Schools

Aldwyn School Audenshaw

In 2007 Aldwyn County Primary school will combine with The Hawthorns on a new site within the present Aldwyn complex and so will begin a new phase in the Aldwyn story which began in the early nineteen fifties:
It began on 7th September 1953 when the area was in the care of Audenshaw Urban District Council and for education came under Lancashire Education Committee, Division 24. Two schools began on the present site, an Infant and a Junior School:  Aldwyn County Infant School with initially 102 children; Headmistress: Miss I.G. Marsden and four staff, and Aldwyn County Junior School with initially 138 children; Headmaster: Mr J. Taylor and 5 staff.
Until the late sixties trains still went along the low embankment which ran along the eastern boundary fence of the school and in my memory they just seemed to fade away.
During the life of the school it saw the massive concrete pipes of the water link from Haweswater to Manchester go down into the ground below the school field from north to south - Let's hope that the builders of the new school buildings know about that!!
And so the schools began; The first really interesting entry in the school log book, of interest to both schools was as -follows:
‘Oct. 29th, 1953 - The school heating apparatus began to function today for the first time since our opening.’
And then
‘May 12th 1955. Today was the Official Opening Ceremonies of both schools attended by members of the Audenshaw Urban District Council and representatives of the Lancashire Education Authority and the Inspectorate and other local dignitaries”. (They all signed the book).
And again
‘September 20th 1957. (Juniors) A flu epidemic reduced the school attendance drastically - only 143 present out of 220.’
The schools worked well together for twenty eight years, and they amalgamated in September 1981, when the school became non-streamed as it has remained since, through good and bad times to reach its current healthy position in the present educational environment.
For my own part I spent 1963 to 1988 at Aldwyn - wonderful days, wonderful colleagues and wonderful children at a vibrant happy school, buzzing with a variety of activities in all aspects of the curriculum, with parental trust and co-operation and the out-of-school and sports' activities adding to the overall ethos.
We had a fine support cleaning, welfare and kitchen staff, an obliging and diligent caretaker and a wonderfully caring and supportive board of managers as they were then known - keen hardworking and strictly non-political, adding to the school’s strength and success through their efforts and interest. These were the days of the 11 plus selection process and the numbers of those achieving entrance to Audenshaw and Fairfield steadily increased with the growth of the school.
The children came through the period of political ping-pong successfully until things settled down again.
Over the years Aldwyn became all-round contenders in the local schools' sporting programme, acquitting itself well at football, cricket, cross-country and athletics, skittleball and swimming. The school was for years the home pitch for Association Football, with Ashton and District Boys and then Tameside Boys playing there at under1l level. This only came to an end when the Football Association, in its ignorance, killed off Association Football (that is, Inter Association) at under 11 junior level.
The Annual School trip for 36 children in the top year became an established feature of the School Year: first to Great Hucklow and then to the Isle of Wight and Torquay, by train and then later by Mayne's Coach. It is interesting to note the price for the children and what they got for their money. They saved up for the £36.00 travel and board and then saved again so that each one could have 2/6d (12½p) per day spends with an extra 5/- (25p) for presents! And they managed believe it or not!!
The itinerary for the Torquay trip saw them visiting Brixham by boat, treading the picturesque Bishop's Walk, Cockington village, Fingle Bridge, glorious Dittisham with its plumb orchards bordering the river Dart, the atmospheric Berry Pomeroy castle (reputedly Britain's most haunted), the Aircraft museum, Kent's Cavern and the Model Village, Oddicombe, Rabbacombe and Meadfoot Peaches And, probably best of all, a day with the Navy at HMS Drake at Plymouth (fascinating  - execution Dock, the Ropewalk, a frigate and an aircraft carrier and watching two tough teams vie against each other in the Gun Carriage Race practice sessions for the Royal Tattoo later in the year).
I often wonder how much that itinerary would have cost one in those days, let alone now!
To round off our stay, it became a tradition for the boys and girls to stage a last-night concert (with an MC.) in the hotel grounds with the principal guests being our host and hostess. Evenings saw little groups rehearsing in corners of the garden and, believe me, on the night it knocked the X-Factor into a cocked hat!!
Little memories·: Elaine Klawza stepping out of her immoveable boat into Ventnor's Boating Pool to do her Humphrey Bogart “African Queen” act.
Richard Foden and David Woodhead composing their remarkably singable “Isle of Wight anthem
A little angelic member of the party just about to board one of her Majesty's frigates at Plymouth, asking Mr Dugdale,” Sir, do you think I look like a spy?”
Sir: No, I don't think so,
Kate Well, perhaps a mince pie!
Enough of memories
In the last twenty years, Aldwyn has seen cloakrooms converted into computer rooms, a splendid library room, run lovingly by Derek Lomas, ex-librarian and caring governor, the whole school carpeted cosily, additional support staff, new teachers and the facilities to allow up to two dozen children with special needs into the school atmosphere, much improved toilet facilities and fencing around the school buildings, regrettable but unavoidable in the current climate.
Living in the locality has allowed me to keep in contact with ex-Aldwynians in their future careers. That they all remember life at their Junior and Infant school with pleasure and affection is most rewarding.
Aldwyn will always be a good school. It is in good hands and with another phase in its life fast approaching will settle to continue to give a sound grounding to some of the best young people in Tameside. My very best wishes to all who have and will play a part in its future and my sincere thanks to the school for what it has meant to me during my working life and the years since.

Alan Millea. 1963 - 1988.