Back to school at West Buckland School, Devon

West Buckland School

West Buckland School

Last week was an extraordinary week for me. This was mainly due to what happened on Wednesday and Thursday. On Thursday I ran in the Exmoor Run at my old school, West Buckland School in North Devon.

The day before I had a “Back to school day” courtesy of the West Buckland School Foundation and Old West Buckland Association. I really felt very spoilt.

Lucy and Val from the Foundation made me feel very special and organised a superb day. I was guided around by two fellows who I remember arriving at West Buckland as student teachers.

I attended a sixth form Economics lesson and led a discussion on the economic benefits of the EU. The highlight of this was when the “class Euro-sceptic” quizzed me on the EU and farming.

I then had double history, which was very impressive. The teacher has prepared an extensive history of the men listed on the West Buckland School war memorial.

We then talked with the school archivist. He had a file on me. A bit like the Stasi. But seriously, it is remarkable when a school has sufficient sense of its own history to appoint an archivist.

Lunch time was a treat. We were joined by Neil Kingdon, who is President of the Old West Buckland Association. He was two forms above me at school and a very friendly cove. It was a real delight to see how lunch is served nowadays. It is still done in the old Karslake Hall with the same long tables in the same formation of four columns. But there is no bell, no parade. In the old days we used to sit in house table columns with a strict order according to age and sporting ability. If you were rubbish at sport, like me, you sat the bottom and got the least food given to you. I kid you not.

These days, everyone queues up with a tray to get food from the servery and then sits where they want to.

Afterwards, we were given a splendid tour of the school, which took about three hours because we were stopping at each corner to regale each other with stories of things which happened on that spot.

One treat was to inspect the indentation in a wall which was caused by the head of Jonathan Edwards when he laughed too heartily and rocked backwards in his chair.

The whole day was just amazing. I will be buzzing with the memory of it for years. The school nowadays is an educational Nirvana. Really superb, both in terms of facilities and the great care taken of pupils. I really take my hat off to Headteacher John Vick and his staff. They are doing a fantastic job.

150 building, West Buckland School

150 building, West Buckland School

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