Kevin Keegan holding Yazz and Kylie Minogue records for Primary School discos.
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Often, nostalgic memories will just come to me as I’m driving down the road. Sometimes these are triggered by the conversations I’m having with K, other times it could be something I glimpse. Primary School holds a lot of very fond memories for me and I thought I would share them today. To save confusion, Primary education in some areas is split in to Infant (1 to 3) and Junior (4 – 6), I went to one school that had both Infant and Junior.

Early computing at Primary School

I didn’t have computers during my time at Infant school. The most exciting thing you could come in to contact with was the charity can crusher found in the library. I’ll write about that shortly as guess what, that’s another memory appearing. This isn’t to say that there were no computers in the school, more than infant classes didn’t have access to one.

Moving up to Junior school (a different building on the same site) things changed drastically. Most classrooms from Year 4 upwards had the classic red, tube metal computer desks on wheels. On top of these stood the classic BBC Micro, dual disk drive and monitor. Never have you seen such a beautiful sea of beige, red and black.

BBC Micro. Found in a huge number of Primary Schools across the UK.

Gaming wasn’t exactly the aim for these machines but Granny’s Garden and Podd told us differently. Look, it was a simpler time, OK?

BBC Micro Podd

If we weren’t getting the excitement of making Podd explode, then we were busy with Logo and the Turtle. Watching this lump of plastic drawing shapes based on our instructions was incredible. You could argue that his was first peaked my interest in programming computers.

The see through Turtle, sexy.

I’m sure schools are considerably better now when it comes to computers. Back then it seemed that only the children knew how to load the Micros with teachers often leaving it to me or my mate to get them up and running.

I do think it’s a little disappointing that Primary Schools pretty much aim for iPads over real computers now.

Can crushing

Seeing I have literally just thought about this as I wrote the above, it’s probably good to get the memory down now.

Blue Peter, Bits & Bobs and the Wombles etc taught us one thing during the 80s / early 90s: Recycle. Our school was provided a can crushing tower which took up residence in the small library. The device itself was simple – a single piston that crushed the can when you pulled down the giant lever.

Parents regularly bought empty cans to the school which were stored in giant bags next to the crusher. Each class would then nominate a student to go and find the cans and then crush them. The award? You got to keep the cheap, flexible magnet that told you about recycling and which metals to recycle. Wow.

I’m certain there was most likely some charity drive that caused us to do this but that is where my memory fails me.

Primary School Disco

Who here stood on a plastic chair or bench before jumping off at a school disco? Congratulations, you most likely enjoying ‘The Only Way is Up’ by Yazz. Other classic songs would include ‘Love Shack’, ‘Go West’, ‘The Locomotion’, ‘Time Warp’ and various other cheesy party songs we would all love at a nightclub now. All these provided on vinyl by a man who looked like a cross between Brian May and Kevin Keegan. Were you one of the little arseholes who would jump as hard as they could near them to see if you could make the record skip?

One of the best albums for a school disco.

Dressing yourself up in your least shitty clothes and thinking you are the nuts was surprisingly important to not just the girls but the boys. I can only imagine local gel sales soaring when a primary school disco is due to go ahead.

Finally came the best bit, having 50p in your pocket to buy a sugar filled cup drink, some pick and mix and some crisps. You probably couldn’t get away giving kids sugar laden bubblegum flavoured drinks.

Probably illegal in most Primary Schools now

School Dinners

Let’s ignore the fact it’s lunch and not dinner. There are two things I want to talk about here, all relating to very specific and vivid memories.

There was always the kid who had something every other kid wanted. In this case, my mate would turn up to lunch with a Frufoo UFO yogurt. It had a toy in the middle and was a really weird shape box. My Fiendish Feet didn’t stand a chance up against the likes of that.

Keeping with yoghurt, there was also that one time that we all tried sucking Yogurt through a small hole in the lid. There was one kid on our table who squeezed too hard and exploded Strawberry gunge across us and the rest of the dining room.

The final memory is about the dinner trays. I explained to K that once upon a time, our dinner trays had a surprise attached to the bottom which made everyone want to clear their plate. Upon the bottom of one or two trays would be a super sparkly, colour face sticker. This sticker remained on the tray but once shown to the dinner ladies, would win you small cardboard party pack of Smarties. The idea was simple: if your plate wasn’t clean then you weren’t allowed to turn it over and check. It’s surprising how well this worked in making kids eat all their food!

Primary School trays

That’s your lot memory wise today. I’m sure there are more and if they come up in my brain, I’ll try and write the down for you all. Let me know what memories you have!

Find more nostalgia posts here.

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