Pupils’ happy days at a town school

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FIFTY-FIVE years ago this week the Mail carried a report and pictures of the speech day at a school in the town. With many of the youngsters featured now coming up to – or already enjoying – a well-earned retirement, ANDREW LEVETT looks back.

PERHAPS their schooldays really were the happiest of their lives – certainly there were plenty of smiling faces on this page from the Mail in November 1958.

Headmaster R R Wood was a happy man too, telling Rossmere Junior School speech day that teachers had no cause to complain or be ashamed of anyone’s behaviour.

Mr Wood said that was as it should be and as he hoped it always would be.

He told the audience: “It reflects great credit on the children’s training, both at home and at school.”

The school served what was at the time a new estate and Mr Wood said the children and the school linked the people who had come together from many different places.

It was the first glimpse of the world which a child had outside his or her own home, said Mr Wood, and was a place to learn not only the three Rs but also how to live with other people.

There were 628 pupils on the roll at the time, including three classes at the Owton Manor annexe.

In the 11-plus exam two girls won places at the High School and seven boys at the Technical School.

The prizes were presented by MP for the Hartlepools David Jones, who said: “The work which is being done in junior schools is of very great importance, not only to this generation but to those which will follow on.”

Thanking his staff. Mr Wood praised the amount of time they spent in the evenings and at the weekend for the benefit of the children.

He said: “Every parent present must be able to think of the instances they know about personally.

“No member of the staff is ever asked to do anything. They come along and suggest that they should do it.”

Do you remember the speech day, or recognise yourself or any of your friends in the photos?

Contact Andrew Levett by emailing andrew.levett@northeast-press.co.uk or write to him at Hartlepool Mail, New Clarence House, Wesley Square, Hartlepool, TS24 8BX.