|Memories of Rushden School by Jenny Comont|
Memories of Rushden School 1999 - 2006
We did CAT tests (Cognitive Ability Tests) for weeks to work out what set you should be in. They were things like finding the next shape or number in a sequence. I never saw any results but I was put in quite high sets so they must have been quite easy.
There was a Home - School Agreement that had to be signed by the student, the school and our parents when we started at the school, setting out what each party was supposed to do.
The student promised to:
The School promised to:
Parents/Guardians promised to:
We were given a Planner each year. It was like a diary and had space for our timetable, and pages where we could write down what homework we were given. Our parents and teachers were supposed to sign it each week but this didn't usually get done.
I had Mr King for maths in Years 7 - 11. He complained I never asked him any questions about the work but I knew what I was doing so I didn’t need to ask anything. I was entered for the Maths Challenge several years running. This was an external test with hard questions that was negatively marked - you lost marks for a wrong answer. I got certificates for 3 years at least and I did it in Year 11 too, but it was far too hard by then and only people like Amy Wainwright and Eric Crevell got anything in that one.
The school ran a scheme where you gained merits for doing your work well, making extra effort or good behaviour. These were added up and turned into Acorns and you could win things like book marks when you had enough Acorns. You also got certificates for winning certain numbers of Acorns.
You could also win the right to come in mufti rather than in school uniform, by getting 100% attendance during a whole half term.
In Technology we only had about 6 weeks or so with each teacher so we didn’t have much time to finish projects, or if you did, they were rushed and didn’t look very good. In Year 7 textiles, we made hand puppets. I made a mouse but I never got to take it home. Another year I made a fish cushion that went on display - I never got that back either. Other Technology subjects were resistant materials - that‘s wood and plastic, - graphics and food technology. I made mashed potato, vegetable soup and bread in Year 7. In Years 8 and 9 we watched an hour long video on sandwich making, then in groups of 4 we made cheese and salad sandwiches. Other things we made were little tortilla things, cakes, biscuits and scones.
In Graphics we had to design and colour in little boxes to sell pencils in but this was abandoned and we just had art as a separate subject where we drew things. We had to draw optical illusions, work our initials into a picture and do drawings without looking at the paper and without taking the pencil off the paper. We had Mr Fox for Technology for a while in Year 7 and we made little trebuchets out of bits of wood and elastic bands. At the end lots of pieces of wood got fired up at the ceiling where they got stuck. Another time we had to take in an old shoe to make a creature out of. I made a dog’s head but I threw it away on the way home because it was so bad.
In PE I spent five solid years playing netball, rounders and basket ball. Occasionally we played table tennis if there was an unsquashed ball. Sometimes we played quick cricket where you had to run even if you didn’t hit the ball. If you were supposed to be having an outside PE lesson, you had to be outside unless the temperature was actually a minus figure. We had a Sports Day each year in the summer where each form competed against the rest and I always had to be in the girls' rounders team. I got to be quite good eventually and scored several rounders. The boys played football instead of rounders. There were races too at the Sports Day but I was never good enough to be in any of them
I started French in Year 7 when I had a nice teacher so it was alright, but then I had a different one who only took notice of super clever people or disruptive ones. I was neither of these so I sat in a corner and didn’t do anything. I changed to doing German instead but it got a bit confusing because there were two classes and the teacher forgot what she’d taught to each one.
We had lessons in Year 7 on study skills and library skills. One week several of us were pulled out of a study skills lesson and sent to the library where the librarian wanted to know why we hadn’t used the library much and didn’t read books. I told her I went to the town library every week and read lots of books from there. She asked what I was reading at the time so I told her The Horse Whisperer. She didn't have anything to say to that.
At lunchtimes we were locked out of the building. We were meant to have different wet areas for each year group where we could go when it rained but sometimes they locked the doors so you couldn’t get to your area if they thought it wasn’t raining hard enough. The head teacher used to wander about with a big umbrella telling people it wasn’t wet enough to go to wet areas.
The canteen wasn't big enough for the whole school to go in to eat lunch at the same time so the headteacher used to stand at the door of the canteen letting people go in in turn. When I was in Year 10, he let Years 7, 8 and 11 in first and the other years had to queue. After Christmas they changed it so Years 7, 8 and 9 went in first which meant that us Year 10’s had to queue for the whole year to be allowed to go in and eat our packed lunches.
We had some good teachers in Year 11. We had Mr Foster for science for half the year. He was the best science teacher in the school because he knew about everything. He was a chemistry teacher but knew about physics and biology as well. Miss Sellars was a good history teacher but she had a habit of talking all through the lessons and then making us do the work we should have done in class for homework.She said I had a little smile that made her think I knew lots so she kept asking me questions in class. I had Miss Shepherd for English in Year 10 and we watched all of Pride and Prejudice on video. It took us months to see it all. We had to do a spoken exam on it at the end of the year and to fit us all in, some of us had to stay behind after school to do it. She brought in a box of chocolates and after the exam was over we all sat round eating chocolates and talking.
The school put on drama productions most years. I was never in any of them but some of my friends were so I used to go and watch them.
When we started our GCSE Technology we were doing GNVQ’s but after a short while they asked us to write down one choice out of food, graphics, resistant materials or textiles. They told us it didn’t matter which, and it wasn’t important, but then they put us into the group that we had picked and told us we were doing a GCSE not a GNVQ. Luckily, I had put down food which was what I had been doing the GNVQ in before so it wasn’t too difficult to change but some of my friends had to change subject.
I went on trips to Verulanium for History and to Hunstanton to look at sea defences for Geography. At Verulanium we saw a mosaic in a shed, a wall in a field, and a museum. At Hunstanton we looked at cliffs and sea defences, and asked people questions about what they thought of the different types of sea defences and how effective they were.
I did GCSE’s in Science, which was a double award, English, Geography, History, Maths, English, German and Food Technology. There were lots of modular exams for science all through the 2 year course and masses of coursework for all subjects. I was very pleased when I finished all the exams and even more pleased when I got my results and they were better than I had expected them to be.