A new day, a new thing

My goal to learn something new every day

Day 18: Primary school days

Today, I learned that this photo still exists, in someone’s draw, somewhere:

IMG-20150118-WA0001

It’s a photo from when I was in primary school. Well, it’s a photo of a photo from when I was in primary school to be exact. A friend of my sister’s uploaded it to Facebook recently.

It was taken in 1997, during my last year at primary school. I was just 11 years old at the time. See if you can spot me. Bonus points for anyone who can spot my two sisters as well (I have four sisters, but only two are in the picture). The school is called Ysgol Gynradd Ciliau Parc (Welsh) / Ciliau Parc Primary School (English), and is located in rural Wales in a (very) small village called Ciliau Aeron.

Dictionary corner

  • Ysgol is Welsh for school, and is pronounced ‘us-gol’, where the ‘o’ is similar to that in the English word ‘pot’.
  • Gynradd is Welsh for primary, and is pronounced ‘gun-rath’, where the ‘th’ (written as ‘dd’ in Welsh) is a voiced fricative /ð/.
  • Ciliau is the Welsh word used to describe the corners in a river. It’s pronounced something like ‘kill-ee-eye’, where the middle ‘ee’ is very short, and often sounds like a single syllable, something like /jaɪ/.
  • Aeron is the name of the river that runs through the village.

While it might look like most people’s class photo, this was in fact my entire school photo. There are only 46 children in the photo, and that was the entire student body of my primary school in 1997. The local council website says that the number of students at the school is now 65, but that the headteacher, Miss Moore, is still in charge.

The building in the background is the school, and it consisted of 2 large classrooms a staff room, a bathroom and a store room. There were just two teachers in the school, and one assistant. The other people that you see in the photo were the dinner ladies and lollipop lady*. The canteen** was in a Portakabin*** behind the school.

Students were divided into two classes. Years 1 & 2, were in one class and years 3, 4, 5 & 6 were in another. Together! I was only actually at this school for around 7 months in year 6 (before that I went to a different primary school). My teacher was the aforementioned headteacher—Miss Moore. She essentially used to have to teach three or four classes simultaneously, presenting the topic to the class, then giving out different activities to the different students based on their year.

The school had one computer, running Windows 95, in the corner. I was the only one in the school who knew how to use it, and often ended up helping the teacher make worksheets for homework.

According to this site, the school building is the site of a former Board School that was opened in 1876.


 

*Lollipop lady/man is the informal term we use to describe what Americans might call a crossing guard. Officially the name in the UK is school crossing patrol officer. Lollipop lady/man is used because they hold a large stick with a round sign on the top that resembles a lollipop to warn drivers that children are crossing.

**Canteen is the British English term for a school dining hall.

***Portakabin is the trademark name for a type of portable building, but used often to refer to any portable building (much like Kleenex or Sellotape are trademark names that are used to refer to the everyday item).

 

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This entry was posted on January 18, 2015 by in UK and tagged , , , , .

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