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The School 1950-1997

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The school from 1950

The Down side playground in the early 1950's. Notice all the trees and the hoops children are playing with..

Life at school in the 1950s was very different from today, school started at 9.00 am but did not finish until 4.00 pm.
There were often more than 42 children in a class; when a teacher or visitor entered the classroom all the children stood up as a way of showing good manners.
Daily PE lessons were held out in the playground, these lessons would only be held inside if it was icy, snowing or due to heavy rain.
Discipline was very strict, "corporal" punishment, being hit on the hand or bottom with a cane or ruler, was still used at the school in exceptional circumstances, but only on the boys, presumably the girls were too well behaved!

The Festival of Britain Exhibition was opened on the South Bank, London, in May 1951. This festival was intended to celebrate the end of war, the start of a new era and to "cheer up" a nation still suffering from rationing and war damage.

31 May 1951, the school closed during the afternoon for the children to attend "Festival of Britain" sports at the Polegrove.

This photo shows a class from about 1960.

The school became known as Down County Primary Junior School c1962.

 In September 1963 Mr J Cornwell replaced Miss W Kirby as headteacher.

Over the next 30 years the school really started to develop into what we know today, corporal punishment was banned, many more and varied school trips, some residential, took place. A PTA was formed and social events such as the Summer Fete and school discos started.

At the beginning of the spring term in 1963 the school was disrupted by very severe winter weather, the outside toilets were frozen up and did not thaw out until 11th February, Year 1 (now known as Year 3) children were sent home for all this time, the Infants school had indoor toilets and these were used by the rest of the school.

May 1966, the first school swimming pool (unheated) was opened, a heating system was added later. The present pool was built and opened in June 1991.

The cast of the Infants Nativity Play, this photo was taken in 1969. (Click on the thumbnail for larger photo.)

April 1970, the first residential trip to London, The children stayed at Chigwell Sports Centre and visited the museums, Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, Downing Street and other places of interest. This photo shows a group outside Number 10 Downing Street, the Prime Ministers house, in 1994. These trips continued until 2002. The children stayed at Baden Powell House, (very close to the Natural History Museum) from the early 1980s

Mr Edward Carey became head in January 1973.

December 1975, "Camelot" our outside classroom was opened, this was formerly the outside toilet block for the junior school, moved indoors earlier in 1975. Bexhill Round Table funded and carried out the conversion work, hence the name "Camelot".

In March 1975 the school was again renamed, this time to King Offa Junior School to avoid confusion with the Infants school. the name was derived from King Offa of Mercia who gave some land for the building of the Manor House in Bexhill Old Town.

A PTA was formed in April 1973. They organised the first summer fete in June that year to raise money for the swimming pool heater. The school Choir and Orchestra performed  and the children gave PE and Country Dance displays.

On 21st May 1975 King Offa Junior School took over the De La Warr Pavilion to present a show called "King Offa's Children". Part 1 was a revue "Kid's Now" written by Mrs Jane Downes, a teacher at the school; part 2 was a version of "Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat" called "Kids Then". 420 children and all the staff took part, A total of 1850 people attended the production, and 150 people attended the buffet supper after the show.
The following year 1976, the school put on a performance of "The Raven and the Dove", again at the De La Warr and an LP of the music was made.

The King Offa football team squad in 1976.

Mr Ian Roughley took up the position of headteacher in September 1979.

 The school obtained its first computer, a BBC Microcomputer, in September 1983

January 1st 1992, during the night the outside classroom was set alight by some young arsonists and completely destroyed. The remains had to be demolished and a new classroom built.

The staff pantomime "Peter Pan"; December 1996 the last of an annual event started in 1977.

An IT Suite of 15 computers was opened in September 1998 only 3 of which had internet access, the number of computers has gradually increased and we now have 30.

The school website was first published on the internet in March 2000.

In 2010 Bexhill High School moved to new premises in Gunters Lane and the old buildings, started in the 1940s were demolished. King Offa was allocated a strip of now redundant land as a playground and playing field.

Due to the demolition of the old High School buildings alternative arrangements had to be found for lunches. Previous to this we had used the same kitchen/dining room as the High School. To solve the problem the existing Head's office and administrative offices were converted into new kitchens. A new Head's office was created in our old food technology room and the food technology room moved outside into the converted swimming pool changing rooms, which now became known as the 'Studio'

(This history has been compiled from local history, ex-pupils memories and references in the School Logs, some of which are very brief, if you have any further information I would love to hear from you; king(at)kingoffa(dot)e-sussex(dot)sch(dot)uk; our thanks also to ex-pupils and their families who have supplied photos.)

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