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Newton Road Infant School
Extract From a booklet Produced in 2001 "Learning Now and Then", by NIACE

Fifty-one to a class
I attended Newton Road Infants School in Rushden from September 1954, moving to the Junior School there three years later. At five years of age I was so enthusiastically keen to learn, I soaked up knowledge like blotting paper.

It was not only the learning, but the routine and discipline of school life which helped us to have respect and understanding of our peers and elders. There were 51 pupils in our class, and we sat in the position of our examination places. First places sat at the back of the classroom which gave me an incentive to do extremely well in my examinations. Tables were learnt parrot fashion, as were many lessons.

Schooldays seemed carefree, until we reached the age for the 11+ exam. At the age of 11 years in 1960, I attended Wellingborough County High School. The school uniform was bottle green and white, which I felt proud to wear, complete with blazer and boater type hat. We travelled to school in fleets of United Counties buses. The school appeared huge to us first formers. There were excellent facilities for sport, tennis courts, hockey pitches and its own private swimming pool. We were all expected to learn to swim, and to obtain as many 'O' Levels and 'A' Levels as possible. The staff were excellent teachers.

The elderly biology teacher would leave on the blackboard the answers to our surprise tests from the previous class, and would then be so excited when we all obtained full marks.

I am unable to conclude my memories without reference to school dinners. Lumpy cold custard, lumpy mashed potatoes and gristly mince - all for one shilling per day.

Jennifer Tite

Extract from memories of the 1940s from Mollie Smith (nee Houghton)

I wanted to go to school and loved it. Children in Crabb Street would collect together to walk to school and others from Manton Road and Roberts Street would join in.

Miss Childs was the first teacher and I think we began to learn our letters in sand trays on the floor. We then progressed to slates and chalk. My very close old school friends cannot remember that so possibly my memory is not as good as I thought it was. Next I remember brown paper and chalks. I also remember being taught to use the abacus. We were made to drink orange juice and cod liver oil from recycled paste pots. Some children actually loved cod liver oil; I hated it. Also in the afternoon we had to lay on camp beds for a rest. Some children actually did go to sleep and had to be woken up. Sometimes the air raid siren would go and then it was out to the shelters.

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