St John's Infant School Log

1939 - 1945 (up to end 1940)

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August 29 1939.
School reopened. There were 18 new admissions making a total roll of 95 children.
Class I - 32 children Miss DM Ogborn
Class II - 35 children Miss WB Pinching
Class III - 28 children Miss PM Payne

August 30.
This afternoon owing to the political situation respirator drill was held. All the children had their respirators adjusted.

September 4.
Owing to the outbreak of war the school is closed indefinitely.

September 29.
A scheme is commenced this morning to enable children to have milk between 10 and 11 am whilst the school is closed. Today eight children have milk.

October 12.
Tutorial classes were commenced today. Children over seven years of age are divided into small groups of six and come to school for quarter an hour tuition before 8:45 to 10:45 am. They are given homework to take home each day. As St John’s building was taken over by the military authorities we are carrying on work in Ladbroke School.

October 30.
We are now back in St John’s building the soldiers having left last week. 28 children are in attendance all over seven years of age. Miss Pinching and Miss Ogborn are in charge of these children. Miss Payne has temporary been transferred to Ladbroke. She will return to St John’s immediately we are able to readmit the under sevens.
Hours of working 10:00 – 12:00 am 1:45 - 3:15 pm.

November 2.
The windows in the headteacher’s room have been blocked with boards. Sandbags are to be placed inside from the windowsill. As this room is now considered safe for A.R.P. school was opened today at 9 am. The hours now are 9 -12 and 1:45 to 3 pm. As it gets dark so early during the winter months and owing to the blackout school cannot be carried on until 3:45 pm.
The staff are:-
Miss Pinching - 14 children (H.T.)
Miss Ogborn - 14 children
Miss Payne - temporary transferred to Ladbroke until the fives and sixes are readmitted.

November 15.
A home group scheme is commenced as follows.
Group A - six children at 112 Park Avenue in charge of Miss Payne from 9 - 10:30 am
Group B - six children at 78 Southgate Road in charge of Miss PH Payne 10: 30 to 12 am
Group C - six children at 43 Park Avenue in charge of Miss Payne 1:30 to 3 pm
Group D - six children at 45 Highview Gardens in charge of Miss Ogborn 1:30 to 3 pm.
There are 35 children in attendance at St John’s School (all over seven years of age); these are divided between Miss Ogborn and Miss Pinching in the morning, in the afternoon Miss Pinching has all the children together.

November 24.
Forty children are now having regular attendance in school – hours are 9 - 12 am and 1:40 - 3 pm. Thirty-nine children are attending classes under the home group scheme; of these 39 children, 18 children are taught in the hut.

December 4.
School was open for all the children today. Parents of all children attending have had to sign a form stating that they will make no claim against the school or County Council for any accident which may occur through the present emergency. The school is working for the following hours 9 - 12 and 1:30 to 3:30 pm. Out of a possible 102, 82 children were present.

December 21.
School closed this afternoon for the Christmas holiday. Owing to the closure of schools at the outbreak of war the holiday has been curtailed. We returned on Tuesday, January 2nd, 1940.

January 2, 1940.
School reopened today. There were five new admissions making a total of 105 on roll. Hours of working 9 - 12 noon and 1:30 to 3:30.

January 11.
Mr Green H.M.I. visited the school during the morning. Mr Hutchison paid a visit during the afternoon re heating and the requisition.

January 8.
Nurse visited the school at 2:30 pm and inspected the children.

January 16.
Mr Hutchison visited the school during the afternoon.

January 19.
Attendance this week has been very bad owing to extremely cold weather, incessant frost and snow. The percentage for week is only 79.5.

January 24.
Mr Hutchison called at the school during the afternoon.

January 26.
Weather this week, has again been exceptionally bad with snow and frosts, consequently the attendance is again very low - 79%.

January 30.
Weather is very severe – owing to heavy snow storms some roads are impassable to traffic – e.g. Waggon Road and Stagg Hill. The attendance today is only 44.5%.

January 31.
School closed this afternoon owing to a main burst in the caretaker’s house. All water has been cut off.

February 1.
Miss DH Ogborn absent this afternoon.

February 2.
Miss DM Ogborn absent. Owing to bad weather this week the attendance has dropped still lower than that of last - 55.1%.

February 5.
Miss DH Ogborn returned to school. Mrs Bates, the caretaker, was absent today owing to illness.

February 7.
Mr Hutchison visited the school during the morning and checked all registers.

February 12.
Mrs Bates resumed her duties today. Whilst Mrs Bates has been away Mrs Rumbold has been assisting Mrs Barnes, the school cleaner.

February 15.
Mr Hutchison visited the school this morning.

February 16.
School closed on Monday for half term holiday.

February 20.
School reopened after mid-term break. There were two new admissions. We are now working normal hours - 9 am to 12 noon and 1:45 pm to 3:45 pm.

February 21.
Mr Hutchison visited the school during the morning. A number of books collected by the children were posted today to soldiers and sailors stationed in Dover.

February 23.
Today Mr Hutchison and the County Engineer visited the school to decide upon the position of the trenches.

March 4.
During the weekend Messers Wimpey & Sons have commenced work on the school trenches. There are to be two trenches each accommodating children. Mrs Darlington visited the children this morning in order to check the registers.

March 6.
The dentist was in school this afternoon. 84 children were present and all were examined by him.

March 15.
Mr Hutchison called in at the school during the afternoon. At 3:30 a Rummage Sale was held. A profit of £6.14.0 was made.

March 19.
Today A.R.P. wardens visited the school to inspect all the children’s respirators.

March 20.
At 3:30 pm this afternoon the school closed for the Easter holiday. We return to school on April 1st.

April 1.
The summer term commenced this morning. There were six new admissions. The construction of the two air raid shelters was completed during the holidays. This afternoon all the children were taken into the shelters and given their places.

April 5.
Both Mr Green (H.M.I.) and Mr Hutchison (acting divisional organiser) visited the school during the afternoon. Mr Green came in connection with the school National Savings movement.

April 8.
The school nurse visited the school this afternoon and inspected all the children.

April 12.
Mr Hutchison visited the school and remove the blackout in the head teacher’s room.

April 18.
Mr Hutchison visited the school.

April 25.
Mr Hutchison and Mr Warner visited the school during the morning. He later came to discuss fire precautions in case an air raid. Miss Oldham, P.T. organiser, visited the school and saw all the classes at physical training - musical activities.

April 29.
Visited to check registers. S Darlington.

May 10.
School closed this afternoon for the Whitsun holiday. We return on May 16th.

May 14.
Owing to the German invasion into Holland and Belgium the Whitsun holiday has been cancelled and we returned to school today at 9 am. Number on roll 117.

May 23.
Mr Hutchison visited the school during the morning.

May 24.
Empire Day celebrations in morning. Children sang Empire Day songs and then marched around the playground to salute the flag. Finally, on returning to the hall, they sang the National Anthem. Practically every child carried a Union Jack.

During this week children have been bringing pennies for the Over Seas Tobacco Fund. Exactly one guinea was collected and today every child who brought money was presented with a certificate. A holiday was granted this afternoon.

June 13.
Mr Hutchison visited the school during the afternoon. Whilst here he saw an air raid drill by the school. The children, carrying gas masks and coats, were all in the shelters within one minute from the time the warning was given.

June 17.
Mr Green (H.M.I) visited the school this afternoon in order to inspect the air raid drill. The school cleared and all children were in the trenches in one minute. Two stirrup pumps were delivered to the school today.

June 24.
Mr Hutchison and Mrs Thorpe visited the school during the day.

June 25.
Owing to an air raid alarm given last night and lasting from 1 am to 4 am the attendances morning dropped from 91% (the previous day) to 69%.

July 24.
Mr Darlington (Chairman Middlesex Education Committee) and Mr F.A. Hutchison visited the school during the morning. At 3:30 pm the school closed for the midsummer holiday. Owing to the international situation the holiday has been curtailed and we return on August 12th. 22 children have been transferred to Ladbroke Junior School.

August 12.
School reopened today at 9 am. There were 26 new admissions. The organisation for the autumn term is as follows.
Class I, Roll 45 average age 7 years 3 months Miss D.H. Ogborn
Class II, Roll 45 average age 6 years 2 months Miss W.B. Pinching.
Class III, Roll 39 average age 5 years 3 months Miss P.M. Payne.

August 14.
Mr Ball (H.M.I.) visited the school this afternoon. He did not see any of the children as he arrived just after they had been dismissed.

August 22.
Mrs Darlington called during the afternoon and checked all the registers.

August 26.
Air raid warning sounded at 3:30 pm. Children led quietly into shelters where they remained till the ‘all clear’ siren at 4 pm.

August 27.
Owing to a 6½ hour raid over London and suburbs during the night only 77 children were present this morning out of a possible 129.

August 28.
A new ruling from Head Office today states that if ‘the Raiders Passed’ signal is given at any time after midnight, schools will not assemble until 10:30 am on the following morning. Attendance was very low this morning owing to an air raid during the night.

August 29.
Under the new ruling school assembled at 10:30 am today.

August 30.
Two air raid warnings were given today during school hours. One at 11:45 am lasting three quarters of an hour, the second at 3:15 pm lasting nearly half an hour. In both cases children led into the school shelters and remained there until the ‘raiders passed’ signal.

September 2.
School did not commence this morning till 9:30 am. An air raid warning was given at 8:15 am lasting over three quarters of an hour.

September 3.
Today a letter was received containing the actual wording of the new regulation. It reads as follows -"If the children’s sleep is disturbed between midnight and 6 am by the operation of air raid warnings the morning session may begin at 10:30 am instead of 8:45 am)”.

Today owing to air raid warnings during the night school commenced at 10:30 am. At 10:25 am however, just before the children led into school an air raid was given. All those children in the playground led into the shelters. There were 93 children. They remained in the shelters until 11:35 am when the raiders passed signal was given.
A further air raid warning was given at 2:40 pm lasting just over one hour.

September 4.
Air raid warnings were given at 9:15 am, lasting for three quarters of an hour, and 1:30 pm lasting for quarter of an hour. Owing to the later warning afternoon school did not commence until 2 pm.

September 5.
Air raid warnings at 10:15 am lasting for three quarters of an hour and at 3 pm lasting until 4:35 pm.

September 6.
An air raid warning was given during the midday interval lasting an hour, school commenced therefore at 3 pm and continued until 4:15 pm.

September 9.
Owing to air raids during the night school commenced at 10:30 am. Mr and Mrs Darlington visited the school during the afternoon. Nurse also visited the school during the afternoon and inspected all the children. There were 112 present out of 128.

September 10
School commenced at 10:30 am owing to night air raids.

September 11.
School commenced at 10:30 am again today. Owing to an air raid this afternoon lasting for one hour and 20 minutes the children were unable to go home until 4:40 pm. For a similar reason they were unable to leave school this morning until 12:20 pm.

September 12
School commenced at 10:30 am this morning.

September 13.
Air raids all last night and this morning. All clear 2 pm. Consequently no school this morning and this afternoon we were unable to commence until 2:15 pm.

September 16.
There has been no teaching today. Owing to air raids the children have been in the shelter all day.
Warnings lasted from 11 am till 11:45 am and 2 pm until 6 pm. The children were unable to be at school before 11 am as there was an air raid at 10 am lasting until 10:35 am.

September 17.
School commenced at 10:30 am today. Air raid warning at 2:50 pm. Children led into shelters and remained there until the ‘all clear’ siren at 4:30 pm when they went home.

September 18.
School commenced at 11 am owing to an air raid warning at 9:45 am and lasting until 10:30 am; and at 2:45 pm this afternoon owing to a second air raid lasting from 12:30 to 2:30 pm.

September 19.
School commenced 10:30 am. Mr Hutchison called during the afternoon.

September 20.
School commenced at 10:30 am. Air raid warning given at 11:15 am lasting until 12 mid-day.

September 23.
Owing to air raids the register this morning was not closed till 11:15 am. Similarly, this afternoon, not until 2:15 pm. Five panes of glass in the main classroom were broken during Friday night, in an air raid. At present they are boarded up.

September 24.
School commenced at 10:30 am this morning and at 2:15 pm this afternoon. And air raid warning was given at 10:45 lasting till 12:30 pm.

September 25.
There was no school this morning. Raid warning commencing at 10:15 am lasted till 12:15 pm. Thirty-one children were already in the playground when the warning was given - these led into the shelters and remained there until the ‘all clear’ was given. There are, at present, 134 children on books.

September 26.
School commenced at 10:30 am.

September 27.
School commenced at 10:30 am - an air raid warning prevented the children from going home until 12:30 pm. In the afternoon school commenced at 2:15 pm and the second air raid warning prevented the children from going home until 4:10 pm.

September 30.
Registers closed at 10:30 am. Air raid in the afternoon from 1:45 pm until 2 pm. Registers called a 2:15 pm.

October 1.
Registers called at 10:30 am.

October 4.
Registers called all this week at 10:30 am except today, Friday. Today, for the first time we have commenced opening school at 10 am and hope to continue doing this as long as possible. An air raid commencing at 2:20 pm continued until 3:20 pm.

October 7.
As there were no air raid warnings between the hours of 12 midnight and 6 am in Potters Bar last night school commenced at 9 am this morning. Registers were not closed until 2:30 pm this afternoon. An air raid commencing at 1:40 pm continued to until 2:15 pm.

October 8.
Registers were called at 10:40 am this morning and 1:50 pm this afternoon.

October 14.
There was no school this afternoon. And air raid commencing at 11:40 am lasted until 2:10 pm. The majority of the children were in the school shelters this time so when the ‘all clear’ sounded they led back into their rooms - put their work away and went home for dinner. It was then 2:20 pm. During this air raid at about 1 o’clock the blast from a bomb, falling in a field nearby, broke the glass in the partition between the hall and main classrooms. This is the second time it has been broken this term.

October 18.
School commenced this morning at 10:30 am.

October 21.
Owing to air raid school did not commence until ten to eleven. Soon after the children were in school there was another raid today lasting till quarter past one. Later at a quarter to two there was another raid preventing school being held in the afternoon.

October 23.
School commenced at 9 am today there is no air raid in Potters Bar after 12 midnight.

October 24.
Mrs M. L. Halliwell came on supply in charge of class II.

October 25.
At 3:45 pm today we closed school for a weeks holiday. We return on November 4th.

November 4.
We returned to school today after a weeks holiday. The new hours commencing from today are 9:30 am to 2:30 pm with a half hours break at 12 midday when the children eat sandwiches brought with them from home. Under this new arrangement all children will be right indoors before the night air raid commence.

During the passed weeks holiday I, Miss WB Pinching was married. My name is now Mrs Winifred B Marshall.

November 6.
An air raid alert was sounded at 2:25 pm just as the children were getting dressed to go home will stop they lead into the shelter where they had to remain until the ‘all clear’ at 3:15 pm. The furthest shelter is flooded with water so class I take cover on the floor of the hall. Class II and Class III use the remaining shelter.

November 7.
Air raid alert from 12 midday till 1 pm.

November 18.
The furthest trench has been flooded ever since my first entry to that effect on November 6 stop class I still taking shelter, during alerts, in the hall. This morning the trench nearest the school is also flooded. An alert was sounded at 2:20 pm today and all the school led into the hall and sat on the floor until the all clear at 2:40 pm. Mr Hutchison called at school during this period, to see the state of the trenches.

November 19.
Workmen arrived this morning to pump water from shelters.

November 21.
The trench nearest the school was quite dry today and Classes II and III were able to use it during an ‘alert’ this afternoon. Class I still take shelter in the hall.

November 29.
Mr F. Hutchison visited the school during the morning.

December 6.
Mr F Hutchison visited the school and saw the trenches. The work of drainage was completed on December 4th. Both trenches are now in use and are both quite dry.

December 12.
Mr F Hutchison visited the school during the day.

December 20.
School closed at 2 pm this afternoon for the Christmas holiday.