Back to Heathfield School - 64 years later

Heathfield news
Heathfield news

Seven pupils who started at Heathfield School on the day it opened turned up for class 64 years later to make Pam Barton’s dream come true.

Pam started at Heathfield School in September 1950 as an excited 11-year-old. Thirty-nine years later, as a primary school teacher celebrating her 50th birthday, she was asked by her class what ambitions she had left. She replied: “To visit my old school.”

Pam met fellow stoolball and netball team member, Dot Payne, in Hailsham. The pair vowed to get some of those first students together and they succeeded on Friday, May 16.

Myra Keeley, Val Harwood, Dot Payne, Sybil Struppe, Barbara Jenner, Paul Ellis and Pam Barton descended on the school, less nervously than they had as 11-year-olds.

Coffee with Alan Powell, head teacher of what is now Heathfield Community College was followed by a school tour with three current 13-year-old students: Emily Thompson, Harry Baird and Hannah Goble Young. The alumni were impressed by the enthusiasm of the young people attending the school 64 years after it opened.

The school was a building site when they started and those who could afford the school blazer reported that, due to war rationing still current in 1950, it felt more like cardboard than material. They said the original head, Mr Counsell, was a formidable figure in his gown and mortarboard when they first filed into the school, using the separate entrances for boys and girls, but they always respected him. There were 350 pupils, a far cry from the College population of 1400 in 2014. The group have vowed to go back next year.