Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page
Memories of Whitefriars Junior School by Jenny Comont
Memories of Whitefriars Junior School 1995 - 1999

Photo of Whitefriars Infant and Junior Schools
I went to Whitefriars Junior School in 1995, moving up from Whitefriars Infant School with most of my friends.

My year 3 teacher was Mrs James and I remember being very confused when she talked about monarchs, because she meant kings and queens, but my family were very interested in nature and I thought of monarch butterflies instead.

We had a set of ten classroom rules:

  • Don't talk with your mouth full
  • Don't swear
  • Don't talk when the register is being taken
  • Don't run
  • Ignore silly people
  • Don't swing on your chair
  • Speak when spoken to
  • Always be polite
  • Don't talk when others are
  • Always work hard

Reading and Writing

Handwriting practice book
Handwriting practice book
We had handwriting lessons every year from Reception to Year 6. We saw videos on how to form letters – kicking k and curly c etc.

We had to start reading books in groups. We sat at tables according to different ability levels eg 2 red tables for clever children, 2 blue tables for the not so clever and so on. When you did your own reading, you read whatever level book you were on, but for group reading, it was the whole class reading a book, with children and the teacher taking turns at reading out loud. It was usually a Roald Dahl book and I hated them. The teacher kept promising we could read something else but we never did. Sometimes an assistant came in and the whole table had to go out and read to her. Once, we were reading the Indian in the Cupboard and we got told off for finding it too funny and laughing when Kane pronounced Chief as Chef.

Sometimes we had to read to the teacher to test our reading ability.

In Years 5 and 6 we started a new scheme for reading where we had a reading partner from a lower year. To begin with I had a nice, friendly girl for my partner and it was OK but the next year I didn’t get on with my partner and I didn’t enjoy it.

We were supposed to read to our parents at home for five minutes every night and we got certificates if we did it every night for a whole half term. If we did it for the whole year, we got a special gold certificate. The sceme was called Reading is Fun, or RIF for short.

Picture of a half termly "Reading is Fun" certificate and a gold certificate for achieving all the year's "Reading is Fun" certificates

Jenny dressed up as a Tudor
Jenny dressed up as a Tudor for her trip to Kentwell


My favourite lesson was History. We learnt about the Egyptians, the Romans and the Vikings. I had to make a model of a Viking long boat as an Easter holiday project. We went to Kentwell Hall and had to dress up as Tudors so we could go through the Time Tunnel.

Mr Threadkill's Group

Cover page of Jenny's Victorian Christmas homework book
Cover page of Jenny's Victorian Christmas homework book

Because I was supposed to be bright, I was in Mr Threadkill’s group for extension work but I didn’t enjoy it as he gave us lots of homework to do over the Christmas holidays. He dictated a story with words missing that we had to fill in, but he would say “something” for the missing word so we all wrote down “something” when he said it. He made us do homework about Victorian Christmas customs and we had to go to the library to find the information. At the end of the year I got a little bit of paper signed by Mr Threadkill saying that Jenny Comont has attended a course of study designed to extend her learning skills by encouraging the taking of notes at tutorials and independent study as homework. Weekly assignments have been graded and the results below reflect the average for the year - Achievement B, Effort A+


Jenny's 10 metre and 25 metre swimming certificates Jenny's 10 metre and 25 metre swimming certificates
Jenny's 10 metre and 25 metre swimming certificates
We were taken down to the Splash Pool for swimming lessons. We had to wear red rubber swimming hats that didn’t stop our hair getting wet. I had been swimming with my family ever since I was quite small but when I went with the school I didn’t know how good a swimmer I was compared to everyone else so I went to the bottom group. The teacher asked me to swim to the other side of the pool and when she saw that I could, she told me to go up to the next group. The teachers were from school – Mrs Pittam and Mrs Lussignea sometimes – and there was a teacher from Splash too, Mrs Baskerville.
Jenny's first swimming star
I only got my first swimming star. I did the test for my second one twice but never got it – I don’t know why. The stars were little badges that were sewn onto your swimming costume.

I got my certificates for swimming 10 metres and then 25 metres.You had to tread water for a certain length of time and do different strokes for 25 metres. You also had to go and stand in the middle of the pool and dive down to retrieve a brick.

The bronze swimming challenge certificate achieved by Jenny's brother
The bronze swimming challenge certificate achieved by Jenny's brother

Jenny's Young Lifesaver Award certificate
Jenny's Young Lifesaver Award certificate
There was a swimming challenge that my brother did and got a certificate for, and in Year 6 I got a certificate for lifesaving. It included training in initial assessment, putting someone in the recovery position, dealing with choking, making emergency 999 calls and learning about asthma

Sports and Athletics

In summer we played rounders and occasionally tennis and badminton but I was never very good at them.

Badges gained in the 10 Step award scheme for athletics
Badges gained in the 10 Step award scheme for athletics

Certificate for achieving 6 steps in the 10 Step award scheme for athletics
Certificate for achieving 6 steps in the 10 Step award scheme for athletics
We did various different schemes in athletics over the four years I was at the school, starting with a 10 - Step programme. You worked your way up, achieving 6 - steps first, then 7, 8, 9 and eventually 10. All the activities were set out in the lessons – long jump, sprint, shuttle run where you run to the end and back, run around the cones for a zig zag relay, and throwing. You only got your result recorded if the teacher was actually there to see you do it. We got certificates for our achievements and badges to be sewn onto our PE kit.

Other schemes we worked for were the English Schools Athletic Association Awards, sponsored by theTSB Bank, and a Pentathlete Star Award scheme

Jenny's certificates in the English Schools Athletic Association Award Scheme Jenny's certificates in the English Schools Athletic Association Award Scheme Jenny's certificates in the English Schools Athletic Association Award Scheme
Jenny's certificates in the English Schools Athletic Association Award Scheme

4 Star Pentathlete certificate achieved by Jenny's brother
4 Star Pentathlete certificate achieved by Jenny's brother
Jenny's badges to go with her certificates Jenny's badges to go with her certificates Jenny's badges to go with her certificates
Jenny's badges to go with her certificates
We had a Sports Day every summer term and parents were invited to come and watch. It was held on the grass behind the school. Before the day we had House meetings to decide who would enter which races. People volunteered for the races or events they wanted to go in for. We had to have people from each year to enter each one. There were four Houses. I was in Grace, which was yellow. There were also Bannister which was blue, Chichester was green and Charlton was red. We had to sit in our House groups and cheer our team.  Someone usually brought a big parasol for us to sit under and keep the sun off us as some years it was extremely hot.

Certificate achieved by Jenny's brother for winning the long jump at the District Sports
Certificate achieved by Jenny's brother for winning the long jump at the District Sports

The races I can remember were sprint, egg and spoon, sack race and obstacle race. There was a long jump too. My friend Frankie was very good at long jump but I was never very good at sports. She went to the District Sports competition at South End school every year, but I never did, though my brothers Richard and David did. I just did things like the egg and spoon race and the obstacle race which weren’t serious races.

Playtime Games

In the winter, a large part of the top playground was covered with water from the gutter and it would freeze in cold weather so you could go and slide on it. You would find the majority of the school packed onto this small bit of playground, all sliding. The teachers didn’t like us doing it so you could only really do it before school started.

Other games we played at playtime were:

Red Letter Game

We played this on the steps near the end of the school. People lined up on the top step and another person stood on the wall calling out letters. If the letter was in your name you moved down a step and the first person to get to the bottom was the winner.

What’s the Time Mr Wolf?

Someone was in the middle as Mr Wolf. Everyone asked him what the time was and he said a number. Everyone moved forwards that number of steps till we were all very close to him when he said “It’s dinnertime” and chased after us. The person he caught was the next Mr Wolf.

Peep Behind the Curtain

This worked best if there was an actual curtain, but there wasn’t in the playground. One person faced the other way and the rest had to walk forward until he turned round and you had to stand still. If he saw you moving, you were out. The winner was the first to get close enough to touch him.

The boys mostly played football so it was mainly girls playing these games, but not exclusively. Girls would sit in huddles talking about girly things too.


Programmes from two of the Christmas services
We did a Christmas service each year that parents were invited to. These were often in one or other of the churches around the town. We went to St. Peters, the Independent Wesleyan in the High Street, and the Baptist Church in Park Road. I was usually chosen to do one of the readings and had to practice with Mr Threadkill, the head teacher. He used to get all the children chosen to read at the service and shut us in the PE cupboard in the hall. We then had to read our words while he sat at the other side of the hall. If he couldn’t hear us, it wasn’t loud enough. He only let us out when he could hear what we were saying. Mrs Pittam came through the hall on one occasion and was surprised that it was me she could hear and how loud I was because I was normally very quiet.

I was the first speaker in Year 4 when we were in the Independent Wesleyan Church. We were up in the balcony with a Nativity scene on the stage below us, and one of the shepherds fainted and fell off the stage. We heard a thump and looked down to see him on the floor.

Trips and Visits to the School

Jenny's timeline of the owners of Rushden Hall
Jenny's description of her visit to Rushden Hall
Jenny's description of her visit to Rushden Hall
We went on some trips out of school. I remember going to the Pits next to the school, to Hall Park and to St. Mary’s church. We went on a mini beast hunt in Hall Park. We had to have several Mum helpers with us and my Mum was one of them. At the church I was disappointed that we weren’t allowed to go up the spire because that seemed to be the most interesting thing to me. We went to see Rushden Hall too when we were doing a topic about local history. We had a tour round the building and had to write about it when we got back to school. We did a timeline about the people who had owned and lived in the Hall too.

Activity sheet from the Isle of Wight trip
Activity sheet from the Isle of Wight trip
In Year 5 I went on the school trip to the Isle of Wight. We weren’t allowed to visit other people’s rooms in the hotel but people did, and Mr Threadkill leapt out from behind a wall to catch them.

We went body boarding and looked for fossils on the beach but we didn’t find any. We visited a glass blowing factory and saw lots of coloured sands. We saw a musical play on the Pier. We went for a walk and lots of us got to the beach before the teachers did so we went in the sea while we waited. When the teachers arrived, the people who hadn’t been brave enough to go in and get wet got given Smarties but the rest of us didn’t. Mr Threadkill kept giving out Smarties when people did good things, but I didn’t get any. We had to keep a diary of what we did during the week. We went on a cable car over a big forest near the beach and one of the teachers was scared of heights but she was with a group of children who started rocking the car and she got very scared.

Photo of Jenny's brother with Brian Hooper, World Super Stars Champion
Photo of Jenny's brother with Brian Hooper, World Super Stars Champion

Lots of people came to visit the school and talk to us about different things. We had an astronaut once to talk about going into space, and a "super sportsman" came when my brothers were at the school. All the children got to have their photo taken with him.


We ate our lunch in the classrooms with dinner ladies watching us to make sure we behaved ourselves.

Monitor System

In years 5 and 6 we became part of Mr Threadkill's monitor system. We were occasionally given a badge and a job to do like running the tuckshop for a week or working in the office (I never did this), or putting the benches out before Assemblies.


There was a branch of Barclays Bank held every Thursday morning in the Hall. It was run by year 6 children with Mr Threadkill supervising them. I took £1 every week to put in my account.


There was a Book Fair every year. People brought in lots of stands with books on them, and we got time out of lessons to look at them all to see if there were any that we wanted to buy. My mum would come in after school one day to pay for the books my brothers and I had chosen. We liked books in our family so there were usually a lot for Mum to buy for us.

The mobile library van came every so often to bring new books for the school library. I got to go on the van and help choose the books once.

Chocolate Raffle

The school started holding a Chocolate Raffle. Everyone brought in chocolate and it was all put on tables, according to how big it was. There was all sorts of things from big Easter eggs to small bars of chocolate. Some people always brought in Polo’s. We bought tickets and the raffle was held at the last Assembly before the Easter holidays.

Two of the cards made by Jenny
Two of the cards made by Jenny

We always made lots of cards – Christmas cards, Easter cards and Mother’s Day cards. The school had a special Assembly for Mother’s Day when we handed out little bunches of daffodils to our mums.

Times Tables

We spent a lot of time learning our times tables. We had a sheet with all the tables from 2x to 10x on it and we had to recite them to the teacher or a helper to get bronze, silver and gold stickers as we learnt them. We had to be perfect to get the gold sticker and move on to the next one. When you had got all your gold stickers you moved on to 11x and 12x tables.


We had spelling tests every week but lots of the words were the sort that children of 9 or 10 would never use. When the teacher wrote up eclectic on the board, we all thought she meant electric but she’d spelt it wrongly.

The cover of  Jenny's annual report from Year 5
The cover of Jenny's annual report from Year 5

Annual Report

At the end of each school year we all got a report on how well we had done during the year and what we had studied in each subject. If my brothers and I got a good report, Mum and Dad would buy us a present as a reward.

What Jenny thought of her school in Year 5

When I was in Year 5 as part of the extension work we did with Mr Threadkill, we had to write about what the school was like to tell Year 2 children and their parents as they were in the process of choosing their Junior schools for the folllowing year. This is what I wrote:

"My School

I would recommend the school because the teachers are kind and they help you with your work and try to make some lessons fun. The teachers make sure that the school is safe. They can be strict but joke a lot too. One thing I don't like is no day trips out, but people come in sometimes. And another thing is the Assemblies are a bit long.

There are lots of clubs to fit almost all your interests. There are music clubs, dance clubs, a table tennis club and a choir. There are also teams for netball and football which play regular matches against other schools.

If you like books there are book fairs, the book club magazine and you can get a book out of the library each week.

I enjoy going to the school more because there are discos, raffles and parties at Christmas.

There is a Tuck Shop open every first break which sells crisps and when you are in Year 6 you get a chance to run it.

There are a few things that could be better but I like my school and I am sure you would too."

A Typical School Day in 1996

When we were learning about how to tell the time we had to write a description of our day, giving the time when we did everything. This was my day on 20 June 1996

07.00  Wake up
07.40   Get up, have breakfast
07.50  Get dressed
08.10 Brush teeth
08.35  Leave for school
08.45   Get to school
08.50    Go into school, do 9 o’clock work
09.15  Do bridgebuilding work
10.20   Maths
10.45   Playtime
11.00   Come in, do maths
12.00  Eat lunch
12.20   Playtime
13.00   Come in for silent reading
13.30 Games
14.30  Hymn practice
15.15   Write notes
15.20   Athletics
15.45   Hometime
16.00   Arrive home
18.00  Have tea
19.00  Play outside
20.00  Have bath and go to bed

Page from a geography topic book showing pictures of the seasons



Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the Education index
Click here to e-mail us