Every now and again in life we do something a little strange, and for me, today was one of those days. Today at 6pm I headed into ‘Maltings Academy’ (the new name for ‘The John Bramston School’) along with a few thousand other former pupils for Bramston’s Swan Song, an open house invitation to the people of Witham to have one last walk around before the buildings are closed down and demolished.
In 1990, age 11 I first set foot in what was then ‘Bramston School’, a Secondary Comprehensive School in Witham, Essex. Bramston was first opened in 1936, and added to significantly in the 60’s and 80’s. The school was named after a St Nicolas Church Vicar who was well respected by the town.
This was the original 1936 building:
I remember my heart beating faster that cold September 1990 morning as the following view greeted me as I, and friends walked through the gates:
Once inside us new Year Seven’s were directed to the School Hall where we joined a few hundred other eleven year olds, we sat together on the dirty floor.
These days, the dirty floor is carpeted:
Hearing name after name being called out was a heart racing experience for every Year 7 pupil that day, it was the moment we had all been waiting all summer for (and some were dreading), we were all about to find out our ‘Tutor Group’, and ultimately if we’d be put with people we knew.
The year seven year group was split into two halves, one half was tutor groups C, D, F & G and the other half were tutor groups J, K, L & P. We all knew that if our friends were put in a group in ‘the other half of the year’ we’d only ever see them at break and lunchtime for the next five years, as our timetables would be completely different. Fingers crossed, and sighs of relief, and disappointment as names were called out tutor group by tutor group.
I was called out near the end, with the rest of ‘L’ and we were led off by Mrs Morgan, who stayed our Tutor for the next five years. Here we all are outside Pizza Hut in Colchester, in 1991, on a school trip (photo stolen from Andrew Mannering’s Facebook):
There was only a few people in ‘7L’ that I knew from Howbridge School, I’d been ultimately separated from the people I really knew.
the same thing that had been worrying me and all my Howbridge friends all summer, would I be in a tutor group with someone I knew… We were lined up, and one by one our names were called out as we found out