A day at the beach with Year 4 by Angela Caldin

Yesterday I went as a helper for my granddaughter’s class on an outing for the whole of her year to a nearby beach. There are 26 in her class and there are five classes in the year, making a total of about 130 children aged 8 to be transported, supervised and occupied for five hours or so until the return to school. There were five teachers and various helpers who each had a group of five children to look after. The organisation required before and during was mind boggling and I wholeheartedly… Read More

The Wimp’s progress by Trevor Plumbly

Systematic selection As technology continues to herd us into a convenient mass to maintain its influence, let’s spare a thought for the poor sods struggling to survive under the thumb of the ‘wimps’. These previously insignificant little buggers now rule cyberspace. Such folk were once the dross of the school system; in those days  ‘average’ set the standard for academic achievement, above or below that attracted unhealthy attention. Thus the more active thugs were labelled ‘misfits’ and those unable to fit in either slot were deemed to have a ‘nervous disposition’ i.e…. Read More

The Smart social barometer by Emily Smart

Step back in time I’ve been thinking a lot about my school days recently and, in particular, the two years I spent at sixth form college between the ages of 16-18. Having left my secondary school, which really was a mixed bag of youngsters, I then moved to a rather exclusive college which was full of ex-private school kids who had bags of money, attitude and posh accents. Strangely, I immediately felt at home there and thoroughly enjoyed making new friends and having fun. Oh, and writing the odd essay or two,… Read More

Nearer my God to thee by Trevor Plumbly

Dear Schoolteachers It is some sixty-odd years since you attempted to shape my mind and I thought my recollection of your efforts might be of interest. Despite your forecasts, I never quite made it as a delinquent; I lacked the stomach for deprivation and, as was the norm in those days, for physical punishment. In an early attempt, I remember standing around a pedal organ with three other snot-nosed street urchins belting out ‘Jesus wants me for a sunbeam’: I became fascinated by the organ stops: they were black and shiny with… Read More

The sweet villa of Highwic by Angela Caldin

In the middle of bustling Newmarket, between some stylish shops and a multi-storey carpark, there is a hidden gem which you might drive past time after time without noticing the entrance to it. It’s the beautiful villa of Highwic, home to generations of the Buckland family from 1861 to 1978 and now run by Heritage New Zealand as a historic house museum. I went there this morning with a lively bunch of children of different ages and we had a very good time indeed. Victorian fertility Alfred Buckland and his wife Eliza… Read More