Hello! My name is Mrs Kirlew and I was a pupil at Alderman Cogan's Church of England Junior High School until 1978. Then, 20 years later, I found myself back at Alderman Cogan's where I now work in the office. Of course, the school changed into a Primary School ten years after I left in 1988. Alderman Cogan's was very different when I was a pupil. We wore white school shirts with ties, navy blue skirts for the girls (certainly no trousers!) with a sweater and a blazer bearing the school badge. In those days the girls did needlework and the boys were taught woodwork in the workshop, which later became a Music Room and has now been refurbished as a Nursery. Boys and girls even had their own separate entrances to the school with separate cloakrooms and even separate playgrounds! Where the current Foundation Stage classrooms are we had a large science laboratory.
It was traditional hot school dinners at lunchtime or you went home for lunch. (No packed lunches in those days!) There were no computers back then and our PE lessons were followed by awful communal showers where we all tried to run in and out as fast as we could!!!
Alderman Cogan's Junior High had lots of traditions. We had 'Prefects' and a 'Head Boy' and 'Head Girl'. The annual 'Speech Day' was a very important occasion when pupils were presented with certificates of merit, attendance awards and sporting trophies by the Lord Mayor. We always started with the National Anthem and sang the school hymn, "Let all the World in Every Corner Sing". Parents and visiting dignitaries were entertained by the choir and instrumentalists.
Every spring we had a May Festival where we performed for parents and visitors in the school hall and we crowned a May Queen who was voted for by the pupils. School dances were held in the evening where boys and girls were paired up for country dancing. In 1977 on the occasion of the Queen's Silver Jubilee we had a big celebration for everyone on the school field. The highlight of my day was getting a voucher to spend at the ice-
Every year we held an extremely popular summer fair where the pupils ran fundraising stalls such as the bottle stall, the white elephant stall, tombola etc. At the end of the day the headmaster would announce the prize winners from the balcony overlooking the field.
Later when I got married I received a dowry that consisted of a leather bound Bible embossed with my name in gold letters and a small amount of money. I have lots of happy memories of my days as a pupil at Alderman Cogan's and I was very sad when I left for high school. Who would have guessed that in 20 years’ time I would be back as a member of staff!