Memories of Rolleston School

Mrs Betty Crisp (nee Bostock) of Elizabeth Avenue remembers her school years in the village.

Rolleston was a much smaller village in the 1930s than it is today and there were only three classes in the whole school with about twenty children in each. Miss Redfern taught the youngest children, Mrs Cotton taught the intermediate children and Mr Cox, who was also the headmaster, taught the oldest children. There were no separate infant and junior schools, but just this one school, for everyone. If you passed an exam you could transfer to a secondary school at eleven years old. My sister, Margaret Bostock, won a scholarship to Uttoxeter High School, but the cost of books and uniform meant that she was unable to go. In 1935 I left the Rolleston school on a Friday to go to work on the following Monday at the age of fourteen.

The school day began at 9 o’clock and ended at 3 o’clock. The lessons were very basic and concentrated on the 3Rs. One day a week I remember going to Tutbury School where, on alternate weeks we learned cookery or laundry with Miss Gardner. If we misbehaved there was corporal punishment with the ruler being used for girls and the boys getting the cane. At playtimes we amused ourselves with games like skipping and rounders. Unlike today there was no school uniform. We took sandwiches for lunch.

I lived at a smallholding on Tutbury Road and I would walk to and from school every day. Even when the snow was up to the top of the hedges the school would be open. I don’t remember it ever closing. When I got home from school I had to go on my bike to Burton High Street to take eggs to sell to the managers from Bass’s Brewery. I had a penny a week pocket money which doesn’t sound very much, but you could buy things for a farthing then.

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Last updated: 6 September 2009