Trip down memory lane for first Homewood pupils

Trip down memory lane for first Homewood pupils

The alumni search launched by Homewood School and Sixth Form Centre, to help mark its official 70th birthday this year, has already located some of the school’s very first pupils.

Mr Tony Bullock and his wife Eileen (nee Sargent), who still live in the area, contacted the school when they heard about the search and arranged to make their first return visit since they left the school as teenagers.

Tony was part of the initial intake of 116 students in 1948 and left in 1950, aged 15. Eileen joined later and left in 1955.

The couple came back to share school memories and compare notes on school life with Homewood’s current Head Girl and Head Boy, Hayley and Corbin. They toured the Mansion, looked through old photos from the period, and found their names in the school’s original handwritten registers in the school library.

Asked about what school was like 70 years ago, Tony said: “Of course we had the usual subjects of English, Maths, Geography, History and PT (PE), but we also had rural science and gardening in the school’s grounds and on the farm, plus metalwork and carpentry for the boys, and domestic science and needlework for the girls. And discipline was very strict; you did what you were told – or else.

“Looking back, the education we received really gave us opportunities, beyond what we knew through our own family experience. There was plenty of employment out there but no bits of paper to prove what we could do, so it offered us the chance to learn a solid trade and find a good job as soon as we left.”

Tony also remembered taking part in the school’s first major community project: a colourful pageant that enacted various aspects of Tenterden’s history, attended by some 3,000 people.

In the spirit of Homewood’s past and present educational objectives, the school is calling on former students to join a newly created alumni community and make a return to the classroom to inspire current students to career confidence and employment success. Former students can volunteer to help with interview practice, offer work experience or take part in assemblies and workshops designed to motivate young people and broaden their job horizons so that they are more likely to be able to achieve a career of their choice.

Ex-Homewoodians can join the school’s alumni network by selecting the ‘Former student sign-up’ option at www.futurefirst.org.uk. or via the link on the Alumni page on the school’s website www.homewood-school.co.uk

In addition, Homewood is planning to put on an exhibition about its history and the changing face of school life over the last 70 years. The school has initiated a project to collate and catalogue the school’s archives with the help of the Tenterden & District Local History Society. Any alumni, their relatives or former staff who may have photos or memorabilia from the past seven decades to contribute to the exhibition are invited to email the school.