Ch 6

Chapter Six


Mr E.E.H. Field was appointed the new headmaster on 1st January 1956.

He was to remain in this post for the next 27 years. In March Mr George

Gomme retired after 37 years, liked and respected by all his pupils.

In April there were 380 children on the roll, with one class having to be held in the Church Hall. Mr Field, with the aid of the Managers, and naturally the Kent Education Committee, sought to find an early solution to such problems. By 1958 a new extension was provided with a room for the staff, who had survived all those years without one.

By 1957 the roll was 397 and the school gardens had been much reduced. In February the first Crossing Patrol Warden arrived, and by April the roll had increased to 423.

In May of this year children started swimming at the Greenways Pool in Addington. (The editor well remembers these trips, the water was perishing !)

In July the first ‘Summer Revels’ were held, with children dancing, acting and singing. There were a few sideshows and £50 was made. At the end of July Mr Marsh completed his first stint at the school and the clerical assistant for eight years, Mrs A.O. Williams also left.

In October 1957 there was the first outbreak of Asian Flu, with attendance dropping to 65%;

On 5th March 1958 the first break-in of the school’s history occurred. The last day of July was another landmark in the school’s history, from now on only children of primary age were to attend the school.

staff 1970s

Mr E. H. Field with school managers and caretaker and cook

In January 1960 the footbridge over the railway line was opened, thanks to the efforts of Borough Green Parish Council. Until this time the children had to walk across the road bridge, on a very narrow pavement, so their safety was greatly enhanced.

From September of this year the local ministers, the Rev. A.W. Van der Meulen, and Pastor D. Dawson took it in turns to take assembly on one morning a week.

By 1962 five new estates had encompassed the village and the Managers decided the school would need extra accommodation. In January of this year, there was another break-in, and much valuable equipment was stolen. The burglars, who came from out of the area, were apprehended and given six months jail sentences.

At the Christmas Party the staff gave their first pantomime. These have been a feature ever since, and have been much enjoyed by the pupils.

1963 proved to be another very cold winter. It was the coldest spell for over 100 years, according to the record. The wash basins and toilets were continually frozen and the children were sent home at lunchtime. Somehow the school coped, though the problems for the poor caretaker must have been immense.

In April hutted accommodation was provided to cope with the influx, the roll now being 411, with the Head Master and 13 staff. The huts were warm, spacious classrooms, looking out onto the playing fields. In June the District Sports were revived, with five schools taking part. In July Miss Griffin, who had been at the school for 28 years, took her sad farewell, with Dr Say, the Bishop of Rochester giving the address and making the presentation.

In April 1964 a new classroom and indoor toilets were taken into use in the East Wing.

It was also in this year that the Swimming Pool Fund was started, raising £1,000 in nine months. How many 3d bits could you fit into a tube of Smarties? This was one of the many ways in which the cash was collected by both children and parents. It was an example of voluntary work at its best. The staff and parents slaving away, with the Head Master feeding the concrete mixer. Only a year later, on 2nd June 1965, the pool was officially opened by Miss Judy Geegan, the Olympic swimmer. The pool, with heating added, is there for all to see.

In July of this year, for safety reasons, the roller towels in the lobbies were replaced by paper ones.

Over this period the school was producing concerts, teaching recorders, singing in public, entertaining old people, and taking part in festivals and competitions in Maidstone and throughout the district. Mr J. Fulljames, Miss Porter and Mr Winders-were largely responsible, with much support from the rest of the staff.

In May 1966 there was the first conference on the proposed three tier education system, which was occupying everyone’s mind at the time.

In this year the school entered the local carnival winning the first prize

with the Bayeaux Tapestry. In October there came the dreadful landslide disaster at Aberfan, when the children raised £43 to send to the fund. On 5th June Mr Marsh returned to the school as Deputy Head, and straightaway started his classes singing, which continued the school’s tradition of entertaining people in the community.

In August, Mr Ron Fissenden started as caretaker of the school and it was in October of this year that six school meals supervisors started, giving much needed relief to the staff, who were still ready to help out when required.

By 1967 the arrangements for serving school dinners were causing concern, and the School Meals Organiser visited to see the problems at first hand. The meals had to be transported across the playground in large metal containers. This was held to be ‘simply appalling!’, especially in winter conditions.

On 13th May a further visit was made, with the result that plans for the new hall and kitchen were drawn up on 5th June 1967. A further two years later, in January 1969, Commander Doran, the Kent County Council Member for Borough Green called to inspect the kitchens and it was a full three years later before the hall and kitchens were taken into use, on 10th February 1972.

In 1968 there were 418 pupils on the roll, with a staff of the Head Master plus thirteen teachers.

The pottery class started by Mr Field was flourishing and in July 1969, eleven pots were sent to an exhibition in Folkestone. By February 1972 the pottery had moved to the old kitchen and many children were producing excellent specimens.

1970 saw the introduction of ‘At Home’ meetings, with parents meeting teachers more informally to discuss children.

In the early seventies, visits were made to Holland, Belgium and France but these were not continued as they were proving too costly.

Still keeping up its early traditions of attracting academic interest from overseas, the school entertained five visiting American Professors of Education on 25th June.

Still expanding and improving, it was on 2nd May 1972 that plans were drawn up for the new Resources Centre in the lobby. This was way in advance of the movement in education for Resource Centres and has proved to be an invaluable asset to all children, in assisting learning through experience and self-directed learning.

In July the idea of the ‘At Home’ meetings was extended, with the result that parental interviews were made in lieu of written reports. Again Borough Green Primary School was a leader in the field, introducing and executing policies that are still trying to be introduced by local education authorities in other parts of the country.

In June Mrs P. Hatcher was appointed to the school, where the roll was now 440. To cope with this number a second mobile classroom arrived in August. Two sponsored walks around the school meadow in the lunch hours in June had raised £450.

In 1973 the footpath from the railway bridge to the school was opened, increasing the safety for children walking to school. Mrs Thatcher, then Minister of Education, visited the school and she promised that a row of trees would line the railway boundary. This promise was fulfilled in March. In May the new school block was taken into use. The old school was rewired, with new strip lighting, and the Parents’ Association built and presented the new pavilion, which was opened by Colin Cowdrey, M.B.E., former Kent and England cricket captain.

In 1974 Mrs M. Lowe retired after 17 years as a clerical assistant at the school to be replaced by Mrs Joyce Riddle.

In anticipation of new legislation, the parents met the school governors at a cheese and wine party in December.

In January 1975 the managers inspected the broken boundary fence, and perhaps indicating the change in the financial climate that prevails in education to this day, no satisfactory solution has been found to its repair.

Miss Coates started teaching at the school in April, and the staff ran the Tonbridge and Mailing District Playscheme for a second year. In October of this year the Infants Department introduced the idea of a ‘Parents’ Talk-in’ over two afternoon sessions.

In 1976 as another sign of changing times, Mr Field attended a conference at Divisional Office on children suffering from non-accidental injury -‘battered children’. In June of that year there was a meeting at the school between staff and Social Services to discuss the future of two children. Mr Field recorded in the Log Book that this was his first meeting of this type in twenty years at the school.

1977 saw a sensible decision in that council elections which had closed the school throughout its history, would now be held in Room 8, with the rest of the school operating as usual. (This was also the year when the editor returned to his old primary school to complete three weeks’ observation prior to commencing teacher training course. He would like to thank the staff for their help and advice. As he has since completed a Master’s Degree in Special Education and risen to be the Deputy Head of a special school, some of their expertise must have rubbed off.)

In 1979 the Borough Green Young Wives are invited into the school to see the infants at work. The roll is now down to only 279 children, with the head plus ten teaching staff. In just eight years the roll has dropped by 160 children.

In 1980 Mr Field was present when the old Infants’ School was dedicated as the new Parish Hall, the building having great significance and many memories for pupils through the years.

It was in this year that cut-backs in education started. In April the Divisional Education Officer visited the school to explain to the staff, the re-deployment of teachers caused by the falling rolls highlighted above. In September the roll was 229, falling to 197 by September 1982. The new block was now surplus to requirements, having only been in commission for nine years, and proposals were put forward for its use.

Mrs S. Williams left after 15 years to take the deputy headship at Wrotham. This year also saw the elections for the first two parent governors.

June saw a new experience in Borough Green. Children from a gypsy encampment in Ightham suddenly arrived at the school. Thirteen older children were accepted, and with the help of a trained and qualified Travellers’ Teacher, the younger ones were also taken on, a total of 24 children in all. When its rolls were at their height, over the four hundred mark, the absorption of 24 children would have been much easier. When such a group makes up /8th of the school population then problems were bound to follow. Turbulent dinner breaks were one of the few comments recorded in the Log Book. In July the ground owners obtained a court order, and the gypsies moved on, their problems not solved, but moving with them.

On 5th October, Mr Keith Woodhams, a past pupil, who had fought in the Falklands Campaign, spoke to the children in Assembly. This was followed in November by the author’s ‘Borough Green Past and Present’ Exhibition, which was housed at the school for five days, proving of great assistance to the ‘History Trail’, the school’s local history study.

In 1983 ‘Open Days’ were held during school hours, and no longer in the evenings. It was in July of this year that Mr Field retired after another twenty seven years in the magnificent Borough Green tradition of dedication and innovation. Two special concerts were given to commemorate his departure.


staff 1989

Miss C. Pickard and serving staff as of 1989

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