Starting School

This autumn my eldest child starts school, and like every mother I am thinking, "I can't believe that my baby is going to school!"

I have two memories of starting school. I began in January 1971, and just before Christmas I went in for an afternoon, to the School Christmas Party. I was given a party hat that was too big and kept slipping over my eyes, and was put in the school hall with the whole rest of the school. They played party games and I was totally bewildered, having never been to a playgroup or nursery, or even played with more than one or two other children.

On my first proper day at school I was given a piece of card with my name written on it, and a piece of tracing paper and told to trace my name. I remember thinking "This is stupid I can write my name."

If you have any memories of starting school that you would like to share, please Contact Us and we could include them here. Here is a selection of other people's memories, old and young.

Phoebe, started school 2003
"I was really excited and I liked my teacher. I liked playing with the sand best of all."

Mary, started school 1943
"I started school in Scotland in August 1943. We only went in the mornings because all the male teachers were in the forces and the juniors had to go in the afternoons when they were taught by the remaining female teachers. The toilets were at the other side of the playground and one of my clearest memories is of the little pools under half a dozen chairs every day at home-time.

We sat in individual desks in rows facing forwards and never got out of our chairs except to go out to play or to go home. The walls were all dark wood and at Halloween the teacher pinned up a picture of a pumpkin with eyes, nose and mouth cut out. As far as I remember this was the only picture ever on the walls.

We learned to write letters on a slate with chalk and then we wrote words in pencil on tiny pieces of paper, 3" x 3½" and drew on the other side of the paper. According to my mother, on the first day I refused to go home and made an exhibition of myself, until she promised that I could go again the next day.

I left that school at Christmas and returned to the south of England, where I started all over again. I found that I was a long way ahead of the other children in my new class, though I had not been able to read, write or recognise numbers before I went to school."

Joshua, started school 2002
"I was excited and a little scared, because I wasn't sure what was going to happen, but it was fine once I got there, and I liked my teacher."

Neal, started school 1972
"I can't remember starting School."

Alex, started school 1972
"I clearly remember my first day at school, over 30 years ago. I remember going into the school hall, (which was frighteningly big) and being given a badge with my name on it. Children who were staying for school lunches had a gold star on their badge. Children who were bringing packed lunches had a coloured star on theirs, but I lived very close to the school and was going home for lunch, so I didn't get a star. I remember wondering what I had done wrong, not to be given a star like everyone else."

Alan, started school 1966
"It sucks."

Events in June 2021