I started at Cotteridge School in 1985 and was in Mrs Green’s class. Mr Minchin was the headmaster and Mr Callaghan was the deputy who used to tell very long stories in assembly and play his guitar. I liked reception since we got to play with the lego and toys in the afternoon, but in the morning we read Ginn books like “Look”.

I don’t think we had a computer when I was in 1I or 3I (with Miss Edwards) but by the time I was in 6I with Mrs Jenkins in the Annexe we had got a little Spectrum that played games like Postman Pat and Tablesums. We also got to use the electric typewriter to write stories to put on the display boards in the classroom.

All through infants we learnt a lot of maths, reading and writing (Mrs Roe used to come and teach us joined-up handwriting), but still got to play with technic lego, capsella and other strange toys that you don’t see nowadays. We didn’t use calculators much but did get dictionaries.

We had a play house in reception but not in any other years. We had squash and biscuits every day – one custard cream or two plain biscuits – just before morning playtime.

Round about now strange things started happening to the school – the air raid shelter was knocked down (making a lot of noise and stopping Mr Minchin from doing assembly), as were the old outside toilets. We all helped create the new gardens which replaced them and watched the builders from the playground though the dinnerladies like Mrs Milner kept us from getting too close.

They also moved the staffroom to by the library and turned the classroom by the hall into a classroom again rather than a storeroom. The classrooms were painted in strange colours like murky brown and dark green and looked very 1970s, but they did start to paint them – including the hall, which turned pink one holiday.

In juniors, I was moved to the other class in my year for some reason, so was taught by Mrs Wase in Class 2. She was a very good teacher and we did mental arithmetic tests every morning. We also used to get a “good” or “very good” if we did impressed her and then she added up who had received the most in the week and gave them a prize. Her classroom had a posh computer which did more than a Spectrum and had a disk drive rather than a tape recorder.

But, one day we came back from dinnertime and found that Mrs Wase had gone to hospital because she had hurt her leg in some way, which meant we had a lot of supply teachers for the rest of the year.

We got Mrs Wase again the next year in Class 4 to make up for it, and we did all sorts of new things like going swimming at Linden Road, going to a place called Woodlands where we did assault courses, canoeing and archery. I was not very good at any of them, but it was a nice few days away.

About this time we got lots of new things in the school – loads of filing cabinets arrived along with the new National Curriculum folders which every teacher got. And we had new Nimbus computers and printers in every classroom which meant that we could play new games like Trains and something to do with castles, or print our writing using Minnie.

The next year I was in 5F with Mr Fletcher in the main school upstairs. He liked art and music and we used to make lots of things out of wood, especially after we went on a trip round a furniture factory. He also had loads of motorised lego that could be controlled by a little computer, which was good fun. Around this time I did my cycling proficiency course at the Patrick Collection and learnt how to cycle safely.

I was also briefly in the school cricket and rounders teams, but we weren’t very good, though we did win a medal in a tournament at Strikers Indoor Cricket Centre on Lifford Lane. At cricket practice after school Mr Minchin could hit balls into the flats on Breedon Road but we could only manage to get them a few feet.

In year six I was taught by Mrs Burton, who gave us stars of various colours for good work or behaviour. Gold was the best, followed by silver and then red, blue and green. When you got a star, you had to stick it over your name on the wall and the person with the most got a mystery prize.

We also got to go to Bell Heath – a field study centre near Worcester where we learnt about geography and history. I remember going into Worcester and looking round the shops, and walking across a rubbish tip. It was a lot of work rather than a holiday! Year six children got to be something called playleaders, which meant playing with the little infants in their playground. This was always fun, especially if you were no good at football which the juniors played. Towards the end of Year 6 we had to chose a new school, and we finally left for them in 1992.

2 Responses to “The eighties”

  • Tom Watkins:

    Your memories of cotteridge school were similar to mine. I also remember Mrs Wase sitting at her desk after lunch telling us she had to go because she hurt herself and couldn’t walk.
    I remember her husband Dr Wase teaching us how to use the computer. I remember it had a light pen. I can also remember the air raid shelters coming down.
    I left half way through the second year that Mrs Wase taught us. I can remember a few names of the other class mates.
    Thank you for sharing this. It was nice to read.

  • Daniel Jones:

    I remember all of this… so many good memories! Mrs Burton’s star chart was legendary. I also remember when all the boys and all the girls had separate assemblies because some children had been wetting tissue and throwing it up on the ceiling of the boys’ toilets. So all of us boys had to go to a scary assembly while the girls went to sing songs in the annexe wth Mrs Matthews.
    I used to love all the Christmas decorations lining the hall each year and the responsibility of sorting out the Christmas post! I also remember being a corridor monitor but I’m not quite sure what the job was… I have a vague recollection of it being something to do with stopping the infants walking through the corridor?
    I remember the assemblies Rev Blood used to do and being in charge of the overhead projector with the song lyrics. There was one time I think me and Hayley Summers were doing it but we couldn’t manage to get the words the right way round or the right way up and were really embarrassed!
    Mrs Dutton in the nursery, who could solve any problem however small. Mrs Edwards who used to play the piano before she left and Mrs Burton took over… both managed to inspire me with a lifelong love of playing.
    I could probably write a whole book of similar memories, I loved my time there.

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