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Carlton School 1962 to 1968

This page was contributed by Pamela Hider

School Logbooks 1962-1968 

The information below is taken from the logbooks for Carlton School for 1962-1968. Logbooks from the 19th and 20th centuries give us a fascinating account of life at schools from the beginning of our national education system and of how education evolved throughout its first hundred years, particularly in a rural setting such as Carlton. They also reflect the many changes in society that took place during that time such as hardship, disease and world wars, through to population growth, the affluent society, a National Health Service, technology and vast opportunities. Access to the logbooks was provided courtesy of the Headteacher of Carlton Primary School.

The next Head Teacher, Irene Tatham, took up her duties in January 1962. An innovation was a part time clerical assistant to deal with administration. New terms in the logbooks included '11+' exams, taken each February; and items such as record player; tape recorder; and a banda machine. Gardening lessons for boys were started, as were inter-school Rounders eg. Carlton School beat a Finchley School 6-nil. Visits were made to nature reserves, the Eagle Works and the Moot Hall at Elstow. It was also logged that Carlton School featured on the BBC Radio 'Today' programme in 1964 concerning wine making at the school. 

Numbers enrolled ranged from 37 to 78, reflecting further expansion of the village when 42 houses were built in 1962 on the site of the old Rectory and its farm. The school house was demolished in the same year (but its pantry was left as a store). School dinners which had been cooked in the house's kitchen, were now transported from the canteen at Harrold School and by 1964, 31 children stayed to lunch. A field adjoining the school was rented as a playing field and this was discussed as a possible site for a new and bigger school. Meanwhile, a temporary classroom was erected there in April 1965 to accommodate the growing number of pupils. The extra classroom required another member of staff and in between appointments, the reliable Mrs. Brandon (now aged 65) returned for 6 months. 

By now, the school had a boiler fuelled by anthracite and radiators and storage heaters. Although an improvement on the smoky rooms of the past, they brought with them their own problems eg. burst pipes and frozen water tanks on the roof; and low temperatures were still being recorded in the Infants' room eg. 46°-56°. 

The usual medical personnel continued their regular visits but with the addition of an audiometrician from 1965. Polio vaccine was now given orally and epidemics were a thing of the past, only colds and 'flu in March 1963 causing 'erratic attendance' and only Elections causing school closures. 

HMI visits resumed annually, but again only one report was copied into the school logbook, that of 1963 when 25 Juniors and 16 Infants were enrolled. The Inspector observed that 'the school is developing well … A varied and stimulating programme is provided and (there is) a good level of attainment' but 'lack of space in the classroom is a great impediment'. The joy of singing continued, as every December the children raised money for Oxfam or Christian Action by singing carols. 

An idea for this small school to have its own swimming pool was mooted in 1965. The plan was for it to be of use both inside and outside school hours and during school holidays. Support for a pool was divided for a variety of reasons, the Headteacher and Managers not being in favour. However, construction began in June 1967 and it was in use by the last week of the summer holidays. The pool brought with it its own problems. 

Towards the end of the year, Mrs. Tatham asked for 'extra non-teaching assistance' and for another temporary classroom as those existing were so crowded - neither were forthcoming. New entrants the following January took the number of pupils enrolled up to 78, almost double that of 1962 when she took charge of the school. During her tenure, several disputes were logged which she had to deal with, involving medical staff, teaching staff, non-teaching staff, parents, bullying outside the school and court proceedings. She enlisted help from school welfare, the National Union of Teachers, Shire Hall, the police and a lawyer. All this illustrates how much the remit of a Headteacher had expanded beyond that of Education. Mrs. Tatham tendered her resignation and in March interviews were held for the Headship. She left in July 1968 without signing off in the logbook.