Our junior department was opened in 1906 at 1, Charlbury Road, for children from 4-8 years of age. The aim has been thoroughly to ground the children in reading and writing; the older ones do easy English and Bible History, Geography and Arithmetic, and begin on a little French.
The school (now consisting of 19 boys and 4 girls) has this term had their first ever Sports Day, and what a joyous occasion it was. I am grateful for this account of the occasion for the ‘Draconian.’
“I wasn’t quite up to time (10 minutes late), but it didn’t matter, as owing to the hubbub, the competitors had not realised that it was desirable to start operations some time near the given hour.
When all superfluous energy had been exhausted in cart-wheels and games of ‘he,’ the younger members ran a race, followed by the older ones, and after that came the race for the whole school.
There were various ways of running a race at the Baby School: some flatly refused to remove their hats, others shed them, as well as shoes, while one budding athlete was seen busy rolling up his shirt sleeves and after that his trouser legs. Someone started with his hands in his pockets, but the smallest competitor went one better and waited the signal to start in the most correct position, crouching on one knee and steadying himself with one finger of each hand on the ground…*
There was a long jump. I didn’t attend it properly as two small sisters had to be shown where the river was; but I heard afterwards that he in the white shorts who fell over in the black earth was as big a hero, if not bigger, than he who won the event rather brilliantly…
When these and the [cricket ball] throwing were duly finished, the high jump was prepared. This appeared the most popular event amongst the children; great excitement prevailed, and it didn’t matter if Dick took Tom’s turn, or Douglas got two to everyone else’s one, all were fearfully happy and just lived for the next opportunity of a jump.
After this came greater and more frantic excitement still – the team race, a really wonderful effort, one side only just winning by a yard or so.
This and a rush to the tent for lemonade and buns ended for me one of the most enjoyable afternoons of this term. Let us hope that if these sports are made a yearly institution, they will all be as successful and give as much pleasure as the first Junior School Sports certainly did to onlookers and candidates.”
* Unfortunately, what he gained in style he lost in speed of gaining balance and actually starting!
I also gather Mrs Hum made an appearance with a large box of sweets, which almost stopped the show!