals, that Mr Ruddick and my mother, Margaret Bayfield, were the first head and playgroup leader to work together to put a pre-school playgroup into a school setting in Worcestershire. The playgroup moved from its previous home in the Church Hall into the present Year 1 classroom (albeit slightly smaller in those days) and we have several of the ex-members of staff here with us tonight. The playgroup remained in the school until the classroom was required for the increased numbers of children in the school followed shortly by the change back to Primary status (bringing two extra year groups – approximately 50 more children at the time).

At the end of every school day the teacher would read us a chapter or two from a book. My overriding memory is of Mr Carter reading us Oliver Twist and the horror when Bill Sykes killed Nancy and the dog! Isn't it funny what sticks! I also remember Mr Carter doing an experiment on sound and he sent probably four or five of us to spots across the playground, field and into the farmers field (so the hedge must have been much smaller, if there at all). He then blew a whistle and we had to raise our arm when we heard it. It was fascinating because it moved along like a Mexican wave. The power of practical teaching.

In the playground there were the bars, a row of three bars at different heights, with no safety flooring, just Tarmac. We learnt to somersault over them on our own with no adult supervision!

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