I started teaching the infant class at Mapperley Primary School in January 1987 to cover for Mrs Farnsworth's absence through illness. After 2 years, on a temporary basis, I was appointed as infant teacher, a position I held until my early retirement in July 2005. I then returned as a supply teacher, in both classes, for two more years. Being brought up in Heanor I know the area very well and feel privileged to have spent most of my career in such beautiful surroundings and being able to drive to work through Shipley Park.
During my time at the school I worked under the direction of two excellent Head Teachers, Tony Treseder and Philip Millard, alongside Joan Law and then Stephanie Turner with a support staff including, over the years, Sheila Tooley, Linda Straw, Karen Hunt and Karen Cox. Carol Cooke was caretaker and dinner supervisor, Mollie Skinner was cook-in-charge and Helen Cook started her long association of working in school by hearing readers in my class and helping with the baking lessons on a Wednesday afternoon. Over the years many parents came to help in the classroom, something I was always grateful for.
Having previously taught in large primary schools, I was very surprised to have only 7 full – time children in my first class, with several younger ones attending in the afternoon. I believe there were only fifteen children in the junior class. When I retired the school was full, with sixty children on the roll.
Many parents feel that a small school offers a different learning environment; one thing I appreciated was the feeling of "one large family" and also how the older children cared for the younger ones and helped them become independent.
The school building still looks the same from outside but inside has seen many changes during my time there. We were very pleased when the inside toilets were built, the outside ones being converted for storage of P E equipment, Much fund raising was done by the P.T.A to help provide an upstairs classroom over the Junior room. This also provided an office for the Head teacher and Secretary who previously had to work in the kitchen or a converted cupboard! Each pupil and member of staff decorated a wall tile to mark the occasion. The roof space above the Infant room has since been converted into another classroom. The playground was updated with a Play Area and a covered area.
Throughout my time at the school many educational changes took place. These included the introduction of computers into the classroom, the National Curriculum, S.A.T's and Ofsted inspections. The children were now put into key stages, two of which were in my class and much more lesson preparation and recording was now being required.
I have many happy memories of the pupils, from their work in the classroom and its environment to school visits and projects, not forgetting of course, the P.E lessons in church. I'll never forget the Ofsted inspector's reaction when we had to move all the seats before the children could get changed, nor could he believe how cold it was! I was always pleased to take the Junior children to any sports events in the area. We were always the smallest school there but the children consistently did themselves and the school proud with their efforts and achievements, especially in swimming, athletics and football. I also used to enjoy helping to produce Christmas plays and concerts throughout the year where every child could take part.
I was also a member for twenty years of the P.T.A which organised not only excellent fund raising activities but also good social events like the Saunter and Sizzles in Shipley Park and the Barn Dances at Mr & Mrs Morgan's farm.
I will always look back at my time at Mapperley Primary School with great affection and good memories and I can't believe it is nearly five years since I retired.