St. Augustine of Canterbury Church, Leeds Centenary Book.1905-2005
After The War
Pauline Claydon came to take the reception class in 1951 or 1952 and other teachers who joined the school at that time or later were: Mrs Knight, Miss Coulter, Mrs Farrell, Miss Keane, Mrs Heaney, Mrs Noon, Tony Wedgewood, Miss Kavanagh, Marie Caltieri and Sr Alphonsus who came to teach the senior girls.
Mother St Bride joined the school as the new headteacher in 1956 and was said to be a strict disciplinarian who led a very well run school with well-behaved pupils.
The non teaching school staff also played an important role in the life of the school, and many from those earlier years are still remembered by past pupils and parishioners. Caretakers who always had good fires going early each morning and used to have the school all dusted and ship-shape by 9am; Miss McDermott, described as a lovely hardworking kind person; John Hardiman a young Irishman who came to Leeds during the war; Mr Fulthorpe and Mr Freeman a good worker who had a pet shop on Harehills Road; the school secretaries who took charge of all the administration tasks and the dinner ladies who served the meals and lunchtime in the Congregational Church hall, which stood opposite the school.
The only form of heating in the classrooms were coal fires with fireguards. Every morning there was free milk. The little bottles had cardboard tops with a circle in the centre to push out for straws. When it was cold the crates of milk were put in front of the fire (the only form of heating) to defrost. The older children paid two and half pennies a week for the daily bottle of milk. Some people were also given malt on a spoon. Uniform was a green gymslip (for the girls) and blazers and hats (berets or caps).
Memories of the Infant classes
Graham Cracknell remembers Mrs Knight as a good teacher and has memories of Beacon Book One with Janet and John or for the more advanced Old Lob and his horse Dobbin.
I started St Augustines in 1946 when I was five years old
and my first teacher was nice. One day she wasnt there so they
sent down a girl from the big girls class to look after us. She
was gorgeous, with long hair and I had a crush on her. Ann Donoghue
she was called. Id no chance. She married Tommy Steel. John
Memories of the Junior classes
Junior 1 was the year for First Confession and First Communion. We were well instructed in our faith both in catechism and stories of Sunny a little African boy and his Guardian Angel Wupsy. Wupsy saved him from a lot of trouble especially from the devil who constantly tempted him. The stories are still available and I read them to my grandchildren." Pat Wilson née Ramsden
In Miss Stappards class much more was expected so we moved onto Pounds Shillings and Pence sums then onto Tons Hundredweights and Quarters then long division and long multiplication. It was a very busy year but good preparation for Junior 2. Graham Cracknell
Junior 2 worked rigorously to a routine with Miss Molloy. Every Monday morning, dinner money day, Miss Molloy would sit at her desk and set off chanting, I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the Land of Egypt and out of the House of Bondage. When the Ten Commandments were finished the whole class would continue with tables, beginning with, One two is two, and ending with twelve twelves are a hundred and forty four. Next came the pounds, shillings and pence, and the weight tables. It is interesting that when my daughter, Marisa, and son, Adrian, were in Miss Molloys class they followed exactly the same routine. Not only that, but when I went to teach at St Augustines in 1955, Miss Molloys class were still beginning the week with, I am the Lord thy God. My other memory of that year was of learning part of the poem, Hiawatha
John Ramsden remembers one particular incident in Miss Molloys class. Well I was cut out to be a film star but we were doing a performance of Alice in Wonderland I was chosen to be the frog footman. My costume was a cardboard notice hung round my neck which said Frog footman. So I went home and spent all night making a sign. I cut up a cornflakes box and painted in Big Black letters FROG FOOTMAN and I hung it on a piece of string around my neck. My performance entailed me sitting in front of the cottage after or before Alice had seen the Cheshire cat and whistling. Sometimes I could whistle and sometimes I couldnt, but no one had auditioned me and I hadnt said anything. Came the day. Im sat there and Alice arrives. Im pursing my lips and nothing is coming out. Everyone in the class is whispering or shouting, WHISTLE, WHISTLE but nothing came out. Miss Molloy was not amused! Right she said Take off your costume, and throw it in the fire, you are no longer Frog Footman. With tears rolling down my face I threw my last nights hard work into the flaming coals and watched my future theatrical career go up in smoke. John Ramsden
Many afternoons were spent making puppets out of papier-maché in Miss Molloys class and the children would then put on a show for the younger children in the school.
People remember class 3 and 4 and Charlie Dyson who they say was a good teacher. Many days were spent preparing for the dreaded 11+. There were Intelligence tests of 100 questions to be completed in about 1 hour; English Comprehension Tests and Compositions, Maths tests of 50 mental arithmetic questions to be completed in 20 minutes followed by 50 Mechanical Sums again in 20 minutes.
John Ramsden remembers being in Miss Cunninghams class. We
learnt geography all about down in Dixie picking bales o cotton
and putting it on paddle steamers to send it up the Mississippi. There
was also a fantastic book in the class library that taught you how to
drive a car, fly a plane and all sorts of other things. A male teacher
took us for a few PE lessons explaining on a blackboard the positions
on a football field; centre forward, centre half, inside left etc. then
we went to the Soldiers Field at Oakwood to try it out. I stuck
to my position waiting for someone to pass the ball but it never happened.
Michael Morley was the best player and he was kicking the ball around
the field and everyone else was chasing him.
John Lodge remembers that in those days children would stay at school until they were 15 or they would leave after the 11+. Many children did leave after the 11+ mainly because of the efforts of people like Marie Caltieri. He remembers many children packed into tiny classrooms sitting on iron benches with tip-up seats. John says what brilliant children they were. There were children from Italy and Poland with unpronounceable names who had arrived just after the war and for whom English was not their first language and children whose parents could not read English.
Marie Caltieri was married at St Augustines in 1951 and soon
afterwards came back to the school, but this time as a teacher. It
seemed strange to be on a par with Miss Molloy and Miss Moloney, but
my fifteen years at the school were incredibly happy. I taught the same
children for two years at a time; the first year was always hard slog,
preparing them for the eleven plus. Once that was over, in the February
of the second year, I tried to give the children all the things they
had had to forgo the previous year, lots of art, music, drama and dance.
Every two years I was saddened at the thought of losing my class, and
I always used to think I would never have another class like that one.
But I always did, each new group soon became special, and I remember
every child I ever taught with love and affection. The rewards for all
the hard slog they had to endure were evident, as the eleven plus results
were always excellent, the highest in the whole area, forty-six out
of forty eight entrants was the very best we ever achieved.