School Days…

I have been invited to a school reunion.

Since leaving school over 20 years ago I haven’t seen any of my old school mates, except for a brew with a one once, and a couple of chance encounters when I’ve bumped into them while out n about, once literally.

When I say ‘mates’ I should point out that the majority of people I went to school with were not my mates at all – In fact I have very mixed feelings about my time in secondary school, there were some funny times, but on the whole I felt like I never quite fitted in and spent most of my time just trying to get through the day without drawing too much attention to myself .



I only had a small circle of real friends, finding the best way to get through school was to stay out of the way of the ‘cool’ kids whilst trying not to activate the nerd radar.

I did manage to make my way through school mostly unscathed but wasn’t as successful at dodging the nerds. This worked out pretty well though to be fair, many of my memories involve eating my packed lunch in a corner of the playground with a variety of weird and wonderful characters.


Me n my little sister

 Speaking to my parents about my time at school it became pretty obvious that education during the ‘swinging sixties’ was rather different to the experience I had, and miles apart from the school kids of today.

Those were the days of ‘proper education’ – Nitty Nora, Big gym knickers, smoking in class (teachers AND pupils, allegedly) as well as cross-country running with the last one to finish punished with the cane…Can you imagine the headlines today?

My mum speaks fondly of board-rubber throwing teachers and playing a friendly game of  ‘knuckles’ in the yard, things that would be totally alien to the bubble wrapped kids of today. There’s so much health and safety legislation around playtime that some schools have even banned conkers and football.


Nitty Nora, The Bug Explorer

Me, well I’m a 70s baby so I was at school during the nineties and things had changed dramatically by then.

We still had cross-country running and, although we weren’t encouraged by the threat of a cane, we did have the horror of communal showers when we reached the end.

I’m not sporty, not even a little bit and found the whole PE experience a total nightmare. I’ve never been any good at things that require hand/eye co-ordination so I really struggled to hit/catch/throw a ball, meaning I was always one of the last to be picked for a team. Not so good for your self-esteem when you’re 13.

 images-6And what was the craic with communal bloody showers?

Basically, once we had finished whatever form of exercise they deemed fit that day, the whole class had to shower together – supervised by our allegedly female, yet very manly looking teacher.

She would literally stand on a bench in the changing room overlooking the shower and insist that at the ‘very least’ we each walked from one end of the shower to the other while holding your towel above your head.

As an adult I realise just how wrong this was on many levels – I don’t think I’ve ever been so embarrassed by anything else before or since. Think about it – when you’re a teenager the thought of your own mum walking in on you in the shower is enough to send you into a  total meltdown, let alone parading your naked body in front of 32 classmates n a teacher.

Eventually, some of us (ok – just me then) developed distraction techniques such as bringing an umbrella, rubber ducks, even armbands. To me it was better to make a joke out of the situation than anyone realise that actually I still wore a vest and had no sign of ever growing boobs.

On a brighter note, I do have fond memories of playing with the gas taps in the biology lab, sneaky cigarettes behind the bike shed and my first ever crush on a teacher who shall remain nameless.

Now I’m an adult and wear my vest with pride – incidentally I also shower alone these days, unless you can count an annoying 7-year-old who always seems to need something urgently as soon as I head for the bathroom.

I also have children of my own with the youngest three still at school.

My daughter is at secondary school herself and is about to turn 15. She’s far more sensible than I was at her age and I don’t have to worry about her smoking or having a questionable crush. Today teenagers are more health conscious – in fact they’re more likely to offer facts and figures about smoking related illness than ask you to buy cigs for them.

As for a crush, my daughter doesn’t have time for that, she’s far too busy practicing the drums with her band or reading some obscure yet amazing literature she’s researched on the Internet. As I said, today’s youth are clued up and, in my experience, it seems that they do learn from our mistakes – if we admit to them that is.

The youngest two are in junior school meaning that a vast chunk of the summer holidays were spent buying uniform, sourcing shoes, choosing bags, naming PE kits and other essential school paraphernalia.

I’m hoping that this year we will still be in possession of (most) these items come October, if last year is anything to go on it’s highly doubtful and I will be losing my shit about the kids losing their shit by Halloween.

My boys have both, on separate occasions, managed to lose a shoe on the school roof. Unbelievable, right? I’ve discovered that this is only possible with a loose shoelace, an amazingly good shot and some determination. I’ve also discovered that while the caretaker is not insured to retrieve shoes from the roof, the wind will blow them back down again eventually.

This September we’re full of good intent. The boys have promised to behave well and work hard. I’ve already set my alarm clock and taken a vow of punctuality – the disapproving looks from the teacher as I signed in late yet again on the last day of term has seen to that. No more ‘late walk of shame’ for me.

Uniform at the ready and school bags packed ready to go, the kids are sorted and I can relax, briefly. Won’t be long until Nativity season, along with letters home asking us to make some obscure costume requiring hours of searching the internet for the strangest of things – like the year school decided to perform a ‘contemporary nativity’ and we found ourselves making alien costumes while all the other (lucky) parents from neighbouring schools picked up a ready made shepherd outfits or Mary ensembles.

With that in mind I’m off to get a head start before they sell out of neon leggings and doody bopper thingys. Now, where did I put that tinsel?………

This was originally written for Within Magazine – September edition….;)


wellfield top A

AFTER many years of buying school uniform from the one and only stockist in Sale I am thrilled to finally have a choice of shop for the coming school year.

More than once in the past I have arrived at the ‘only school uniform shop in the village’ so to speak, to find that they did not even have the sizes I needed to kit the kids out, one year the sweatshirts didn’t arrive until after they had gone back to school…

Needless to say I have continued to go and spend an astonishing amount of money each and every year, as have countless other parents, as there was no alternative. Not any more.

A new shop has opened in Sale Centre and stocks school uniform with one slight difference…..the price.

Fusion X designs are situated at 22 Town Square, next to Grainger Games and have recently been approved by several schools in the area to stock their uniform.

They will be supplying uniform for the following schools:

  • Wellfield Infant and Junior Schools
  • Park Road Academy, Timperley
  • Sale High School
  • Sale Grammar School
  • Springfield Primary School
  • Tyntesfield Primary School
  • Woodheys Primary School
  • Brooklands Primary School

I became aware of the shop opening when I received an email via the school parent mail system pointing out that there was ‘another stockist’ whilst also reminding me that the previous stockist has been established for a long time and offered quality uniform.

This seemed a little one sided and so I decided to go and visit the new shop myself, to view their stock and see for myself if quality had been compromised to cut costs or not.

Fusion X designs is clearly well stocked with a full range of uniform, well presented and easy to get to. The staff were very friendly and happy to show me an example of their uniform, namely a Wellfield Junior School sweatshirt.

The sweatshirt is spot on. It’s good quality fabric, perfect colour and has the school emblem on the left hand side in gold embroidery. Placed side by side with a sweatshirt from the other stockist it is virtually impossible to tell them apart. They are identical…..except the price that is.

A trip to the older, more established school uniform stockist for a Wellfield Junior sweatshirt will set you back between £13 and £16 depending on size.

The same top purchased from the new, recently approved and eager to get established stockist will cost you £9.50, whatever the size.

The choice is yours guys, nice to finally have one……

For more details or prices for your school uniform call into the shop, call on 0161 8794857 or email



PARENTS were once again left feeling shocked and disappointed as it was revealed that Wellfield Junior School, of Dumber Lane, Sale is facing the possibility of becoming a forced academy.

Despite making positive improvements across all year groups in a very short space of time, John Tomlinson, acting head, was visibly saddened to share this latest blow with parents at a  meeting to discuss the impact of the recent Ofsted inspection that labeled Wellfield as inadequate.

Changes made already have included an adjustment to the school timetable, meaning the children now benefit from a short break mid afternoon, which Mr. Tomlinson says has had far reaching results already.

The teaching system has been tweaked with focus on much sharper lessons,  links have been developed with a local outstanding school and there is evidence of this paying off in the outstanding work being produced by the pupils.

But are the changes too little too late for Wellfield?

The fact that academy assessors have already been into the school is proof that the Government is flouting its own guidelines, which state that academy status should only be considered for schools with long histories of poor performance.

One parent pointed out, “What is the point of Ofsted giving a notice to improve if the school is not given the chance to implement the changes, it’s like they have already decided the outcome..”

Speaking to Rhonda Evans, founder of Academies and Lies, it would appear that the parent concerns are with good cause, Rhonda is campaigning for greater awareness of the right to fight in this situation, a situation seemingly growing by the day as more and more schools get caught in the net known as forced acadamisation.

Watch the official trailer for Academies and Lies, a short film made by Rhonda which uncovers some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding Academy status and what this really means for our children and their education.


Wellfield Junior School failing our children

Trafford school given inadequate status in Ofsted report

PARENTS were shocked and dismayed at the findings of the recent Ofsted report naming a Trafford primary school as inadequate and requiring significant improvement.

Wellfield junior school on Dumber Lane, Sale has been heavily criticised for inadequate teaching across several classes resulting in many pupils not reaching the expected levels for their age.

Wellfield Junior 1

Parents are now considering the impact these failings will have on their children, with some talking of removing them from the school.

One parent said ” I am devastated by the findings. My daughter wants to go to grammar school after Wellfield and now I’m worried she won’t pass the eleven plus.

“She has always enjoyed school before and has done really well,but this year she has had three teachers all ready and is starting to say she doesn’t want to go in. I don’t want to move her at this stage but want what is best for her education.”

The head teacher, Sandra Roberts went on sick leave shortly after the inspection and was unavailable for comment.

Deputy Head teacher, John Tomlinson has been acting Head since October and is very optimistic about the future of Wellfield Junior school.
Mr.Tomlinson has an open door policy for parents wishing to discuss their concerns and said that whilst he felt some of the report was a little harsh there were other aspects of the findings that had to be taken on the chin.
He also said that the staff had been upset by the report but felt that they are a strong team with some fantastic teachers offering a variety of skills between them.
Named as an outstanding teacher in the report, Mr.Tomlinson said he is committed to Wellfield and is hoping to reassure parents that concerns will be dealt with swiftly.
The report also mentions some of the many strengths that Wellfield Junior School has, including rising attainment levels in English and mathematics as well as good attendance and polite,friendly and respectful pupils.
A more detailed plan of action following the report will be sent home with the children this week, including information about classes that are to be offered to those wanting to sit the eleven plus exam next year.
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