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My Memories of Mapperley School by Vanessa Warrington

The Education Office want you to go to Mapperley School on Monday as Acting Head - 1980

It has been so lovely looking at all the photos on the website and remembering the faces and seeing the names.
Every face I recall with a smile . . . I so wonder what they are all doing now . . . Now that they are grown up too!!!

How do I begin . . . indeed where do I begin . . .

Well I was 30! So that’s 32 years ago!

I was Deputy Head at a school in Ilkeston and on a Friday afternoon the Head says the Education Office want you to go to Mapperley School from Monday as Acting Head- not sure how long for!

I spent the whole weekend in the school with husband John helping to get to grips with my new classroom! This little village school was very different from Cotmanhay! It was when I first understood the meaning of a new challenge --- I had no time to panic!

The children were an absolute delight; I think we had 28 on roll in total which was 8 less than in my last class! I was in charge of the Juniors, which I think was about 20. I remember thinking this is going to be easy after a class of 36 - little did I realise! But I learnt very fast indeed - I had to because they were all so sharp and keen to learn!
I remember my very first assembly with the vicar, we were all in deep prayer and suddenly the phone started to ring very loudly indeed, only it was on the desk on the opposite side of the room from where I was standing . . . Just when I was wondering what on earth do I do now a very bright top junior girl picked up the phone and said “We can’t speak now we‘re praying”  put the phone down and we all just carried on!
Then there was the time when my teaching colleague Audrey was ill and I had the whole school together (28) another of the junior girls came up beside me seeing me with a group of infants showing me their writing and whispered “Miss, they can’t write like us you have to help them with their spelling” Thank you very much said I - Little did she know that my last class were infants!!

I remember being very proud and excited to increase the number of pupils on roll when I persuaded a local Secondary Head that Mapperley was a much better choice for his daughter than the big Scargill School.

I particularly remember trying to remember all the right questions to ask when suddenly there was a squeak and to my horror there was a mouse running along the window sill. At first I tried to ignore it but then it ran up the curtains too!!! The mother and I spent the next half an hour trying to catch the mouse whilst Audrey kept the children focused! We never did catch it!

I remember trying to learn how to sing ‘Oh Canada’, and to teach the children as Audrey insisted it was a very important annual event . . .

I remember taking PE on the field, well actually I was supposed to be teaching football - thank goodness the children were so good . . .
I remember doing PE on apparatus in the church and it being such a very clever building. I remember Harvest Festival and Christmas concerts there too.

I remember we had a fund raising event and we desperately needed some money . . . And the cellar was full of coal and the school now had a gas boiler . . . I remember bagging up that coal and selling it and praying nobody turned up from the Education Office to catch me in the act! We raised a lot of money and made a lot of new friends as I probably sold it much too cheaply!!!

I remember we were all very excited and honoured to be asked by the Shipley Rangers to help in planting trees along the road through Shipley Park to celebrate the Queen Mother’s 80th Birthday. This also lead to us linking up with Coppice Primary. I think that was where Tony Treseder used to teach!

There was a very strong and vocal PTA who at the very first meeting (which was within a week of my arrival) were ready to do battle to defend their school and their right to choose a Head – and who was I anyway? And how long was I there for and would I be the new Head? Audrey was wonderful as were all the Team of Jean, the secretary; Mollie and Kath who served up lunches and Sylvia who kept everywhere spick and span and support from Mrs Tooley. There was also a wonderful lady who came in to play the piano, she sent her children to Scargill, but was very keen to help and was wonderful!

What might have been a few weeks turned into a full year, whilst the Education Office considered the school’s future . . . !

The experience at Mapperley changed me in so many ways.

  • I learnt so much from everyone who came to be such a big part of school life – not just the children and their parents, but all the staff and governors and friends of the school.
  • Most of all how important it is for a school to be at the heart of its community no matter how big or small that school or community is.

I remember how much I loved being in a school which was at the heart of village life and really understanding the meaning of being a community school. In all my career that followed those were the values that shaped the leader I strived to be!

I cried buckets when I left not just because I was leaving, but because I was so over whelmed by the gifts of Ainsley China, I received which I still treasure and adorn my dining room.

Thank you Mapperley for such happy days!

Vanessa Warrington

February 2012


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