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Dumfries Academy Primary

I started my school education in 1961 when I was 5 years old, and nearly 6. I had spent the previous year at home being taught to read by my mother and had a head start!
When Aug 31, 1961 to
Jul 30, 1967
Where Dumfries, Scotland
Reflection: The girl who lived next door to my house, was sitting next to me in class when she heard that she would not be joining me in grammar school. Watching her tears began a realisation of the failure to value individual perspectives when educational selection is used to stream children, but also a more general desire to value individuals regardless of educational attainment. In spite of this, all my sons were selected for the schools they attended!

I joined Miss Mill's class in P1 and remember writing on slates, using Cuisenaire rods and tripping Rosemary Farries as she walked past my desk - I was smacked on the hand with a ruler as punishment for that.

In the playground I was afraid of one boy in my class and avoided him by endlessly playing 'Japs and Commandos' - making annoying machine-gun sounds to kill each other.

P2, P3 and P4 are very difficult to remember, although I could place the rooms in the building!

My most rewarding learning memory came from P5, when the teacher, Miss Lawson, drew a straight line on the chalk board and invited us to divide it exactly in two by compass and straight-edge method - I imagined and volunteered a solution without being taught (as far as I know) and proudly demonstrated it to the whole class.

I enjoyed being 'milk monitor' helping to carry the crate of third-pint glass bottles to the class mid-morning - if I was lucky there would be one left over so I could have two!

I remember believing strongly in my abilities, reinforced by success and building ever stronger confidence. I was also aware of children who were much slower, but didn't understand why.

In September 1966 I skipped P6, moving from P5 to P7 to 'catch up' with my age/ability peers. It meant missing Miss Harkness' year, who specialised in humanities subjects to my detriment.

It came as a shock to come 29th= at the end of the first term in P7 with Mr Davidson (also the headteacher), having lead all my classes so far, but I was reassured to come 2nd= in the third term and passed the 11+ test to be admitted to the selective grammar school, Dumfries Academy Secondary.

(Words: 439 )

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Lewis Carroll describes a fictional map that had:

"the scale of a mile to the mile."

A character notes some practical difficulties with such a map and states that:

"we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well."
— Sylvie and Bruno Concluded, Lewis Carroll, 1893

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