St Ouen's School

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Sue15StOuenSchool1912.jpg

St Ouen's School in 1912


St Ouen has had a number of schools over the years. Bob Allo had the misfortune to attend both St Ouen's Central and Les Landes just before they closed. Now living in Australia, he remembers his education in Jersey


St Ouen's, the final years

I attended St Ouen's school for around two years in 1959 and 1960, when I was 4-5 yrs old, so it was my first school.

I learned to read there and became obsessed with books and getting to the next reading level. We had some terrific teachers there, including a Mrs Pickles.

It was an exciting time for me, but also quite scary being my first school. One day, my best friend Gary Clements wasn’t at school, I looked everywhere for him but when I couldn’t find him, I walked home to Leoville to my home, leaving a few people looking for me. He was sick, I later found out.

Occasionally we used to do 'sport' down a little lane opposite the school. I remember racing other students at full pelt down that lane, to see who was fastest, for selection to go to FB fields and compete against other schools. I don’t think our school would have been on the podium too often. I borrowed some plimsolls to run in and just hoped I didn’t fall over in the road.

It was a pretty friendly school, plenty of farmers’ children attending, although I do recall being horrified when a nasty female teacher put one of the girls in a corner and made her wear a dunce's hat - yes, with Dunce painted on it. It was a conical hat like something out of Wizard of Oz. That appalling image has never left me.

One of my best friends chewed his nails constantly and a teacher put sticky tape around his fingernails; that didn’t really stop him, so the teacher painted them with black paint. I felt for the poor bloke.

We had a good sized playground at the back of the building, bitumen or similar, definitely no grass. The boys would play football at any opportunity during the break and lunchtime.

The school then closed and was converted to auction rooms. I later recall going to an auction there for my grandmother’s old farming tools, etc, after she’d died, and my Dad getting really upset about the low prices the items raised. More from an emotional point of view rather than the money. They were, after all, very very old manual items like a wooden wheelbarrow, old hoes etc. But farming was becoming very mechanised at that time.

Les Landes and after

After St Ouen's school closed, students were, mostly I think, transferred to Les Landes school, behind the church which we used to refer to as St George's Church. (I’m a bit rusty on places names now as I live in Sydney). I think I recall the Les Landes school headmaster being a Mr Hewlett, with his son being Nigel. He was a good headmaster and participated in our school concerts, playing his accordion.

Les Landes School lasted about another one or two years, before that school closed down and we were given the choice of moving to either St Mary’s or St Peter’s schools. I guess families moved to whichever was closer to where they lived. I moved to St Mary’s and then on to Victoria College.

Im 64 this year so forgive me for forgetting a few details, but whenever I'm back in Jersey, I drive past St Ouen’s school and recall some good memories from there.

  • Bob would love to see more photographs of his old school, and we would be delighted to publish them if anybody has some they could send to editcontact@theislandwiki.org
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