Their History
HISTORY OF A CHILD IN CARE
 

MY SCHOOL LIFE IN THE HOMES

Part Three - School

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Schools whilst I was at the NCH
May 1965
The annex was a school I settled into quite well; the school only had around fifty pupils, divided into two classes of both ''A'' and ''B'' forms for our first year of junior school at the age of eight.
There was a village type life for both the teachers and us. With little contact with the main school, both our lessons and appearance were slightly more relaxed than the main school demanded.
There was some teasing over the colour of my skin at this school, I was the only boy who had a dark complexion. Simply use to having such references made, unless they really annoyed me, I left them alone.
Sister always saw that we left the Home wearing clean smart clothes. It was often wondered how I was the only one who could return at the end of the day in such a state.
Our slightly cramped rooms and playground had some part to play, the school was located next to a main railway line, although most steam trains had now stopped and there was little smuts from their coal, the replacement diesel engines were perhaps even dirtier, often the engines came to a halt close to our school before approaching the nearby station, smuts from the diesels seemed to settle on most of the surfaces we could put our hands on.
A yard of building materials next to the school playground simply added to this with a layer of fine dust. If you were not a football addict the slope of the playground mattered little, possibly it was easier to fall over on it, but as I was quite used to minor damage to my knees and hands the slope never mattered. If our knees were always grubby it was down to playing marbles during most of our free time.
As we did not have any level part of the playground the traditional game of marbles could not be played, we had to evolve two games for our school. A flat level manhole cover enabled a football type game to take place, knocking your opponents marble into the hand hold cups on the metal lid won you the marble.
The other more daring game was played on a drain cover that had metal slats, if you played with standard size marbles everything was fine, use a marble that was a little undersize and it slipped through the grating and was lost forever, if an oversize marble was used it did not fit exactly onto the rungs and you lost it to your opponent due to your failed shot.
This game took courage, large numbers of marbles were often at stake, you could win or loose twenty marbles with a single shot. If you lost there was the possibility that you had no marbles left whatsoever, if there was cheating on higher bets it often ended in a fight when various onlookers either took your side or the opponent.

 

Fights

Most fights that I became involved with were never really violent, I was not the boxing type, with light build and long arms a wrestling type of fight was the norm, my biggest weakness was my nose, even the slightest knock and it would gush blood, often fights would end with my nose bleeding without and real damage being done to either of us. To the teachers that I was covered in blood and had also often managed to get blood on the person I was fighting with, made the fight appeared to be much more serious than it actually was. Other friends when fighting would never draw blood, if a teacher stopped one of their fights there was little to show what had happened. For my fights the matter needed to be sorted out with some form of punishment, if there was one result I was quite happy with over been punishment it was that my foe often received the same, sometimes even worse as it looked like he was the one in the wrong.
 
I was a nuisance to the teachers, it was often at the end of play when I would either have to have my knees bandaged up or extra paper towels found to soak up blood from my nose, the two full size cotton handkerchiefs I always carried were often not enough. None of us really did any major wrong doings, minor things were usually settle by standing in the corner or a couple of hits on the palm of your hand with the ruler, there was always the threat that the headmaster on his weekly visit would be able to deal with us if we became too out of hand. We always knew when there was to be real trouble as he arrived with the punishment book and the cane. If there was only one to deal with it was normally in the front office, if more than one, then the undercover area by our exit door to the playground gave us part of a view of the punishments.

 


School lunches at the annex differed slightly to those of the main school. Our food was brought to us in metal containers from the main school kitchens, each day they were told quite early on how many of us there would be for lunches, the exact numbers mattered very little as there was no real way of knowing what our exact preferences were to the choices of food that were on offer today. Large meat pies or jam sponges were cooked in standard size tray, there was no time spent working out exact number, it was simple to send us the complete tin. This had two results either there was just enough of an item we liked or there were over generous portions of an item we were not too keen on, the same amount of potatoes and vegetables were sent whatever our numbers.

The two of us from the Home had no problem ever with what was on offer, although I was never a massive eater we became used to seconds and even thirds for food that appealed to us.
Unlike the main school were an extra sponge or pastry pudding could easily be stored to give extra choice the following day, the food that came to the annex was either eaten by us or went in the pig bin. So within reason little attention was paid to exact portion size.
Milk at the morning break was also the same; there were those that did not like to drink milk, extra bottles due to those that were away and simply extra bottles added to complete a crate. A second bottle was normal on most mornings, at the end of the day if I judged there was time to spare often a third bottle of the day was available, it was not really greed it was just that if not drunk the milk would go to waste.
During my stay at the Home I was actually happy to go to school, to me there was the freedom to be with ordinary children, having experienced seven years of life outside the Home, school gave me a similar idea of freedom.
With only two of us from the Home at the annex we had a little more freedom on our way to and from school.
There was a set way that the Sisters had suggested we take, but two or three slightly different routes made a nice change. At odd times we fell out, having a different route back to the Home could be a good idea at times. I was not always alone a friend that lived near to the Home could be walked with on those days.
The most favourite route was over a small railway bridge was the most popular for us. We were not really train spotters but there were a good variety of types to watch, often the trains either stopped before entering the station or passed very slowly beneath us. This gave us the opportunity to take aim through small gaps in the sides of the bridge to see who could pee on the most carriage tops. With the bridge been seldom used we had little chance of being seen. Once our train spotting was over I had to quickly make my way back to the Home, all the Sisters seemed to know as to the second you should arrive back. If you were kept in late by a teacher, even if you had not done anything wrong the Sisters at the Home would be cross. If there was one slight way I could fall out with my friend at the annex, it was the speed at which he would return to the Home once school was over.
The distance we had to travel was about a mile, I was quite a fast walker and once started at a fast pace a mile walk was no problem at all. My friend was a runner, although we both needed to get back to the Home as soon as possible, it would be more ideal if we both entered the grounds at the same moment.
If the Sister that looked after me happened to be watching out of the back window, she would have a very good view of the small gate that we entered the Home by. Our flat was the only one that had this view, to all the other Sisters they would only find out the time that their children arrived at the point they entered the flat.
There was a good idea in my mind that Sister could recognise Edward as the only other boy at the annex, there would have to be a very good reason if he entered the grounds and I was not returning at the same time. Although we both left the school at the same time, Edward was a strong distance runner, I was quite good at out running an enemy over a short distance, but once I had made the first dash and made it appear that I would out run any foe, I always slowed off. Edward was quite different, he started off at a steady fast pace and could keep going.
On occasions it might have just been done for sport to simply to tease me. He would set off at a fair pace, it was not a distance that I could manage, I would slow up a little, he would get a little way ahead and slow right down, as soon as I started to get near he would be off again.
Teasing in this manner was something that I could not take, often after he had done this to me, for the next few days I would find a different way back to the Home, with the hope that Sister was not watching him enter the grounds a few minutes ahead of me. When we moved up into the main school, he put his running skills to good use in races and was often awarded first place. My presence at the annex might have been a useful training programme for him.

Rainy Days

Near to the Home we would meet up with the others from the main school, the last five minutes of our walk was often as a quite happy group. One of the benefits I found to this school over the school in London was a supply of wild strawberries in one of the hedgerows. I appeared to be the only one out of the fifty of that passed this way to take any notice of the fruit. Those that had actually seen the berries had not realised that they were something that you could eat.
If I was on my own and had managed to get in front of the main group, depending on the availability of the fruit, I had wild strawberries and blackberries before tea.

If there was an advantage over the others it was on rainy days. Sister demanded that everyone wear wellingtons to school and to remember to bring them back at the end of the day.
Those that went to the main schools needed to take their school shoes in their P.E. bag and to change into them on arrival at school. As my P.E. kit was often left at school, it was thought all right by Sister not to have to have to take my school shoes as I could change into my plimsolls when I arrived at school. Although when I arrived at school I did not bother changing into plimsolls, and wore my wellingtons in class all day to save changing in and out of plimsolls if we went to the lavatory or out into the playground.
At the end of the day, the others arrived back from school without their boots. If the weather had improved they had simply forgotten to change back into them for the journey back to the Home. Their punishment was to stay indoors after tea.

My Temper

At this annex I think I only really lost my temper on one occasion. My mother had sent me a small newspaper cutting regarding the school I had attended shortly before coming to this school.
During redecoration to the school it appeared that a decorator's blowlamp had set fire to a window frame. The school had to be evacuated while the firemen put out the fire.
As I was showing the cutting to a friend, another boy came over and pulled the piece of paper out of my hand. As the item was just text with no pictures he was not interested, the small piece of paper was now ripped up and thrown away.
It was matter like these when I found it impossible to control me temper, normally I was not the one to get the first punch in, but this time I was angry. Our fight was soon stopped, to the teachers fighting over a scrap of paper was a silly thing to do.
Getting upset over such a little matter in her mind was little reason for starting a fight. How could I explain that this little bit of paper was almost irreplaceable.

As I was not any good at football there had to be one active game that could be played during our playtime. Hand slapping took two boys who whilst they did not have hatred for each other, disliking ones opponent for any reason gave one a slight edge.
The two of us would stand facing each other, our own hands with their palms pressed together slightly touching each other. The aim of the sport was for one person to try and slap their opponents hand before they had time to remove it.
You would continue to slap the other ones hand until they managed to remove it in time, then it became their turn to try and hit you. With fast reactions I was often able to remove my hand before they struck, the only problem if you moved your hand before they moved you lost, they could then demand to give a slap on your hand without you allowed to move. After a couple of games you tried to find an opponent that seemed less quick to react, whatever the outcome both would leave the game with stinging hands.

With only two classes and two teachers at our school, if there was ever an absence of one of our teachers someone from the main school had to take us for that day. Thankfully it was rare for one of our teachers to be away, but if they were lessons for that day were no fun at all.
The headmaster coming in was possibly the worst, but even some of the other female teachers seemed quite severe in their methods of keeping us under control.
With only two teachers at the school, even in the normal way, there could be a problem if a teacher needed to deal with a major incident.
One of the boys in our class swallowed a marble during a lesson. There was no reason why he should have had a marble in his mouth during a lesson, but for some reason it was in his mouth and it was swallowed. There were no choking fits or anything like that, it was simply admitted by him that he had swallowed a marble. Our teacher removed him from our class; we were simply left to wonder what would happen.
We possibly did show some concern, this was more if our small class was reduced in numbers by one permanently.
Eventually the teacher returned, it appeared that our classmate would not suffer in any way, the marble would take the natural course of events. The only topic we could think to talk about was, would our friend bother to retrieve the marble for a future game.

The Main School
The life at the annex did not last forever. When we were between eight and nine years of age it was decided that two extra temporary classrooms could be added in the main school, this was thought would benefit us all.
Joining the main school was no fun at all, to the children that were already here, we were invading their school. Several of those at the main school were our own ages; odd fights and squabbles were the norm while matters of who was best were sorted out.
Once we arrived at the main school, we needed to change our ways with several masters teaching, we soon knew which lessons we had to be totally obedient in. If there was any luck it was only for games, art and a couple of written lessons did we leave our own room and teacher and enter the rooms where a master taught.
Until now I had only witnessed boys been physically punished in our class. Within a couple of days of our arrival, a few of us found out that life at this school was not as much fun as the annex had been.
There was a new style of punishment, we were able to see girls hit by our new class teacher in the same style as us, with the ruler used across our bare legs.
Our punishments seemed fair and were soon over, we had been warned that if we did something wrong and the guilty party did not come forward, she would not have any hesitation in punishing the entire class.
A new block of two wooden huts on stilts was our new home. The lower sides of the building were boarded over to stop us gaining access. If things did not go right for us it was the same for the teachers, whilst they had a relaxed life at the annex with cups of tea when they fancied, it was now only during our playtime did they have the time to visit the staff room.
Even our teacher was soon in trouble, until now our blackboards had been the simply large flat pieces of wood painted matt black, to clean off old lessons a damp cloth or the board rubber was used. Our new rooms had a modern sliding cloth blackboard that was really a shade of deep green, this heavy cloth type of board held three times as much work as our traditional type.
There was one instruction that the teacher failed to follow, before the very first writing is put on a new board, it is to be evenly covered in chalk all over. Failure to follow this instruction had the result that our first three lessons were etched onto the board very faintly for evermore.

Broken Windows
Our first major group crime in this brand new room, was to crack one of the large picture windows, this was put down to our running about the room rather than any direct missile been thrown.
As there was no hole, we could not even put the blame on something that had been thrown from the outside. Some time was spent by our teacher asking who was responsible for causing the damage, there was a good chance that a couple of us who were more active than the rest might get the blame, but at this point all of us seemed all to be equally guilty, both boys and girls, we stayed silent and offered no names.
There was the threat from out teacher that she would punish all of us. We were asked would we each like our legs hit with her ruler a couple of times or would we now tell her who broke the window. It seemed would be punished in alphabetical order until someone owned up. If we were given a chance for the guilty party to own up, we had until the end of the day to think about it, if by the end of school the name had not been given to her, we would be punished the following morning.
The two missed playtimes and most of our lunch break spent sitting in silence, should have be enough to get us to own up to who had caused the damage, but we all remained silent over the matter. By the end of afternoon playtime with us sitting in silence we were starting to dread tomorrow morning. All I could wonder was if the punishment of two hits on our legs going to be one hit on each leg or two hits on each leg.
None of us could be sure if any one single person was to blame, the window had simply broken, as we first entered the classroom this morning, as we had been alone in the room without our teacher, in her view we had to be at fault. It may well have been our fault, when we entered we might have been a little heavy on our feet, below our floor was a large empty space, any sound made by our feet could echo slightly and as the building was not that solid in construction it took only a few of us to make our presence felt.
At the end of the day, we were given one last chance to own up. Our teacher told us that tomorrow we would be dealt with unless the guilty person came and owned up on arrival at school. There was an additional warning that anyone who was away tomorrow would be punished when they returned. We left our room in silence; a punishment from our teacher was one matter when we had been caught doing something wrong, then it was over in minutes.
As we now had until tomorrow to think about what was going to happen to us, it was horrible. Our teacher would punished us as a few of us had already found out with the ruler across our bare legs. If there was a choice I would rather have been given the plimsoll by one of the masters in preference to our teachers' treatment of my legs, pain wise I felt it was on the same level as the cane.
Once back at the Home I dared not tell the Sister what our teacher had in mind for us, there would be little sympathy for messing about at school, in her mind I would be getting everything I deserved.

On arrival the following day we were huddled around the outside of our classroom, this was in the hope that someone had gone inside to admit their guilt to save the rest of us.
None of the others had told their parents of the whacking that we were all going to be given today, had a parent come to school to get them off such a punishment, it was something that they could never have be lived down in front of the rest of us, even the girls in our class had kept quiet.
One of our class had not been at school yesterday, he now wondered if he was going to be punished with the rest of us. Instead of our normal happy arrival into our room we entered in almost silence.
When the register was taken it appeared that no name had been given to her. We were now sent off to assembly, I could guess that the reason we were not given the ruler at this moment was that it might make us a little late and our teacher would not want the entire class going into assembly in tears.
Assembly was soon over and we returned to our room simply to await our punishment. It was announced that we given our punishment during the morning break, it would be our time we wasted not her lesson time.
We all tried to be good during the first part of our morning lessons, it was in the hope that if we appeared to be good the punishments might hurt less. I wished we had been punished when we first entered our room today, it would now be over and done with, having to wait for our morning break was torture.
Part way into our lesson our teacher was called into the adjoining classroom. We waited endlessly for her return, in the normal way we would now be talking and larking about, but it was almost perfect behaviour from us all. Eventually she returned and the lesson was restarted.

For the rest of the lesson, we behaved perfectly, there was just the faint hope that we might be let off. In our minds our teacher might have been hoping that at the very last moment either the guilty party would give themselves up, or one of us would actually tell on them, simply to save the rest of us from punishment.
The end of the lesson finally came. We all expected our punishments to come at this very moment; however we were given the instruction to collect our milk and drink it quietly.
In the normal way this was the point we would start to talk, although not really a point to start mucking about, we would have all be in good sprits.
Today we were quiet, all our milk was soon finished, the silver tops put in the container for silver foil, the straws put neatly in the waste bin and the bottles returned to the crate. If today was an ordinary day we would now be told to go out to play, we could expect at this moment our teacher would start to line us up in alphabetical order as her original threat had stated.
We were now told to go outside. We had neither been told to line up or go off for our normal playtime, the instruction to simply go outside. All of us went out into the playground.
Most of us stayed very close to our room, although many of us would now be paying a visit to the lavatory or moving to other parts of the playground, we were ready to be told to line up in order, as we had been sent outside our teacher might be going to ask us to come in one by one for our punishment.
Had we been missing, we could bet that when we did return to our hut, our individual punishment would be far worse. We waited and just looked on, waiting for our teacher to call us in. Our teacher would have normally left our room and gone off to the staff room, we could see her and the teacher from the other class talking and watching us from her room; it was easy to bet they were talking about us.
The bell for the end of break sounded. The school routine now meant we all had to freeze in the position we were at and wait for the second ring of the bell to signal our neat and orderly walk into school. The second bell went; we entered our room in silence, although our teacher had told us that our punishment was to be in our time it looked as if this lesson was going to be our point of punishment.
Once sat at our desks we remaind in silent, our teacher casually announced that we would be pleased to know that our punishment had been cancelled. All we could think was that the guilty party had either been found out or had admitted their guilt. It was now explained the reason why we were not now going to be punished. It was due to the teacher sitting alone in the adjoining room, had witnessed a window crack by itself. The reason it was decided was down to our building having been built off the ground was not quite level.
Slight uneven movement of us between our rooms was enough to cause the problem. I was now simply thankful that we had not been punished on our arrival this morning.
We caused a problem now by several of us asking if we could visit the lavatory. Our teacher now used the regular rule that only one of us was allowed out at a time.
With both boys and girls making this request, she possibly did relent a little and let one of each out at a time. After what seemed ages the first ones to be let out now returned, the first requests simply set everyone off, making requests to leave.
Our teacher possibly realised that none of us had visited the lavatory in our break, we were allowed out in one group, although the rest of the school were in the middle of lessons, few of us bothered with the rule of not running in the corridor we could have taken a slightly longer around the outside of the building, but most of us needed to take the quickest route.
We all made it and later returned quite happy that there had been no punishment. Within a short while all the glass in the windows in our two classrooms was replaced with thicker glass.
As the workmen were finishing off one of the windows I managed to beg a small lump of putty that was left over, it was something different to play with.

Our Own Teacher
Within a few weeks our original teacher that taught us at the annex returned to our school. She was now allocated to us as our class teacher. The reason for her short time away was to get married; we now had to get use to calling our teacher by a different name, which for all of us took a little bit of remembering.
Some freedom was allowed, however I was soon paying several visits to the headmaster for his verdict on my behaviour.
Our invasion from the annex caused a slight problem for school lunches, it was quite easy for the staff to cope as our food was simply been eaten here rather than been sent to the annex. The problem was simply down to numbers.
Until our arrival all had sat at tables, said grace then on a rotating basis gone to the serving counter and picked up the meal, those going first had a choice those going last might find only one main item available, but their chance of a choice would soon come round again.
With our numbers swelling the dining hall, although extra tables were brought in the room became cramped and the dishing out of meals seemed to take far too long. The solution was found simply by one queue, as you entered the dining room you went to the serving area, by the time the end of the queue reached that point some of the early eaters had finished and space was available.
There had often been the opportunity of seconds, the method until now had been to offer tables on a rotating basis the first chance.
The problem now with the queue system it was not known until the last one in the queue had been served what food was left over. It was not simply that all food left over was available, at the same point our meals were been given out there was an identical system serving the senior school in an adjoining hut, our queues met at the point when we picked up our pudding, it was not unknown for a senior pupil to nick something off a juniors plate as we passed each other, you became far more protective of your meal once you had lost something.
We soon found a way of beating the system over seconds, portions at the end of the queue often increased as the staff found it easy to finish the queue with an empty tray, thus not having any need to offer seconds.
There was now a competition by several of us to see who could be last in the queue each day. Teachers were on duty to round up the last stragglers; it took effort to remain hidden near to the hut before darting in without getting told off. Our class seemed to hold the record over this simply been not recognised by most of the staff as attending school lunch.

At some point one of the staff had the idea that a few of us should queue up in the seniors line and eat in their dining room, as they started lunch shortly after us it was thought that we could get our meals and be almost finished when they appeared.
The idea of taking our food from the senior's area was so that the junior school line could revert to more normal numbers. Our two classes in the wooden hut were singled out for this special treatment, as we were near to the dining halls. Our early departure from our room would not disrupt others.
To the serving staff we caused a slight problem, they were use to opening the seniors containers of food shortly after the junior queue had been started, now two lines should have started at once, on several occasions our queue only started when the seniors arrived, but there was plenty of room and we were not bothered, if we queued in the seniors area we had the advantage that their portions of food were often larger, the pies and other items that were divide out before the queue started were simply cut to give fewer portions to the tray if it was destined for the seniors, eventually we were returned to queue up in the junior area, but we always were allowed to jump to the head of the queue.
Some staff complained that a few of us were rushing their meals to be away from the senior dining room, it was an advantage for those of us with the courage to stay as often their excess food came onto our plates. Finally it was found possible for all juniors to eat in our own dining room so our privileged status vanished.
The choice of meals was quite varied, those of us from the Home had no complaints, often it was difficult to predict as to what would be offered on any given day, back at the Home we often knew on a regular basis what would appear on any given day of the week, certain days one simply dreaded returning for tea. Other than parsnips what ever was offered as the main meal at school was fine by me, those of my friends that were used to family cooking often had more luxury tastes and could be very disappointed if their first choice was missing when their turn in the queue came.
Pork pie was perhaps one meal that I often was presented with extra portions, when my friends looked at the pork pie with egg inside it looked so nice, often it was found too peppery for their tastes compared to the normal individual pies they were use to.
Staff watching what leftovers went to the pig bin would have complained over such large offerings being taken for waste, a few of us received thanks for solving a problem. At times we did take out pie wrapped in clean handkerchiefs to eat later, but at least the pie could travel easily.
The pudding of sago or tapioca might have been reasonable to eat when first served up, but allow it to cool whilst you eat the main part of you meal and the solid cold lump that remained once the small amount that surrounded the spoonful of jam had been eaten, seemed to revolt even the most hungry of us. It was simply luck at getting it into the pig bin without been sent back to make an attempt at eating it. A fit of the giggles often affected us when we poured this bowl of solid slime into the food waste container and watched it slide down the food already deposited, this often brought staff to see what all the fun was about, those behind us soon found themselves turned back to eat their pudding.
The only other event to cause any fun, would be when someone might throw up during a meal.

The morning assembly was often the only time we entered the main school, unless one of the specialised art or history lessons took us into one of the main classrooms.
On one occasion a friend next to me was sick in assembly, this had been whilst we were standing up singing, almost at the end of a hymn a good pool of sick hit the area on the floor behind the boy in front.
The little disruption it was not noticed by the staff, only by the small group around the pile of sick. When the hymn finished we were meant to sit down.
There was a general movement away from the pool of sick; it was at that point that a teacher waded into the group to finds out what the commotion was. My friend was told to leave the hall, those of us either side of him were told to make sure he was all right.
We left the assembly as the area around the pool of sick was starting to get wider and wider.
With moments of us leaving the hall a few of our classmates joined us, telling the teacher they now felt ill, was a wonderful excuse for getting out of assembly. Other than having to actually sit down next to the sick, most of us could have quite happily remained standing around the mess.

School Clothes

I could easily start the day in trouble even before I had arrived at school. For the adults it was the state of my shoes. Although I thoroughly cleaned them at the end of the school day, even a new pair of my shoes could soon look scruffy.
Had I been a keen footballer then it could be expected that school shoes might show some wear due to kicking a ball about, that the toes of my shoes were always badly scuffed when I never kicked a ball was a mystery to the adults. The damaged was caused in the annex playground, as most of my time was spent playing marbles, the scuffs were caused when I was kneeling down taking my shot.
Until coming to the Home I had rarely worn shoes for the full school day, at my first three schools we generally changed into plimsolls if you were indoors, for the boarding school shoes were normally worn only indoors, if you went out to play it was either boots or the hobs.

For shoes the other boys in our flat requested the more fashionable pointed toe design, which to me were always uncomfortable, to make us all the same I was given that type by Sister. For hard wear a good quality pair of heavy lace up shoes was always chosen by Sister, I was more used to light weight slip on shoes with rounded toes, the heavy lace up styles that they chose, never suited my speed. 
It was now quite easy to get into trouble on my return to the Home. The shoes I was given were not the wrong size as even a little extra room was allowed for growth, it was simply that I found that these shoes always dug unto the back of my heel, if this happened while I was in class I tended to gently tap the toe of the shoe on the floor thus allowing my heel to be more comfortable, which caused an equal amout of damage to my marble play. 
After been told off from Sister over the matter and then punished by her with the slipper, it failed to improve my care for the shoes, she resorted to sending me to school in my wellingtons even on sunny days, with the instruction to change into my school shoes only for lessons, then to change into my wellingtons if I was outdoors.
As this would cut down the amount of my playtime with the need to be always changing in and out of my shoes, I wore my wellingtons for the entire school day. It also stopped the teacher caning me on my legs. I returned back to the Home with my school shoes still in my PE bag, only a light cleaning was ever needed, I now received praise for keeping my shoes in good order. 

When the Houseparent took over she decided I should wear shoes to school unless it was wet. After a couple of weeks the new shoes I had been given for the start of the school year in September started to get scuffed, even though I was at the main school now and marbles was not a major game anymore.
Several punishments followed, but the damage to the shoes could not really be improved even with extra polishing, soon it was thought that my shoes looked too worn for me to go to school in. I would have been willing to go to school in plimsolls or wellingtons, but to her I would have to learn to look after my shoes or start buying new pairs out of my pocket money if I did more damage.
Clothing that we wore outside the grounds of the Home was normally up to date and equal to any of our friends, this rule seemed now to be changed for my benefit. I was presented with a heavy pair of lace up ankle boots, the Houseparent was waiting for a complaint from me, I did not utter any complaint. They were similar to the hobs I had worn at the boarding school, only these came up over my anklebone, and had nice rounded toes.
I put them on, the fit was good, they must have been lurking for many years on a back shelf of the main stores, they were new, but it was easy to see that the had not been made recently. If I had begged forgiveness at this moment my school shoes might have been returned.
The simple instruction was, that when I had decided I was capable of looking after my school shoes I could have them back, until that point I was going to go to school in these if it was dry.
One of the older girls thought it was very unfair that I was treated this way and I should not be forced to wear boots that made me look like a cripple, I was quite happy, the back of my ankle did not have the back of the shoe digging in to it. The colour was a mid brown, for the other boys they would have been ideal for football, the colour would have hidden mud and the hard toe cap would mean that the ball could be kicked really hard without hurting your toes.

At school a few boys teased me for what I came to school in, over the first week the odd kick or misplace foot seemed to end any comments.
On returning to the Home and with the Houseparent watching over us during our shoe cleaning sessions, there was the expectation of my request for my school shoes to be returned. I stayed silent over the matter, as the lace up boots were far more comfortable than shoes.
It took a letter from the teacher complaining about the latest shin I had grazed on one of my foe to put an end going to school in such footwear. The Houseparent was told that they were more suitable to digging in the garden than for indoor use at school. My hated school shoes were returned with a warning that I was not to cause any more scuff marks to the toes, with the long time of not wearing them the matter about the damaged backs seemed to have been forgotten.
The Houseparent was really cross at receiving such a note from the school, for once I was not at fault, there were several comments that it was up to her what we sent to school in, if the school had a set uniform that would be a different matter, to her the lace up boots were smart, with the amount of polishing that I done there could be no complaints over the matter.
The lace up boots vanished completely, possibly the thought that I might cause an injury to someone in the Home was a good enough reason for me not to have them anymore, in a way I was disappointed they had fitted my feet quite well.
As it was now winter I wore my wellingtons to school and took the shoes in my PE bag, if I was in shorts and went back to wearing my wellingtons in class. There were demands as I left the flat for me to look after my shoes, they returnd at the end of the day undamaged. Due to my feet growing I was soon taken for a new pair of shoes. 
With the Houseparent now taking us to the shoe shop, we were given a little more choice over styles. The older boys were a little disappointed that they were not allowed the very pointed fashion style of shoe, however they accepted the ordinary pointed shape.
For my best shoes I was allowed to choose a pair that had animal tracks on the soles and a hidden compas inside one of the shoes. Having a choice meant I could go back to the rounded toe style.
The damage to my shoes really ended at that point, the threat of my pocket money been used for the next pair if they did not last the rest of the year was one reason, but managing to talk the Houseparent in allowing me to have a pair of Jodhpur boots as my school shoes really solved the problem. The sides were tall and kept the back of my heel nice and comfortable, the toe ends were rounded and caps not having any reinforcement meant that there were no complaints from school.

Garters
Keeping socks fully up to your knees was always difficult. After walking or running long socks always slid down to your ankles. The solution was to have a pair of elastic garters hidden under the top turn up of your socks.
Sister or the Houseparent constructed these out of ordinary white knicker elastic; when you first received them they were ideal. For a couple of weeks if the correct size had been made, your socks would stay up and you would be free from the regular telling off from the teachers and the adults at the Home. At some point the stitching would fail, the only repair was to tie the two ends of the elastic together.
Once this was done the garters became tighter, there might have been some give in the elastic, but often the only result was the garter digging in to an area just below the knee. During the school day as you were sat at your desk, there was the constant need to scratch the point where the garter had made an indentation. On hot summer days the itch on your leg always seemed to be the worst.

The worst thing to me was going to school on a cold wet day in shorts, and then getting cramp in my legs when I had come indoors and started to warm up. After the operation to my knee, it became even worse. Sister would not allow me to wear long trousers to school, but told me that I could wear my dungarees. The odd boy in the infants might be seen in dungarees from time to time, but the majority of the juniors wore shorts the summer and a few long trousers in the winter months, none were ever seen in dungarees.

There was a bit of teasing at first from a few of the others when I came to school in dungarees when winter started, the teachers did not really object. If it was a day with PE or Games, dungarees were always a bit of a struggle to get in and out of quickly.

Sister had originally decided that I should wear the better pair for school, although they were quite hard wearing, I would not be allowed my normal active play if mud or other playground dirt made them look like my play pair. When the Houseparent took over, as long a my play pair was clean, it was alright to go to those in those. Wearing my tall wellingtons all the time I had them on at school made me look quite presentable with no socks falling down or parts of my shirt not properly tucked into my trousers.

Jumpers were chosen for their long hard wearing use. Until now both my mother and grandmother had often purchased cardigans for my play use or going out.
For school wear they had normally been the blue or grey fine wool V neck style jumpers. I was presented me with two jumpers, the one for school was a V neck style, but it was made with thick wool, it fitted and was relatively indestructible, however its thick design meant that it was not possible to be comfortable if a blazer or jacket was worn.
The Jumper for play use was never to my liking, again it had been knitted with thick coarse wool but the main dislike I had was over the style of neck, the original design had possibly been for a type of polo neck. There was an excess of the neck area. Having anything under my chin was something I have always disliked, now it was almost like wearing a door mat, the jumper was quite stiff, where a boy with a well padded body would have been able to have slowly forced the wool to take shape, with my thin build the jumper always wore me.
When going out to play I often tried to go without the jumper, I preferred to be cold rather than uncomfortable.
There was one other slight problem over an article of clothing for me, I was tall and skinny, many things that were too baggy, with trousers a belt was all that was really needed to keep them up.
My main problem was with underpants, at the age of eight Sister seemed find that the age measurements on most of my garments was totally wrong, for most of my clothes I took an older age group, with underpants the normal size for the age group I was in simply fell down, to solve the problem I was given the ones marked for a younger child aged 5 - 7, while they fitted round the waist correctly the lower area was very tight and the elastic around the leg area dug in, making the underpants rather uncomfortable.
Before coming to the Home my mother had found the solution by purchasing the older style boy's underpants that did not have any elastic around the lower leg, once the correct waist size was found they were a perfect fit. To Sister I was a slight nuisance, the underpants I had arrived at the Home with were this older style, they were made of a fine beige cotton, unlike the standard white style of the other three boys it was necessary to wash them separately rather than mix them in. Sister's solution was to consign my well fitting underpants to the ragbag and issue me with underpants that matched the others for ease of washing.
My uncomfortable time with the new style of underpants was solved over a period by slightly damaging the elastic in the lower part of the leg, this made them slightly more comfortable but still rather tight.

A compromise was eventually reached after about a year of being uncomfortable, by going back to my original style but now in white cotton that matched the others.
I was quite happy to wear girl's thick knickers at weekends or during holidays in the Home, if we were wearing waterproof pants under our dungarees or trousers.
The new Houseparent was slowly bringing our range of clothing up to more modern standards, At junior school I wore shorts, until now all the school shorts I had ever worn came almost down to my knee caps, in cold weather they offered that little extra warmth.
The Houseparent decided that I should have a more modern type when my next pair became due, these ended quite a bit above my knees, had I worn ordinary underpants there would have been no problem, now unless I had my underpants firmly gathered around my waist the lower edges of the underpants became visible at the point the shorts ended.
A new nickname of 'Baggy Pants' became my regular name. The shorter style of school trousers simply looked odd on me, with my tall height, it always appeared that I was out growing them.
If long school trousers had been allowed there would have been none of these problems, my regular falling over would have created regular damage to the knees, in a way I was glad that I did not have the responsibility of long trousers for school.


There was one daft rule that was set by the older boys, that as they were at the senior school, they did not want to be seen in the company of a boy that was still in the juniors. If for any reason I found I was walking to or from school at the same time as they were. I was made to be either well in front or well behind. I was not to make contact with them.
Once inside the grounds of the Home this rule was relaxed and we all were together.
When the boy slightly older than myself joined the senior school this rule became even more absurd. Height wise I was almost equal to the two boys who were three years older, and several inches taller than the boy who was a year older. The only difference that set us apart was that I had to wear shorts.

One odd craze that went on for a short while until a culprit was found, involved seeking revenge on other classes. It might be the rival class for our year or just an odd class selected at random.
The trick could only be played on rainy days. If you were sent out of your class on an errand or had permission to go and visit the lavatory. It was to sneak into the areas where the coats were hung up and find someone that had worn wellington boots to school. Peeing in them took only a few seconds, it was not ever necessary to do a lot.
Your crime would only be found out later. Getting even with an enemy if there was time to find their actual pair of boots was great. When it came to going out to play, a victim would often knew before they put the boots on, what was inside, if others were about it was rare for someone to complain, they would just put them on and spend the entire playtime been uncomfortable with cold pee soaking into their socks. Some of the teachers might have thought us odd for wanting to wear our boots in the classroom, but we had good reason for not leaving them in the coat area.
It would have been very easy for me to have become a victim on the odd days I had left my boots in the coat area. As my wellingtons were of a girls design, they were left alone, picking a girl as a victim would never work, they would soon tell a teacher and the perpetrator would soon be found out, keeping the joke between boys kept it going for several months.
Only when a teacher happened to pass whilst one of my friends was in the act, did the craze stop. He had been brought in to our room and given a severe telling off in front of the entire class and our teacher, the telling off was thought enough punishment.
The following day his act was even announced in assembly, we all knew it was not something that we should ever be caught at again, if we were we could expect a more painful punishment. I gave up on this fun and turned to other ways to keep mischief going.

Happy to go to school

There was an activity at school that occupied a large amount of my time, in the swapping of possessions. Minor swaps would be amongst friends, then other boys in the same year would be involved, followed by boys older and younger than myself.
Often the item you were acquiring was not even the thing you wanted, but if you could provide the person that you were finally swapping with the item they were looking for, it made the deal.
After Christmas was one of the best times to do any exchanges, I was wise enough to avoid any of the swaps that involved large toys or items that were easily identifiable. Marbles, cars, puzzles, pens and the like could easily pass around the playground several times before getting completely lost as to whom really had it. It was easy to witness a few that made stupid or unfair swaps, a few days later a parent would be up at school trying to find the culprit that had their child''s best possession and demand that it was returned.
When money was involved for exchanges things could become much more difficult, some boys had toys that were simply of little interest to them, offering money rather than a swap, I did quite well.
At the Home my locker often had the toy items changing quite regularly, if I had any doubt over a recent possession, taking it back to London for a few weeks often let things cool down a little.

On a few occasions at school, a few of the ordinary children did tease those of us that came from the Home. The teasing was never very serious. For most of the time, we found out that the ordinary children were more fascinated how we lived in groups of ten to a flat and had all those woods and fields just for our use.
Some of them did visit on open days, but they did not really get the opportunity to see the real life of the Home. Most of us never really did say much about our lives whether good or bad, if some of the staff thought we had been telling tales about the place, we knew there would be trouble.
At one point, I did think I was going to have a problem. Some of my friends were asking me was it true that I still had a rubber sheet on my bed. I thought one of the older boys from our flat had told one of them about my bedwetting.
An other boy of my age that went to the Home, told them it was true, and that all us juniors had to have rubber sheets as we did often wet our beds, some of the staff did not like to see us out of bed at night. I now realised this was just one of the matters they had found out about on how we lived and wanted to know if it was true.
I was teased slightly by a friend who said he had been told that if we were in the grounds of the  Home we had to wear waterproof pants under our trousers as we were not allowed back indoors to use the toilet. On telling him that it was slighly true, some of the Sisters did suggest we wear waterproof pants under our shorts or dungarees if they thought we might have an accident. We were not really banned from returning to visit the toilet, but often Sister decided that there was not much time for play left and that a few chores could be found. He asked did they really fit, he thought they were only for young children, I told him that they had them for eight year olds and for boys even older.
He dared me to wear them to school the following day. As it was not a PE or games lesson I came to school in them, he was just fascinated that we obeyed the Sisters, he didn't tell any of our friends of what I had under my shorts.

During the very cold winter days I had come to school in dungarees, Sister had told me to put the waterproofs on if I wore dungarees in case I was not able to undo them in time to go for a pee. At school they were never noticed by any of the others, I was quite happy with with Sisters demands.
On our school outings it took extra care during the day to prevent anything showing if I was in shorts. Had any of us from the Home had an accident whilst on a trip away from school it would cause humiliation for a Sister that one of her children had caused such a scene in public. A few other boys mentioned that they knew that some of the Sisters made us wear them on our outings, there was not really any teasing, it was partly jealousy that didn't have such garments, any accident for them would result in major teasing by the rest of us.


At school it was quite easy for me to get covered in ink. For most of the time we did not use dip or fountain pens for writing. In drawing lessons most of us had progressed from crayons to coloured pencils, if there was one luxury item it was pens that contained coloured liquid ink. Although the school did not provide these, I had managed to get several by swapping and as presents, often these would be shared with friends but only with those that had similar pens in different colours.
The main fault with the pens were the felt nibs that actually touched the paper, if you were not careful the fine point soon became dull, making a rather uneven line. To return the pen to working correctly it was possible to remove the felt end which was about half an inch long and insert it the opposite way round, this lengthened the life of the pen.

Such activity always ended with your fingers covered in ink no matter how neat you tried to be, repeat this a few times and several of your workbooks soon had odd shades of ink marks on them.
If I really wanted to get into a mess, it was due to taking the thin clear plastic pen apart, this was normally done when the pen had run out of ink, there was often some ink that could be shaken out to finish off a drawing this gave an even better chance of getting in a mess. 
I seemed to annoy the teachers when I suffered cramp in my leg on several occasions. Sitting crossed legged had not really given me much of a problem until we joined the main school. As the cramp was just in my left leg, there was a good bet in my mind that the pellet that had gone into my knee was the reason, but even after the pellet had been taken out I still seemed to suffer from cramp.
The adults seemed to think there was nothing wrong with my knee as the cramp was always in the upper part of my leg. During assembly and at other times in the main hall when we were all meant to sit cross legged and still. To the staff I had to be different, I might start sitting cross legged, but after a short while I would uncross my legs.
To save annoying any others in front, I tried to get at the end of a row, this meant I could stick my legs into the side gap. As teachers were often at the sides of the hall, there was a regular telling off for not sitting with my legs crossed, with my tall height I seemed to be in the way.
Even sitting at a desk there were times during a lesson when I suffered cramp, school desks often had chairs that were too low for me. Eventually when the teacher found out I was not putting it on, I was allowed to go out of the room for a short while to walk it off. On several occasions I was punished for using bad language when the cramp first struck.

Punishments at school

General arguments and rough play often resulted in several of us spending our remaining playtime outside the headmasters office. The eventual punishment could be extra work, lines, picking up litter off the playground and playing field or simply the plimsoll.
It was my individual antics that seemed to warrant more severe treatment. In most cases I seemed to be punished for things that were really not my fault and in my mind I had not really done any wrong. The things I did do wrong I often simply got away with.
My first major event had occurred at the start of the day whilst I was still eight years old and only a couple of months into this main school.
The playing field was at a higher level than the playground. When it rained, worms were forced off the grass area and onto the playground, in the normal way they would have simply slithered away, parts of the playground were quite new, the tarmac surface simply poisoned them, eventually several dead worms were to be found littering the lowest part of the playground.
The athletic ones amongst us now found the ideal opportunity to practice our long jump, dead worms were placed shortly before our estimated landing positions and slowly moved further away from the start position as the game progressed. It was far easier than using sand and a tape measure; there was clear evidence of a squashed worm if you failed to complete your distance.
A small crowd had formed and a few of us were still in the game, when a teacher came over to see what the group activity was. Often a small group meant a fight was in progress, but on this morning it was simply a jumping game. It took one of the girls to tell the teacher that we were jumping on worms. 
I was the unlucky one, I had landed at the point when the teacher arrived, it was simply bad luck that my last jump had been when the worm had been moved to a distance I could not manage. There was clear evidence I was on top of a squashed worm, I tried explaining that the worm was dead before I started my jump, but this was simply not believed. I was escorted to see the headmaster.
Before assembly was not really the best time for dealing with troublemakers, once the teacher had announced what I was involved with, no time was wasted on me asking for my version of the facts, two swipes of the cane were put on my rear for my cruel actions.
Having made several previous visits to him, it appeared that I had passed the use of the plimsoll. During assembly I was still feeling sorry for myself, sitting down onto the hard floor did not help matters.

The next major problem was during cold snowy weather, shortly after my ninth birthday, there was no really good snow left, most had turned to slush now that it was raining heavily, during playtime our teacher had decided that as the weather was bad we were to stay indoors.
Whilst she went to get a cup of tea an older prefect was on duty between two rooms to keep an eye on all of us.
The pair of us had drunk our milk and were on the point of going out to the boys lavatory having put our coats on, at some point a chasing game had occurred around the room, I knocked into the wire guard that surrounded the coke stove, a few of the girls had put their gloves to dry off on top of the rail, these fell down between the guard and the stove. It was quite easy just to lift the guard up and pull the gloves back; one of the girls went out to tell the prefect what had happened. I was caught retrieving the gloves, playing with the fireguard in his mind was wrong.
I was now escorted out of the room into the main building where our teacher would be found.   I was taken to the stairs that led up to the teacher's rooms and that of the headmaster.
The original idea was simply to hand me over to our teacher; the deputy head teacher was leaving the headmasters office with the bell in his hand to signal the end of the morning break and stopped us both.
My crime was explained, it was announced to the prefect that the headmaster was busy; he was to go back to his own class now. I was left with the deputy and ordered to stay where I was. 
Within a very short time he returned, he now had the cane in his hand. One stroke on each hand was soon administered, I was sent away with the comment that should stop my putting other peoples property on the fire.
I was crying more with anger of what I had been blamed for, than with the pain from both my hands, instead of returning to my class I went and hid in the boy's changing rooms I did not want my friends to see me in tears after getting the cane, in this weather there would not be anyone coming in to change for football.
When lunch was ready I returned to the others to show off the bruise I had on each hand, with no sign of any tears they simply thought it had not hurt that much. When you were about to be caned it was not known how many you were to be given, if it was early in the morning and your lessons might have plenty of written work, the cane was given on your non writing hand, at other times it might be an even amounts of strokes over both hands. Others had told me that the worst punished was to be given three strokes across one hand, if you thought once it had been given it was now over, the other hand might be requested for a similar number. Asking for your non writing hand on these punishments only made it seem worse
.

One of the reasons for getting into trouble were due to my reactions at been teased over the colour of my skin. In the London school I had found no problems, at this school I was finding that I was now getting teased more than ever before.
Once a few knew that this upset me and I became angry, the teasing was done more for fun on their part rather than anything really malicious. It was equal to that given to a fat child or any child that does not seem to fit in with the majority. When there were groups teasing me there was little I could do. The only chance of retaliation was when of my tormentors became isolated from the group. The minor fight and arguments that then started were the main reason that I was often in trouble.
Most of the teachers thought I should ignore such name calling, for a short period this was possible. When it goes on every day, my short temper tended to get the better of me.
One of the current favourite names to call me was based on a character from a comic that most of the boys had read in the stories entitled 'Paki and His Elephant'. The regular tease was to shout out 'Paki where's you're elephant'. At the time I regarded that as one of the less hateful comments.

Most of the problems I seemed to cause were relatively minor; it was simply that so many things seemed to come on a regular basis that most of the staff needed to keep an eye on what I was up to. The headmaster finally sorted out most of these problems.
A large pot of glue in a plastic container was innocent enough. All I did was to insert a thumb tack into the base, the gum inside was quite thick so it did not run out, only when the teacher had noticed my addition and removed the pin did the gum start to spill out.
At one point I was using a ball point pen, how the small ball at the end managed to fall out I did not know, soon there were odd splodges of the ink on my work book. If it had been ordinary ink from a dip or fountain pen it would have been quite easy to blot the excess away.
Ink from a ball point does not blot, it soon covered my work book, followed by the text book. I was sent to the headmaster to show him the damaged I had caused to the text book.
At times my temper got the better of me, slamming my desk lid on one occasion, resulted in the first two inches of the desk lid snapping off. I was told to take the offending piece to the headmaster to show him what had happened.
On presenting him with the lump of wood, it appeared I was the first to manage this achievement. I instead of hitting me with it, the plimsoll was simply used. I was then told to take it to the school handyman who might be able to repair my desk. It seemed I was simply unlucky with school desks, I wondered what the headmaster would have done had I admitted that this was the second school desk I had broken.

On one occasion I was called a thief by the teacher and sent to the headmaster. It was simply down to one of our class showing off with a shilling that he had to spend on sweets, unless he wanted to attract extra friends announcing that you had money to spend was the last thing you ever did.
The coin was been played around with when he was sat at his desk, it fell into the ink well container fitted to his desk, these had not been used for many years to hold inkwells, on many desks they had become filled with all sorts of rubbish until they had become solid, it was fun to see if you could squeeze an extra bit of paper into the hole.
His inkwell was almost empty, the shilling lodged itself at the bottom, trying to fiddle about trying to get it out only brought attention of our teacher. It was necessary to leave it where it was until the end of the lesson. The end of the lesson came but gave him no opportunity to reclaim it.
On our final return into our room it was found to be missing, to most of us although it would have been a major loss, unless we could have found out who had it little more would have been done about the matter. Telling the teacher about this loss was not something many of us would have done.
All our desks were searched and then our pockets were turned out.  I was unlucky when I was found to have a shilling tucked into a small pocket in my blazer. Our teacher had the knowledge that those of us from the Home seldom had any money on us. I was questioned to why I had stolen it. All I did was say it was mine. In the normal way I never had any money at school, once Saturday had passed we had nothing for the rest of the week.
I was taken to the headmaster to see if he could sort out the problem. If I had said I had obtained it in a swap, there would have been the demand to name the person I had made a swap with.
Admitting the truth and saying that I had been given the shilling by an aunt did little good. To the headmaster if one of us from the Home came up with such a lame excuse we must be lying.
The headmaster took the shilling away, he would find its rightful owner. I could guess that the boy who had reported the loss would now get it. All I was plotting was how to get revenge.
At the end of the day I returned to the Home in the normal way, on arrival indoors I was ushered straight into Sister's sitting room, my headmaster was already there. Sister's questioning was how had I come to have a shilling. The excuse that I had it from an aunt would not work, as I had not seen any of my relatives for some time now.
At the end of any visit if we had received any money it was to be handed to Sister for safe keeping, the decision as to if we would later be able to spend it or if it was destined for our Christmas or Holiday fund would simply down to our behaviour that week.

It was for this reason that I had hidden the shilling; there had not been the opportunity to spend it. I had been with the others when our regular pocket money in the sweet shop had been spent, had they seen me spending extra money; they would have demanded a share of the extra sweets.
If I had this money given to me I should have handed it over. The decision was that I was in the wrong. If I had stolen the money it was not going to be mine and if I had not followed the rule of handing any money over I did not deserve it.
That the headmaster had come up to the Home to me was such a surprise, normally there were only telephone calls to the Home if there were any problems. 
Sister decided that there would also be some punishment, but that would wait, I was sent out to change into my play clothes and get ready for tea. The headmaster and Sister still were talking for some time after I left.
It was the simple dread of what Sister had in mind for me. The others soon found out that my headmaster was with Sister, three of the older ones knew him from when they had been at the junior school, although he had no control of them now, they all decided they were keeping well out of his way.
Our meal was possibly ruined, he stayed for a little while to drink a cup of tea, there was almost silence from us, finally he left and life returned to normal, the older ones tried to find out why he was here, as two of us still went to his school, and it did not appear to be the younger girl in the flat he had come about, the reason was down to me. Thankfully the helper was sat at the table and ended their questioning of me.
The punishment Sister had in mind was simply to do all the washing and wiping up for this meal. The two that were due to do it tonight were told that they were let off due to my poor behaviour at school.
Nothing more seemed to be said about the matter, if there was one odd thing when I did get back to school, the boy in our class did have his shilling returned. I did not seem though to now be accused of stealing it.

---------------------------------

Some of us from the Home might have thought we were punished more often than the ordinary children. In a way I can see that this actually helped us. If we had been in trouble and it had involved an ordinary child, there was a good chance that their parents would get to know. If it seemed that we had not been punished, it might be that they contacted the Home, if this happend the punishment we received would have been far worse. The teachers and Headmaster punishing us at school generally ended the matter and might give some satisfaction to the ordinary child. The matter would probably then never get back to the Home.
It would have been to my advantage if the Headmaster had caned me at school after I was accused of the theft of the shilling. I would have felt it was very unjust and the memory would have remained with me.

If however I had actually been offered the choice whilst in his office of either the cane or that afternoon he was going to come to our flat in the Home and talk to my Sister over the matter, I would have chosen the cane if the matter ended there. The cane was frightening at the age of nine and I would have been in tears, but what Sister could do was far worse.

During the school day when we were not in lessons if I was not standing outside the headmasters office I could quite often be found in the sick room.
Two events occurred on a regular basis. My nose bled quite easily. Several of my school work books had missing pages, having been removed by the teacher due to the off putting blood stains, when for no apparent reason my nose would start to bleed during a lesson. In the playground the slightest knock and blood went everywhere.
The doctor had suggested that at some point that the blood vessels in my nose could be cauterised, but nothing was ever done.
The nurse at school originally had the idea that to stop my nose bleeding I was to hold my head back, all that resulted was that the blood ran down my throat, even a cold flannel on the back of my neck was tried, neither of these ever worked, eventually I was allowed to use my perfected method, to keep my head forward, and instead of stopping breathing through my nose, to breath in through my mouth and out through my nose, it might at first seem not to stop the blood, but within a short time my nose did stop bleeding.
The other regular visits to the sick room was to have various cuts cleaned up, none were ever very serious, unlike most of my friends I never managed to break any bones.
For all my friends a trip to the sick room to have a cut cleaned up resulted in their return to us with a sticking plaster neatly covering the cut, most of my injuries seemed to have a pad of cotton wool or gauze held on with a long strip of sticking plaster, possibly I either used up the school supply of plaster or simply my quota, on many occasions clear office tape was used to hold the dressing in place.
To the staff many of my antics were simply down to stupidity, on one occasion however I think I actually managed to frighten one of the teachers at school.
During my lunch period I was occupying my time outside the headmasters office. This regular occurrence had become a bit boring.

The school was built on three levels; the staff offices were at the highest point, giving a good view of one of the playgrounds. To get to this part of the school, it was necessary to climb a flight of stairs; this staircase was situated above another flight of stairs that led to the lower area of the school.

Surrounding the stairs was a metal banister with horizontal sections; this was continued along the balustrade. The distance from this floor to the floor below was around twenty feet. It was felt to be a safe enough design as this part of the school was for the teachers use rather than to have children passing.
Climbing onto the lower two sections of the rail gave me a good view out of one of the top windows to see what was going on outside, although from this window only a central area that would be empty at this part of the day was visible.
If any teachers were coming along the lower corridor I would have a good chance of spotting them before they spotted me, giving me the chance to move down to the floor. I simply forgot that a teacher might come from the staff room along the corridor.
I was spotted before I had a chance to get down; my climbing had been witnessed by one of the teachers that took no prisoners. All knew that if he took you for a lesson there was absolutely no messing about; it was only for art that our paths normally crossed. Only once had I been given the plymsoll in his lesson, then it had really hurt. Now I really was in trouble.

Well built with a powerful voice I expected a massive telling off at the moment I was noticed, none came it was only when he had come the full twenty or so feet along the corridor that anything was said, at that point I was down on the ground.
The main view was that I was stupid for trying such a stunt. The headmaster was in his office and now came out to see what the noise was about.
It appeared that nothing was said at the point I was first spotted for fear of startling me and causing me to fall over the edge. A quick explanation was given and I was left alone with the headmaster.
In my mind with this last matter and that I was already known to be waiting outside the office, the only punishment would be the cane.
There was a lecture on what would have happened to me had fallen, the floor and the steps below were solid concrete. I had been in luck I was now told that the teacher that had spotted me knew the results that a fall from that height would cause; he had suffered a serious back injury many years previously and knew the seriousness of my actions.
The cane seemed so lightly now, instead I was told that to curb my dangerous play it would be best that I spent my playtime with extra lessons. There was the simple question as to what my favourite lesson was, for most of my friends the answer was football, this to me would have been my worst lesson.
The only lesson that I thought that I had the least problems with was poetry, not that it was really a favourite, I simply gave that as an answer as it seemed that it involved the least effort.
Now I was given the instruction that at each playtime I was to come up here and go into a quiet room up here, and fill out one page in my workbook with poetry at both the morning and afternoon breaks and to complete two pages at the lunch period.
The work was to be in my neatest hand writing, at the end of the afternoon break I was to bring the work book to him, if it was neat enough that was fine, if not it would need to be redone by the following morning when I arrived at school.
The punishment would end when it was considered that I had learnt my lesson. I was now told to return to my friends. Walking outside for the remaining part of the lunch break was great. This was such an odd punishment. It was not that I was simply happy at not receiving the cane or slipper, I would actually enjoy not having to go outside to play, it was playtime when most of my problems occurred.
During all the playtimes I went up to the small quiet room, it was completely empty except for a hard chair and small table, there was the instruction to leave the door open, staff passing on their way to the staff room were able to keep an eye on my behaviour.
As the neatness of my work went my poetry book was my best effort, however compared to other in the class it would have only been regarded as poor. Knowing the minimum limit of work that could be set, I felt that it would be quite easy to complete the task in a neat fashion without the fear of having to do the work again after school. Rather than use a pencil or ballpoint pen, as my surroundings were quiet I made use of my cartridge fountain pen.
We had all been issued with these at the start of the term. If we ran out of ink we were meant to purchase our own replacement cartridges, on occasions however if one pleaded nicely, the teacher might find you a replacement. It was not only the children from the Home that had little money for these extras, a few of our friends seemed to come from more impoverished lifestyles than we led.
During one art lesson one of my friends had produced a small pot that the art teacher felt was worth firing, it was praise to have something preserved for posterity. Eventually the pot was fired, the school made a token request for payment for any items that were to be taken home.
My friend could simply not find even this small amount of money equal to the cost of a very small bar of chocolate. He simply did not want the pot, I managed to scrape up the money to purchase it, it was not that I tried to pass it off as my own, as clearly on the base were his initials. To have something that actually that met the art teacher's quality was an interesting possession.

For my poetry written work I tried an experiment with a different cartridge in the fountain pen. The normal colour was a medium blue ink that was washable, this was the best choice if I was involved with ink, the alternatives were a black or deep blue both of these were indelible, to me they simply were not worth the risk.
On most school days the grey school shirt I wore might have hidden minor ink stains, on Mondays we arrived at school in white shirts, these had been worn to church for an hour or so on the Sunday and it seemed not worth washing a shirt after a couple of hours use. I could bet that any ink stains would get onto my white shirt.
The ink also came in green and red, both these colours seemed to be reserved for the teachers to use, as my work books already had plenty of red writing I never felt the need to experiment. The new shade of ink I had found was turquoise, from the box colour and the ink that was in the cartridge it seemed only a slightly lighter shade than the normal blue ink. I changed over a cartridge, for the first few lines of my writing there was little change. By the time my page was completed, the ink had fully come through; the bottom lines were a really bright shade. It was not a wise judgement, however I was not going to waste the ink, if you removed a cartridge part way into its use the ink left could run out, I now realised what the small little piece of plastic no bigger than the top of a small drawing pin was for, this had been with my pen when it was new, but had become lost a short time afterwards.
At the end of the school day I presented my four pages of work to the headmaster, I was simply waiting for the telling off over the shade of ink I had used, the only comment was that perhaps my writing could improve a little, with that I was free until tomorrow.
For the rest of the term I spent my free time in the quiet room, I was quite happy, playtimes were never really my favourite parts of the day now we had joined this main part of the school.
If the teachers found I was in less trouble it was simply that I was not in circulation for a couple of hours of the school day. My class teacher knew I was spending all my playtimes in the small room.
Slowly I started to cheat having been allowed to select the poems I wanted to copy out I started to look for poems that had only a short number of words to each line. If one line was allowed for the title, the next for the author than the following lines for the actual poem followed by a blank line before the next poem was started then the quota that had to be presented was easily completed.
The best poem I managed to find consisted of five lines in total. 'The song of the canary never varies, and when its moulting, its pretty revolting'.
Eventually it was decided that I should have learnt my lesson and I was free again to rejoin my friends. More tellings off over my behaviour and my life soon returned to normal. If I had only been allowed to go up to the quiet room during playtimes to just read a book, there would have been no further problems from me.

English lessons might have been a subject that I could have improved on. The main reason why I never wanted any high marks was that for any work that was good. The person who had the highest marks was required to read their essay out loud to the rest of the class.
Some of the subjects by the teacher were at times a little thoughtless for those that came from the Home. Subjects like "Going with Mummy to the shops", "What present could you give to your father for his birthday?" Would give a few of us problems of what to write.
Only in one lesson when a family type essay was required, did I have the courage to write in my book that "I had no idea", as my answer. When my book was eventually returned by the teacher there was the comment in red "Nor do I".
It was the simply dread of standing up and reading out loud my thoughts, that kept my marks low. I did not want to tell them how happy I was on holidays in London, it would soon get back to the staff at the Home, and writing about life in the Home would not be something the Sister's would want you to do, even if you did make it sound nice.
If there was one way that the headmaster of the junior school could be kind, it was to a few of us from the Home, this was over the way our punishments were recorded. In the normal way, these would have gone into the punishment book.
Originally, when the School at the Home was closed down and pupils were sent to the schools in town, it was decided to keep a separate punishment book for those of us from the Home. This enabled the governor from the Home when he paid the odd visit to the school to easily find out which of his children needed to be kept an eye on.
This second book had now been replaced by loose sheets of paper, which were filed into the main punishment book at school. At the end of term when our reports were made out, the section on the report card shown, as 'Black marks' would have then been noted were left blank by the headmaster.
It was thought that a few of the Sisters might punish us again if such matters were shown on our reports; it was only the governor that knew of our misdeeds at school.

Another way of causing a nuisance was trying to get a lavatory in the boy's toilets to overflow. Over a period several of us had tried various attempts in trying to get enough water to remain in the pan to get it to flow over the top.
Stuffing extra paper into the pan seemed the only innocent way to get a pan to overflow, we could have quite easily blocked a pan with a book or abandoned item of clothing, but that would have been a too deliberate method and if caught, there would no excuse we could offer, we had to find a way of making it look a totally innocent matter if caught.
Over a few days two of us tried various amounts of toilet paper stuffed into various shapes and wedged into the base of the pan, on pulling the chain, the pan always filled almost to the brim, but there was never enough water to take it that last inch or so over the top, suddenly the amount of water would be enough to dislodge our blockage and the pan would return to its correct level.
Eventually we succeeded, the water reached to the top of the pan and did not run away, once the cistern had filled up again it was ready to complete the act, the pair of us pulled the chain together. The water overflowed the pan and started to run across the floor, we beat a hasty retreat, there were two different directions from the cubicles, and we each took different ways. I was unlucky at that very moment as a prefect was just checking that there was no mucking about, I ran into him. At first he might have thought I was simply running back to the playground, he then saw the water flowing across the floor.
My friend was sneaking out without getting noticed. Although there was only two years difference in ages between the prefect and myself, there was always the need to follow their instructions. I was soon found the mop and bucket and made to clear the water up, then I was taken to the headmaster, although I had actually flooded the area, there had been enough water finally to dislodge the blockage we caused.
I was given the benefit of the doubt over the matter and released to find other forms of mischief to practice.

The headmaster tried to find a method of improving my behaviour. On previous occasions the cane had been on his desk, from the point of spotting it to its actual use there had only been a short delay. As a boy who had just turned nine and in the second year of primary school, possibly the thought of frightening me might improve my ways. This time he went across to one of his filing draws, the cane was brought out together with a second cane. This other cane was the same length as the one he normally used. I was now told that this cane was normally reserved for boys in the top year. As I had not seemed to improve my ways it might be that for a future visit this other cane should be used. The thick cane was put away as a warning and the long thin cane was simply given to me. As this hurt and I was soon in tears I wondered how awful the other cane must be.
I now knew what the older boys meant when they asked had I ever been given the stinger or the thick one. Their thoughts were as we waited outside the headmasters door to be seen were, if you get the stinger you'll pee your pants, if you get the thick one you'll shit yourself. I was dreading the thick cane.

The biggest problem for me was if I was asked to bend over so my rear could be hit, other boys might have accidents due to fear, most of my very minor damp patches were simply down to bending over. On the days I wore dungarees and waterproofs, nothing was noticed by my friends.

We are still a problem
For our third year at the age of nine, we left our wooden hut for a new classroom. There was no available space for us in the main building. An odd solution was found for our class, if we were thought different by the original pupils, it was made more evident when a spare room was found at the far end of the playground, that it was actually in the senior school located next to our school set us apart even more. The double hut that we shared with the senior school had a thin wall that divided us from the metalwork class. Most of our lessons were quite noisy. In our new class we were treated to a set of new desks, they were totally different in design to anything we had seen. Underneath the lid where our books went the area was designed in an inverted 'L' format, this allowed the desks to take extra books. They were a little larger than our normal desks, so had probably been meant for the senior school rather than us juniors. If there was one poor design of these desks it was that no space for inkwells was provided. On the occasions we needed to use ink, we had the problem of keeping the inkwells safe. Odd spilt ink did get us into trouble. Another instruction the teacher decided on was that we were never to be seen sitting on our desks, she apparently thought it unhygienic.
The end of our lessons could cause a problem, our location meant we were unable to hear our school bell, if we did hear a bell it was that of the senior school, their lessons started and ended at different times to ours. At first our teacher sent us out when the senior bell went by mistake, we did get longer at play, in time our teacher made more use of her watch to decide when we should pack up and get ready to leave our room. 
At one point the rest of the school thought we were mad, it was due to a problem with a gas heater in our room. The exhaust vent had become blocked; it took a little while for the effects to be noticed by our teacher, if there was any clue we might have been a little quieter than normal. Our teacher's solution was to send us out into the middle of the playground during the middle of the lesson period and then encouraged us to run around in large circles making us much noise as we liked. After a time we returned to our room, the windows had all been left open during our activity to clear the room of fumes, none of us suffered any ill effects.
We spent a little of the time in the seniors end of the playground whilst we were waiting to go in, it gave us a very good view of how life would be for us in a couple of years time. The staff in the senior part seemed no more frightening than our teachers, they appeared to have some control when the senior boys were lining up to go in, but for most of us there seemed to be no real horrors awaiting us.
Their teachers could be as unpredictable as ours. Often a few of our football crazy members of our class were encouraged to join the older boys if there was a game going, the rest of us would watch simply to pass the time before our teacher would return to let us into our room. This time a ball went through one of the windows. Our junior members were totally innocent of the smashing of the glass, to be fair the seniors did not even try to put the blame on us when the teacher came out with the football. There was a little bit of shouting from the teacher until he found the culprit that had actually kicked the ball through the window. There seemed to be the punishment that he would be paying for the repair. All of us were now made to walk over to a small incinerator that was at the far side of the senior school playground; the master took out his penknife, punctured the ball and threw it into the incinerator. Without any further words he left us.
The older boys told us that were one of the risks you took if you brought your own footballs into school for use in break time. Senior school seemed to be similar in madness to our junior life, we would just have to wait for a couple of years to join them.

There was one benefit of our location; it was far enough from the main school not to be bothered by other members of staff from our school, the headmaster seldom ventured into our room. In a way it was like returning to the annex, to the rest of the school we did not exist.
There was one other odd matter about our room, other children did not normally get taught in our room. If we were in a lesson that was located in the main school, other classes would be normally sent to the class room you had left empty. We had total faith in leaving our property in our desks without the fear of finding it gone when we returned.
On arrival in the morning, when the register was taken our teacher had a wonderful method of a speedy completion of this task. Instead of the repetitive reading of our names for both the morning and afternoon registers, we were all told of the individual number that was next to our name.
At a selected moment the pupil with the first number would be signalled to call it out, in turn we would then call our own number out, allowing a short pause if someone was away and their number was not forthcoming.
The extra time we saved was useful for allowing for the journey time between our room and the main school for assembly.
On mornings of heavy rain, our teacher was reluctant to send us out, having arrived earlier and taken time to often change out of our wet clothes, it seemed a pointless exercise to put them on again, go for a short assembly and then return to then waste further time changing back out of our soaking clothes.
One of us would be chosen to take the carefully wrapped school register back to the office. It appeared that our presence in assembly was not really missed, except for the gap we caused in the middle of the hall due to our absence.
We found a way of annoying some of the staff in the main part of the school. Originally it had been unintentional, once we found that we could delay our lesson starting by receiving a telling off, a few of us found it fun to cause slight annoyance. With us been located in the hut at the far end of the playground, there was little need other than assembly to have any of our possessions in the main part of the school.
When we went for an art lesson all the equipment was in that room. If it was history both our text book and exercise books remained there, our only need was to bring our pen and pencil case, if anyone ever forgot a pencil was soon provided by the teacher.
Most of the other classes that were in the main building had their own areas for hanging their coats and a place for their boots and plimsolls. For us our designated area was in our hut. If it had been raining we needed somewhere to hang our coats, there was just enough room for us to add our coats to the pegs of the other children, sometimes a few coats fell onto the floor, if possible we saw to it that it was their coats rather than our own coats that fell down.
The days we could have fun on would be if a teacher that normally took us was away, the replacement teacher often did not realise that we were normally located in our remote hut.
On wet days a few of us were thought lazy in not changing out of our wellingtons when entering into the classroom, a group of us would then be sent out with the instruction to change into our shoes or plimsolls. None of us protested at the instruction.
All of us now took a very leisurely walk of almost a quarter of a mile to our room and back to comply with our instruction. Only on our return when received a rebuke for our delay did we explain where our room was.
We would have thought that each teacher would remember our antics, but quite often within a short while we were able to cause a similar delay. There were a few teaches that we would never have dared try on such an antic, but most were there for our fun and no punishments were ever given to us.


During the first couple of months with our class teacher I found her rather strict. Between her and the headmaster they managed to make my behaviour slowly to conform to their wishes.
The headmaster knowing my background possibly passed on the details to my teacher. He then preferred her to take care of me for all of my punishments, I think he must have been tired of all the visits I had made to him in the previous year.
My classmates would never pick our teacher as their favourite teacher, I became the exception and in an odd sort of way soon thought of her as the best teacher at that school. I was never given any special treatment or picked on as a favourite, but I soon learnt that I could be controlled with both discipline and praise. I was happy that I did not have to visit the headmaster. To me the winning qualification of our teacher was that she did not have favourite pupils, all were treated equally.

Talking during a lesson now was enough to get you into trouble. All of us until now had been use to extra work getting set for most of our wrong doings, now we would be hit with a ruler on our legs in front of everyone for all minor matters.
We could even risk punishment, if there was ever a request by us to visit the lavatory the middle of a lesson. There was slight torture from our teacher, it was the instruction always, to see if one could wait a little longer, if a second request was made by us, then we were often allowed out, as it was probably thought that there was a genuine need rather than to simply miss part of a lesson.
If you chose your moment near the very end of the lesson then the chances were that you were told to wait until the lesson ended. It took one girl in our class to really get our teacher angry, there were only a few minutes of the lesson left when the request was made. The expected answer from our teacher was No.
The girl was making a fuss by telling the teacher that she really did need to go. This annoyed our teacher, as the end of the lesson was the most important part when the final instructions were given out over any extra work we needed to do.
To end the nuisance the girl was given the ruler on her legs. Although we never actually cheered when a girl was hit, a few of us boys found it a wonderful sight, girls often would only get two hits on each leg, for most of us boys it was normally three on each leg.
The crying from the girl it was due to the genuine need to have gone for a pee. A large puddle formed within seconds of the first hit, our teacher then applied the other three hits as if nothing had happened.
A few of us were able to witness the accident, most of the others in our room were simply believing that the girl crying was due to the ruler having been used on her legs.
We did not really tease her, but the giggles and other actions came from a few of us. Silence was demanded within seconds by our teacher. A fit of the giggles is something I always found difficult to control. Once I had been set off the more requests for silence that were demanded; the more difficult it was for me to stop. 
At this moment the end of the lesson was announced. The teacher told the girl to go and find something to change into, while the rest of the class were also gaining their freedom a few of us were motioned to come to her desk.  We were now given a good telling off for making fun of the girl. Four of us were now rewarded with a good slap around the legs with her ruler, and then sent off for our break. Once outside we had a bit of a laugh about the events, even though we were in tears.

Our teacher had the style of showing you off to the rest of the class when you were to be punished, simply hitting you on the hand was not good enough, often it was to be told to stand on your chair where the tender muscle area on the calf of your leg became the target for the ruler.
Her choice of ruler was one that would hurt the most, instead of our normal twelve inch rulers our teacher selected her eighteen inch ruler that was used to rule off the wide school register.
This punishment to me was far more painful than if it had been given on the hand. Last year I had originally tried to solve this problem by wearing my knee length wellingtons in class to avoid this form of punishment; there was the hope that she would use the ruler on my hand. Eventually my turn had come around for punishment.
As my short trousers came down to my knee joint and the top of my boots almost up to my knee joint, there was no real target for her to aim at. Rather than admit defeat of hitting my legs in front of the entire class, I had been sent to the headmaster for punishment. I knew I had lost.
His preferred treatment for minor matters was to use a plimsoll on your rear. I had left his room with the warning that if I was sent to him again by my teacher it would be the cane I would receive.
The most difficult part of his punishments were to try to follow the instruction to bend over and touch my toes. I was tall thin and quite agile but I simply found it impossible, all I could do was bend down to and touch half way down my lower leg.

As most of my lessons were with our teacher, it gave me the most chances of attention over any poor behaviour, apart from the single time I had been sent by her to the headmaster for punishment, I was now seen by her for my wrong doings.
Punishment wise I was more embarrassed to be hit in front of others, I was apt to show my tender feelings, crying in front of my class was far worse in my mind than the original punishment.
My friends were able to be brave they did not often show their true feelings. When our teacher decided that a punishment with a ruler was not the correct method, you were simply requested to remain after the rest of the class had been dismissed.
Most of my punishments were now after the lesson had finished. Alone with the teacher it allowed for a more involved telling off that would not have been possible during a lesson period.
Questioned in this way it might be possible to have a good enough reason for ones behaviour, this then allowed release without any punishment.
A few in our class found that there was one stage worse than the ruler on the legs. With all the other lady teachers in the school, if a punishment like the cane was necessary, they would send you to the headmaster to be seen. Our teacher seemed to be the exception. If I was a nuisance I never really learnt to behave at this school.
Each time I was questioned over my latest activity, I never seemed to be able to explain why I did so many things that they disapproved of. The events just seemed to happen; it was never my intention to be disruptive in any way. I was afraid of class punishments. To me it was the shame of letting the rest of the class see me in tears.
Our teacher could use the threat of punishment, the ruler was always on the top of her desk, if we were comming close to it been used, she would often tap it lightly on the desk, if we had any sence we would then behave.
The cane was never brought out to threaten us with, she used the fear of those that had already received it, to announce to others that it was kept in her draw and would be taken out when you were to be given it. This was a very good way of keeping the fear of such a punishment in our minds.
A few of our friends never did believe us when we told them about our teacher keeping a cane in her desk, they always thought it was only the headmaster or a couple of the masters that ever gave you the cane.
The few of us that had received the cane from our teacher simply were in hope that the non believers would soon be shown it, but in the normal way these were friends that never even got as far as getting hit with the ruler due to their constant good work.

In my mind the cane that our teacher used did not really count as a cane. It was not the long bamboo cane that I had experienced in the headmasters office or at other schools I had attended. It was a shorter thinner smooth cane about the same length as her ruler.
With this cane given by our teacher, there was a second advantage for me. As it was not the official junior school cane, but as she referred to it as the ‘infants’ cane’, there was never the need to enter it onto the punishment pages, only when the official junior school cane was given, did it have to be recorded. The governor from the Home when he paid his visits to our school would not know of my deeds.
I was just happy the cane was always given without an audience. Our teacher had two methods of using the cane, if the punishment needed to be a little harsher than the ruler used on the legs then the cane was used on your hands.
Hit on the legs with the cane was really painful, it seemed to sting for such a long time afterwards and the marks could last for several days.
There was often the request by our teacher that we should pull down our socks, this exposed the flesh of our legs just below the knee, allowing more pain to be felt. In a way I was happy over this order, once your socks were pulled up after the punishment, there was no sign of having had the cane.
If you had gone a stage further than the cane on your legs, it was then given on your hands. The cane could land anywhere from the centre of your palm to across your fingers, if just your fingers were struck then it did really hurt. In our gang of four, we seemed as individuals to be the most regular ones for these after lesson punishments.
Our teacher was quite capable of making one cry simply with an extended telling off, there were few in our class that could take a telling off that lasted more than ten minutes without crumbling.
When we met the rest of the class outside, on many occasions we allowed them to think it had been a telling off we had received. If I announced that I had been given the cane, the infomation might get back to the Houseparent, I did not want a second punishment for getting into trouble at school. If the cane was given on your legs you normally stood on the floor, it allowed her to get a much longer strike at your legs. Three on each leg was the maximum I ever received
.

Most of the reasons for getting the cane from my class teacher were due to minor squabbles with others or causing general disruption, my temper was often the starting point.
Once however I was given the cane for a simple spelling mistake. It might have seemed rather a harsh treatment, but I had been warned on an earlier occasion, that it might happen. The offending word was 'Because' an error on earlier occasions was to omit the final 'e'.
The first few times I was given the regular correction in my book together with the slip of paper with a selection of the miss-spelt words correctly printed, the task was then to write out the word correctly ten times.
After this word had appeared in my list of words to write out several times, the next time I was rewarded with the punishment of having to write it out a hundred times followed by the threat that next time I spelt it wrong the punishment would hurt.
For the next few lessons I did try to get it right, but it was not long before my error was spotted again. When my book was handed back to me, instead of the normal slip of paper with the list of spellings for me to copy out, the slip simply told me to see her at the end of the lesson. I could guess the reason; in the middle of my work was the word with a big red circle.
The end of the lesson came. I could not really believe that I was going to be hit for just a spelling mistake. There was a slight telling off, followed by the comment that if there was one word I would learn to spell correctly it would be this one.
The cane came out of the draw, and two hits were soon given across each leg. I was in tears both of anger and pain; I could not help it that I was poor at spelling.
I was given the instruction that this might get me to remember how to spell words correctly. I left the room in tears, once out with friends, I could not admit to been given the cane for such a minor matter. Those I met up with simply thought our teacher had given me one of her sever telling offs.

To allow the Houseparent to see my legs after I had been caned would have been a disaster. Once back in the Home the Houseparent would only get the chance to see the marks on my legs if I was having a bath or undressing, on these days I remained out of her sight.
I only once came close to letting the Houseparent know I had been given the cane on the legs by my teacher, I had a couple of souvenir photographs from one of the medical tests, these had been taken some time after receiving the cane, the three marks on each leg were still visible.
One extra photograph had been taken from the rear to show the injury to my leg from the gun pellet, that the marks from the cane showed up was a total accident.
It was just luck that the photographs were sent round to my flat a week after the tests, on a day when the Houseparent was busy and did not take a close look at the photos.

I made a small change to the photographs by cutting the lower section off, my excuse would be so that it would fit into my album.
 I returned to wearing my long wellingtons in class so that my legs could not be used as the target, all my punishments from the teacher were given in the severest form on the hand.

I was difficult to punish, it was when my hand was to be hit. To make it easy on me I was normally told the number of strokes I would be receiving, this meant I knew that half would be given on each hand. I was a bit of a coward, until now when punishments on the hand had been given to me, I had always tried to look away.
As part of the punishment from my teacher, I was now required to look at the cane hitting my hand. The problem I had was of fast reactions, it was simply an instinct to move my hand at the moment the cane started to travel in the downward direction. If I had reacted in this way with any other teacher there would have been trouble, our teacher was the exception, I merely had to return my hand to the correct position.
The strokes hit the desired target after my first single retraction. There was pain, but it was never given with excessive force by her when my hands were hit.
Once over I was allowed to sit down, where a little more about my poor behaviour was discussed. I would now find my teacher consoling me and explaining that it was not her intention to make me cry, it was simply that she had run out of options of how to curb my bad behaviour.
With any other teacher that had ever punished me, there was always hatred in my mind after the event. The cane given by my teacher did hurt, but I was unable to feel dislike for her in any way. I was happier that none of my friends had been around to witness my punishment.
Only once did I feel that I had been punished in a more severe way than normal, that had been on one of the days I was given the cane on my legs, that time it had really hurt, it might have been on a day when she was angry with others and had taken it out on me.

The only time the others in the flat knew I had been given the cane was after the youngest girl had complained to her teacher that I had bullied her.
Each day I had to take her to and from school, compared with my fast walking pace she was slow, on several occasions I became cross over her delaying either my arrival at school or on the way back to the Home.
When the girl told here teacher of my actions, it was soon reported to my teacher, At the end of the day when the lesson ended I was given the cane.
The worst thing about the punishment was that straight away I needed to go and walk with the girl back to the Home. There was no time for me to get over my tears from the cane. As I had upset a girl my teacher had decided that three hits on each hand was the deserved punishment.
The walk back to the Home was awful, letting a younger girl see I was in tears was bad enough, but having to walk back to the Home with the girl that had caused me to get the cane was the worst punishment ever.
During the journey back the girl kept telling me she was sorry. I could guess that she was worried that I might hit her over the matter.
All I could think of was the punishment I would now get from the Houseparent when I entered the flat. We arrived at the Home as friends.
When I was inside the flat I told the Houseparent I had been given the cane for upsetting the girl. The Houseparent appeared to take the punishment I had received as ending the matter. I was told that it was hoped that I had learnt my lesson. From that point on the girl made no complaint that I was bullying her.

During the year with our teacher, I only saw one entire class punishment. We had been in our room on a hot summer day, the windows were open, but we were still rather restless after the afternoon break.
With the hot weather none of us had done much running about, we now were not really in the mood for any real lessons.
We were not in very happy, due to our swimming lesson having been cancelled, this was not due to our fault in any way but due to a problem at the local swimming pool. Had we brought our P.E. kit today, the lesson could have been changed to P.E., but with no kit only an ordinary work lesson was possible.
There was another reason why we were not interested in lessons, several of our class were away sick, any lessons we did today would probably be repeated when the others returned, so to most of us there was not really any point in work.
During the afternoon there had been several requests for us to get on with our work, for a few of us our regular misbehaviour would simply get us punished at the end of the lesson, it was something we just took as part of our normal day, we could muck about up to a point, but then we knew we were in trouble.
Our teacher could have quite easily separated the few of us that were up to mischief in this last part of the afternoon, but as there would be complaints from those that were to be punished telling on the ones that the teacher was thinking of innocent. Our teacher now gave us what we had always been threatened with in the form of the class punishment.
It was not as bad as it could have been as it was just the ruler that was used. Punishment wise from our teacher the ruler had not been used on me for many months now, I had the status with a couple of my friends of the cane used as our normal method of reprimand.
I would really have liked it if we were all to be given the cane. In a way going back to the ruler on the legs was a disappointment, it sounded a softer punishment, but to me there was as much pain with the ruler on the legs as the teacher using the cane on my hand.
We were told to put away our books and sit to attention. Slowly our teacher worked her way around our class, in pairs we were told to stand on our chairs and the ruler was applied twice on each leg.
There were less than twenty so it did not take that long to see to us all. A couple of us might have thought that the ruler was given with less force on a few from our class, the girls and a couple of the boys who were never in trouble seemed to us to have it quite lightly applied.
The tears from the girls were more from the humiliation than the pain. As the majority were crying, we did not really feel any shame at joining in. There was still some of the lesson left, all we were allowed to do was sit at our desks and slowly recover ourselves before going home time. The punishment was not that bad, the four hits just stung, our legs might be a little itchy for a time, but within a short while any red marks would have vanished.
Once I was back at the Home there would be nothing for the Houseparent to see. When out teacher judged the end of the school day we were all released, there was little evidence of any of us had been crying, any redness in our eyes had gone, if our legs itched a little it was nothing to complain about.
Most of us were more eager to find friends from other classes to tell them of the punishment we had all been through, none of us admitted to our friends that we had been in tears. That everyone had been punished was the main event to boast about. When the remaining members of our class returned it would be something we could tell them about with pride.
We had this teacher for the year and I was reasonably happy, even if my punishments were more than the previous year, having managed to get the ruler from her half a dozen times and the cane about eight times.
At the end of the school year, we said farewell to our teacher. Our main thoughts were what we were going to do during the long school holidays. I had been told that for most of the hoildays I would be allowed to stay in London.

Games
Although I was energetic, the games lesson was never one of my favourite parts of the day, at the annex without any playing field there had been little problem, at this school there was a large playing field.
The games master was keen on football, only during the worst weather was a games lesson transferred to the gym. Simply down to our numbers there were more than enough to play a serious game of football under his supervision, the remaining failures were packed off to the far end of the games field, to organise our own game, as long as we appeared to be active, little attention was paid to us.
On occasions if too many were away, it was possible to find you were joining the main game. To me Right Back position gave the least chance of touching the ball, if it came in your direction the goalkeeper on our side was welcome to have it.
With no real interest in football, there never was the need to own a pair of football boots, either school shoes or plimsolls were worn, several complaints from Sister came my way for the state I managed to get my shoes into after such a game.
The other boys in our flat always requested football boots for Christmas or birthday presents, no such request was ever uttered from my lips. The games teacher however felt I should be suitably equipped. I was presented with a pair of second hand football boots, these must have been hidden for years, none of the others had anything like them, I was quite happy that they came up to your ankles and protected them, the studs were not small neat plastic additions but solid leather and nailed studs.
There was a warning from the games teacher that I should not kick anyone, as I would have been lethal. That they were old fashioned I did not really mind, it was that the games master sold them to me, it took part of my pocket money for a whole month to pay for them. Lugging them to school each week from this point on they were worn only on odd occasions.
Other activities like swimming and P.E. were how I preferred any sporting activity to be, allow us full use of the equipment in the gym and a whole afternoon would have been ideal in my mind.
Many long P.E. lessons were seldom completed though, I had the ability to fall of a beam if it was six inches off the ground, but major falls from high up on the equipment never seemed to occur. It was these minor falls that often had me seated on a chair at the side with a cloth or a selection of paper towels stopping a nosebleed.
Any sport that involved a small hard ball was a risk for me. Rounders and cricket often had me getting hit with the ball. Both batting and catching gave the same chance of getting struck. I thought I could work out where the ball was going to be, but often I simply lost sight of the ball when it came close to me. One of the dreaded days was the sports day.
On my own I was quite active, in front of others was not my idea of fun. At least two events were to be entered, how I allowed myself to do hurdles, long jump and the obstacle race I did not know. The hurdles went quite well, normally this had been an activity I was good at, my height and long legs had the advantage over my friends.
My current poor performance was due to the small metal gun pelet that was in my knee giving me pain each time I landed. The long jump was a bit of a failure, the obstacle race did have its benefits, a dry biscuit had to be eaten then a balloon blown up until it burst, if I was able to cheat slightly it was only partly blowing up the balloon then digging it with my finger, unlike most of my friends that chewed their nails, my sharp claws were put to good use, second in a sporting event showed that I did try to win.

Swimming was the best way of spending a P.E. or games lesson. At the main school there was more planning, so we knew the day before to bring our swimming things to school.
There was a slight problem for me it was keeping my swimming trunks safe, it was thought by all great fun to hide someone's trunks, at the very last moment they would be found and the victim was able to go on the lesson, for me it was not so much the teasing, but if the trunks ever became totally lost, Sister or the Houseparent would not replace them that easily.
To make sure I always possessed them I wore them under my school shorts. I was not the only one, a few of my friends were a little shy of the communal changing rooms, getting undressed in front of others was always a bit of a worry. For those of us from the Home there was no such problem.
Most swimming days I would dress in the Home completely omitting my underwear, and putting my trunks on instead, it was during undressing that my friends could tease me, I found the baggier style of underpants more comfortable than the modern style, for the others it was something to tease me over. If I did not want to be a victim, it would be to join with the others who would find one unfortunate member of our class who had used the lavatory at some point in the day to tease. Many of our friends that were not at the Home had never perfected the wiping of their bottoms if the school lavatory had been visited. Most were use to soft toilet paper and found the school supply of almost greaseproof paper on a roll an impossible thing to manage with. A few of us were use to such a barbaric commodity. Tossing the underpants of some hapless victim around the changing room at the end of a swimming lesson, could easily reduce a boy to tears.
At the end of the swim, providing you managed to get most of the water out of the trunks there was never really a problem when you put your school shorts back on. As our lesson was often at the end of the day, damp shorts did not really matter, even if there was still a lesson in class, it was not really any discomfort and we could make fun of each other if the dampness showed through.

School Treat

At the start of the school year we had been promised that those who were good would be able to go on a camping trip organised by the school after half term. Boys would go first and a few weeks after the girls could go.
Now that we were ten the school thought we were old enough to be without our parents for a week, the pair of us from the Home this treat delayed until we were this age was a bit soppy.
The teacher went on to tell us that a few of us might not be very happy to leave their parents and there might be a few boys who had problems at night they would not like their close friends to know about, all such matters could be sorted out later, it would be nice to see if all of us wanted to go. A few sniggers went round the room at the teacher's comments; it was easy to see that none of us wanted it to be thought that they did not want to go on the trip for whatever reason.
Our teacher announced that both the classes in our year would be able to go, however there were not enough places to enable all of us to go on the trip. Our results at half term would be the deciding factor.  Those twenty that were short listed would be told before the end of half term.
Together with a couple of friends we decided firmly that we would like to go on the camping trip. We doubted that we would be chosen, if our going on the trip was based on our marks and that we were in competition with the ''A''  form then the chances were that they would all go and any remaining places would go to either the brightest or best behaved ones from our class.
Hope was given to us by our teacher, a few pupils might not want to go and a few pupils might find their parents not willing to allow them to go.
There was also a little matter about funding of the trip, our accommodation and food would have to be paid for.
A letter asking permission and giving out more facts and costs was handed to us; these were to be returned as soon as possible. A few of us did try to behave almost immediately, but in our minds the teachers had already made up their minds.
On handing the form to the Houseparent it appeared that it would be all right for me to go, provided I saved enough of my pocket money to pay for it all.
Once back at school almost everyone had their forms ready. I was a little embarrassed in handing back my form, part of the form had listed a section on medical conditions. The Houseparent had clearly ticked the box marked Bed wetting with a ballpoint pen, so there was no way I could rub it out. With the problems I had on holiday in the summer and the odd regular accidents that happened in the flat, I was not going to be allowed to forget it easily. It was just luck that our forms could be handed in folded over. With this noted on my form it would probably end any chance of me getting anywhere near the top of the list to be selected.
It was simply a long wait until our results were announced. The final day came when our results were given out. Our teacher at this stage told us that our results over who was going was not simply based on who had the best marks, it was also based on how well behaved we had been this year.
Equal numbers of our class and the ''A'' class would be going. As it would be unfair to simply tell us who was not going due to their results. A selection of names of those who were thought to be of good enough behaviour would be drawn from a hat.
Our teacher told us that there was a selection of our names on pieces of paper these would now be drawn, those names not drawn would be kept safe, if any of those selected dropped out then more names would be selected.
During the selection of names before break we were all excited, from the names that the teacher selected I wondered if the draw was quite fair, those who were going did not seem either to be the brightest or best behaved. I had to agree when the final name was drawn that the matter was completely fair as my name was selected.
Although I was pleased that I was going to go on the camping trip, there was the dread that it meant that others in my class might find out that I sometimes wet the bed, there was almost the wish that my name had not been picked out.
Eventually the day came and we arrived at the camp. We were not the only ones two other schools were also there.
In total there were just fifty of us. Originally we might have thought we would be sleeping in tents as on our list of the things we were two bring had been two sleeping bags, for those of us from the Home, our Sisters had borrowed them from the Scout pack who were not needing them at the moment. Most of our friends had new sleeping bags, with ours been in well used condition it looked as if we had already been to camp before.
We were all told that we would sleep in one large hut, this was slightly divided into sections to give us groups of around eight beds in a section. The adults had decided that as we were going to be doing all our activities together, we need not be split up by school, but in a random order.
First all the money we had brought with us was collected up and the amount written down, this would be returned as and when we needed it. We were given the warning that we were to make sure that we had no money left on us, if we had and it became lost or stolen, they were not going to do anything about it. A general warning that matches, lighters an cigarettes were not allowed, if we had them, we should give them to an adult today, from tomorrow after breakfast any one found with them would be punished.
The other boys from our school might have been a little unsettled to be split up from friends at night, but as the groups were made up at least we knew two others from school, we might not be best friends but at least we were not to be totally alone. The adults had given each set a letter, we each had a card with a corresponding letter and a number of 1 - 8, our beds would each have a number, we were not to choose other beds or swap cards with each other. These were going to be our beds for the entire camp.
We had been instructed to take our possessions and just put them on our beds then meet up again in the main hall. Left alone we headed into the hut. As we walked around the hut to find our own beds, there was a fit of the giggles from most, but total silence from a few. Each bed had a rubber sheet on top of each mattress. At first I thought they had just been put on the beds of those of us that had returned our forms marked bedwetting. As we went the entire length of the hut, every bed had a rubber sheet.
Not really knowing most of the other boys in my section, it took a few minutes to challenge each other as to did they need a rubber sheet on their own bed. It was just by luck that I was in a section with another boy from the Home. It was easy to reply that all of in the children's home had a rubber sheet on their bed whether we needed it or not. A few of the other six denied they needed them, but two seemed to admit they still had them on their beds.
We soon returned to the main hut. We were given a lecture to the activities and chores we needed to do each day. Next the matter of our beds came about. We were told that there was no shame if any of us wet the bed at night, and we should tell the staff if we were teased by anyone. The reason that every bed had a waterproof sheet on the mattress was that they knew there would be some of us that wet the bed, it was also known from previous camping groups, that pupils that normally did not have a problem whilst at home would start to wet the bed whilst at camp.
The fear I had if possible teasing for a wet bed now vanished, I think a few of those around me seemed to be relieved that there was not really a problem. We were now told this was the reason we had two sleeping bags with us. If we had an accident at night, the following morning we were to wash them out and hang them out to dry. The chances were they would not be fully dry by the evening, we could then use our second bag that night.
The rest of the day was spent eating and been shown around the camp before been sent off for a final wash and a visit to the lavatories. An early night tonight would make sure we were ready for the following morning. On other nights we would go to bed as a single group, if we had not been up to mischief we would get later bed times, if we caused problems, then it would be an early night for all.
Eventually we were in our sleeping bags, once settled the light would be turned off and would stay off. If we needed to visit the lavatory, we should use the torch we should have with us, to find our way out of the hut. We were to shine the torch on the floor and not to shine it at others in bed, if we did, the torch would be taken from us and we would have to manage in the dark.
Silence at night was not demanded, but we should keep it as quiet as possible, during the night.
Eventually the lights went out and in our section we generally chatted about what we thought of the camp so far. Slowly the general chatter thought the hut died down. During the night, there was the movement of boys trying to find their way out of the hut, then the more difficult task of finding their own bed afterwards.
With the memory of the summer holiday with our own group and wetting my bed nine nights in a row. I was determined to try and make it to the lavatory if I really needed a pee. At some part during the night I woke up, it was not a major accident, but the effort of trying to sleep on my side in the sleeping bag had been impossible. If I ever lay on my front at night there was always an accident. The thought of now trying to get out of my sleeping bag, go for a pee and then return to a slightly damp sleeping bag, seemed no fun at all. With the adults knowledge that some of us would wet the bed, and the thought from a couple of our section that they still had rubber sheets on their own beds, I decided a wet bed did not really matter.
The following morning we were mostly awake before we had to get up. within minutes all in our section were awake and chatting. Eventually it came around to who went for a walk to the lavatory last night and who has wet sleeping bag. A score of six wet bags might not be the record for a section, as there were not going to be any punishments or extra chores then what did it matter. A few now admitted that their own beds were fitted with rubber sheets as they still needed them.
Soon all were woken up by a member of staff walking through the hut making sure we were all awake and read for our morning wash. It was easy for all of us to go through to the shower block whether we needed it or not. Wet sleeping bags and our pyjamas should be taken to that laundry hut first, we could deal with them after our shower.
No actual question as to who had wet the bed was asked, which might have saved embarrassment had we not already know who was wet. As we took our bags and pyjamas out of the hut we were not alone, well over half that had soaking sleeping bags.
There was not any teasing by the others, just thoughts from those that had made the journey out of the hut during the night that they need not have bothered.
With all the events of the days at camp, wetting our beds at night was not really a problem. I could have got up at night when I found I needed to go, although I was dry at the time, wetting the bed was easier than leaving the hut. With no punishment with the slipper for wetting my bed, in my mind it mattered little, with rubber sheets on all our beds, none of us had done any damage to our mattresses. The staff never made any note as to who had wet the bed, so the chances were that it would never get back to the Houseparent.
By the end of camp my bed had been wet on several nights, but like most of my section and possibly the whole hut, if nothing was said to parents and the Home when we returned, then the relaxed attitude the adults had over bedwetting was ideal. On the last night we were given a spare set of sheets or sleeping from the camp's own supply, we were all able to leave with our own dry bedding and no hint that we had wet the bed during the holiday.
When we returned to school and met up with our classmates that had not gone to the camp, at first all we told them about all the good events that had gone on, which made them quite jealous about not been chosen.
Eventually someone mentioned that we had rubber sheets on the beds in camp, it was not long before several of us were questioned about did we wet the bed during camp. None of us lied, we gave them plenty of reasons about darkness, outside toilets, a long walk through the dorm etc., that seemed to give them enough reason not to tease us over the matter.
Although we were spread all through the hut and might not have any witnesses, there was none that claimed that they did not wet the bed. Most thought that going away from their parents for the first time was the main cause.
Those of us that had been to camp formed into a little group some of the time, those who had not been to camp were not welcome. One of the matters we asked each other, was had the staff made any reports to parents about their behaviour and their bedwetting. At seemed that the only item to be sent to their parents was a note asking if any clothing or personal items gone missing during the holiday, no bad reports about us or us wetting the bed had been made. I admitted that there were still wet beds since I returned, but not as many as during camp. A couple admitted that they still needed their rubber sheets. One of our group told us that he had not wet his bed for a long time before our camp, now he had a couple of wet beds, he said his mother was not very pleased, but did not say much about it.

The rubber sheet on our beds
.

If you were not tall, trying to get your rubber sheet to go under your mattress was difficult.
You needed one boy to lift the mattress up, whilst you pushed the rubber sheet evenly under the mattress.
On these beds we were told not to tuck the rubber sheets under the mattress as the springs were quite sharp and might damage them.

Last year of junior school
During my final year at school, the plans were in preparation as to which school we would attend when we left the junior school. For our class there was going to be little change to our group. As the eleven plus examinations had finished in this area, most would simply move across to the senior school that was located on the other side of the playground.
A small number of the 'A' stream that would transfer to the other senior school in the town, this was regarded by the rest of us as the school you went to if you were aiming at the science or secretarial type work when you left school and would leave at the age of sixteen or seventeen having done an extra year at school.
In the Home a small number were sent to the junior school there and would normally transfer to that senior school automatically.
A few of the 'A' stream were a little upset that they might not be going with the majority from their class to the nearby Secondary school with the rest of us, for them it was starting a school in a different location.
It was odd, I was now told that I would be going to this other senior school. If they had any worries about me not wanting to go to that school, there were none from me, in my view there would be no problems of a different school to my friends.
The other reason that I was happy to go to a different senior school, was that I would not go to the same school as the four older ones from our flat went to, they would not get the chance to pick on me at school as well as the Home.
I was quite looking forward to the following year of changing to a new school and making a fresh start. If plans could change, it was announced around Christmas that I would not be going to that school after all, but would be going to a different school where more practical subjects were concentrated on. I was the only one going to that school.
The test I had been taken to a few months ago seemed to have had some part in this idea. If I was to be made more of an exception it was that I would be able to leave this junior school early next year, once I had reached eleven years of age. This would allow me to settle into the format of the new school. When the school restarted in September, I would be able to start in the first year officially with a good grounding of their routine.
On explaining to my friends the idea that the school had over my education, all felt that it seemed odd. Leaving junior school before them and starting my new school early in the year was something that I was looking forward to, none of my friends could persuade me otherwise.

Senior School

Senior school. Age 11.
Starting a new school was something I was quite use to, the Houseparent reassured me that if I had any problems I should tell as soon as I returned from school.
On my arrival there did not seem to be any problems to me that I was the youngest, as I was now actually eleven, there were others of that age, that they were a few months older did not seem to matter to me. My height was an advantage, I was equal to many in my form and even in the year above.
Lessons were interesting and I soon made several new friends. The teachers treated us in a similar manner to those that I had met at the boarding school with more freedom given to us. However warnings were given only once, then it seemed that punishments would follow. I was expecting to be picked on by the older boys for joining part way into the school year, but all around me seemed to find nothing unusual over the way I was joining them.
It was never realised by the majority of the older boys when I told them that my birthday had been at the start of January, that I had only become eleven, it was simply thought that I was equal to the few that had reached twelve in my year.
The teachers did not treat me in a different way, so I found it quite easy to fit in with their lessons. Half the lessons were with us sitting at desks other lessons were chemistry, woodwork and several other practical studies that did not involve having to copy from the blackboard.
I had been seen by the teachers and they understood that my attendance was really to get me settled in school rather than for first year work, it was hoped that when I officially started my first year in a few months time I would be ready for serious work. My stay at this school however was very short lived as I was now told I could leave the Home.

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//www.theirhistory.co.uk

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