The Royal Kent School

A Church of England Primary School

Oakshade Road, Oxshott, Surrey KT22 0LE

01372 842495

RKS Alumni and Guestbook

We would love to hear from our RKS Alumni from across the years!

Please tell us some details about your time at the school; here are some ideas to get you started...

When did you attend? Who was the Headteacher at that time? What is your favourite memory of your time at RKS? What school trips did you go on? Are you still in touch with any of your friends from RKS? Where in the world are you now and do you still have any links with our school?

Underneath our Guestbook you can see who else has visited this page to share their memories!

 

If you are interested in visiting the school as part of our Raising Aspirations programme in Spring 2020, please email the school office (office@royal-kent.surrey.sch.uk). This programme aims to excite the children in the school about their futures, with visitors coming to talk to the children about their own time at school, their chosen career path and lessons they have learnt along the way! In 2020 we are hoping to receive visits from RKS alumni.

Guestbook

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Miranda Simmonds (previously Miranda Chamberlain)

We lived on the corner of Silverdale Avenue and Oakshade Road and I started at Royal Kent in January 1966, shortly before my 5th birthday. I was there until July 1972. Miss Hutt was Headmistress, Mr Rheinlander teacher of class 1 and Mr Fountain was the teacher of class 2 (for some reason we started in class 8 and finished in class 1!). I have many fond memories of Oxshott and the school - playing marbles by the oak trees, playing conkers and the school plays we put on, as well as the pageant for the 150th anniversary in 1970. My parents were very active in the Parent Teachers' Association and they were the ones who rescued the bell when the old school was pulled down. My mother saw it for sale in the local paper (I think it was one of the builders who was selling it), they went and bought it and the PTA arranged for the structure to be built, where it still stands today. My father was also involved in setting up the fireworks display every year. Now living in New Zealand, I still have great memories of that school!

Rachel Bradford

I was a pupil at Royal Kent in 1999-2005 following on from my Father (Mark Bradford) and Auntie (Karen Bradford) who were pupils back in the 70’s. My Nana (Jan Bradford) was also a dinner lady for 25 years. Mrs Ryder was the headteacher throughout my time at this school and Mrs Dale was deputy head as well as my Year 2 and Year 6 teacher. Our Year 1 teacher used to make us sing the register, her name was Mrs Warren. We did a Year 4 trip to Beaulieu, Year 5 to Hooke Court and Year 6 to Hindleap Warren. We did an end of Year 6 performance of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which is one of my favourite memories! I started school with my best friend Emily Godfrey and we are still best friends all these years later. Royal Kent will always have such a special place in my heart, I loved it.

  Jennifer Lane (nee Agnew)

I was a pupil at "the village school" as it was known, from 1949-53 and have nothing but happy memories of my time there.. There were no nurseries, no pre-schools, no playgroups in the '50s - mothers generally didn't work and we were at home until the age of 5, then straight into primary education. School started at 8.30 with Prayers and a hymn, finished at 3.30pm. Halfterm holidays were just 2 days (Monday and Tuesday). 2 weeks holiday at Christmas and Easter, 4 weeks in the summer. Going on holiday before term finished was unheard-of. No school trips, no outings. The school was on the main road, opposite the junction with Steeles Lane. A small building - double doors from outside into the cloakroom with pegs for coats and cubbyholes for shoes - no school uniform but a change of shoes was mandatory - lace-ups for outdoor wear, Start-Rite sandals for indoors. No assembly hall - just 3 rooms, 3 classes, 3 teachers. Miss Foxall took the Infants (5-6 years), Mr.Skinner the Middle Class (7-9) and taught Arithmetic, and the Headmistress took Top Class (9-11 - or in some cases, 12!_) You moved up a class based on age only. We sat in long lines of single wooden desks with a bench seat and wooden backrest. Our exercise books were kept in fabric bags, made by out mothers, with tapes to tie them onto the backrest. The desks had inkwells - we wrote with dip pens, but a lot of our work was done in pencil - less messy! A basic curriculum - no languages other than English and I remember no sports, apart from endless games of Chain He, Prisoners' Base and Grandmother's Footsteps played during the lunchbreak on the big asphalt playground at the rear, which was edged with horse chestnut trees - great for conkers! We had an annual Sports Day, on the rec in front of the cricket pavilion, with sack races, obstacle races and egg-and spoon (my speciality!). We did have Poetry as a separate subject - Tennyson, Rupert Brooke, "I Vow to Thee my Country" - quite advanced for 7-year-olds. Large classes, definitely mixed ability - no classroom assistants so we had to help each other - at 6 years old I was put in charge of a reading group of 5 other pupils - oldest 12 years. My first Headmistress was Miss Brown, soon replaced by lovely Miss Gladys Mayo - I adored her. She lived with her mother and an Alsatian dog in the school house, next door. and later went out to Uganda to teach. She was followed in the late 50's by Miss Thora Hutt - older but an enthusiastic member of The Oxshott Players, the amateur dramatic group founded by my parents in 1950. School milk was provided free in the mid-morning break in small glass bottles - one-third of a pint with a straw. The school had no cooking facilities, but a small room at the rear where Mrs.Pocock and Mrs.Evans doled out the school dinners from huge metal containers brought in by van. I didn't like the look or smell (spam, lumpy mashed potato, overcooked cabbage) and was glad to walk home for lunch, down Oakshade Road to our house in The Ridgeway.

It was a very happy school - by to-day's standards it might be viewed as strict but we were taught old fashioned values - respect for our elders and betters, doing what were told - and I think we were all the better for it. I left at 9, on the advice of Miss Mayo, who suggested to my parents that I would never pass the 11+ unless I had coaching in Arithmetic and this was impossible to provide at the village school. So I went to Rowan Hill prep school in Claygate - very different! All girls, we had lots of homework (not part of the village school), did French, netball, hockey - more importantly, small classes and extra coaching in the holidays. It produced the desired effect - I passed the 11+ and went to Guildford County Grammar School for Girls. Many of my old friends from the Royal Kent also went on to grammar schools and university, as I did. Others went to secondary moderns, then to teachers' training colleges. Those not very academic still found good jobs. National Service for young men went on until 1962, so boys who had finished their education early could go into the Armed Services and be taught a trade. Quite a few of the girls opted for early marriage and children, rather than a career. We all benefited from having had a solid grounding in the basics, taught in a happy atmosphere. I left Oxshott in 1970 and have lived in Wiltshire since 1975. I am still in regular touch with my "oldest" friend, Alison Browne - we are now 72 and have been friends for 67 years. I hope some of my memories have been of interest - one occasion that stands out for me was when Miss Mayo called us all together in 1952 to tell us that the King (George VIth) had died. This news stunned us all into silence - quite a few little girls, including me, burst into tears. It was unthinkable. None of us had ever seen the King - like God, he was an unseen presence - but like God, we expected him to go on for ever. When I got home, I wrote to the Queen (later Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother) to say how sad I was. To my amazement and delight I had a reply, on black-edged Buckingham Palace notepaper and signed by a lady-in-waiting - "Her Majesty is most touched by your kind thought in writing." In 1953 all primary schoolchildren received a Coronation mug - mine lasted for years before finally getting broken in a housemove. I still treasure the letter as I do the memories of a very happy time at my very first school. May the Royal Kent School continue for many years to come.

Michael Dowling

I started at Royal Kent in 1961 until I think 1967. Miss Hutton was the Head teacher during my time there. I have great memories of playing marbles under the trees lining Oakshade road. Also playing cookers under the same trees. I use to live in steels lane until we moved to fern hill in about 1963, after leaving Royal Kent I went to Surbiton grammar school for 2 years until we moved to Australia in 1969 where I still am. I still have most of my school reports from Royal Kent!

Matthew Brown

Back in the mid 1970's I spent a memorable and, mostly, enjoyable time as a Student at Royal Kent. Mr Hedges was our Head at the time with teachers who included: Mr Ryland in what we called Class 1, which would be called Year 6 in today's terminology; Mr Fountain, Class 2; Mrs Hutchins in Class 3; Mrs Isaacs was our French Teacher. My memories cover a great range of topics and events including: Sports day, when my father was beaten by the Priest from St Andrews Church, much to his disappointment; performing in the end of school play(s) where I not only performed, but was also put 'in charge' of the lighting; performing our Nativity play in St Andrews Church, where I was Angel Gabriel; being offered ice cream scoops of mash potato at lunch time and then taking the left overs from the school dinners to the slops bucket, which we were always told went to the local pig farm; being told to keep off the grass and play equipment when it was wet; having classes in the 'huts' at the back of the school; being able to sit on benches in the hall when we reached Class 1 (Year 6) when everyone else had to sit on the floor, amongst many others. I only really remember a couple of trips from my time. One was to the Weald and Downland Museum http://www.wealddown.co.uk/ which was a great day out with our Year 6 trip being a week at what I seem to recall was an old Napoleonic fort. I still remain in touch with one friend, Andy Armiger, from all those years ago and we still regularly catch up and meet every couple of years often reminiscing about our times at school. After Royal Kent we moved from Oxshott to Camberley and after attending Tomlinscote School and Guildford College of Technology I moved to London and have since started my own family. I have brought them back to Oxshott on numerous occasions to walk and play on the Heath, showing them not only my old home, but also my old School. Royal Kent. Hope all goes well in the build up to the big anniversary and who knows we may even see you in the area when we are out walking on the Heath!

Julia Witten

Born 1960, I was a pupil when Miss Hutt was head teacher. We lived on Oakshade Road. My Mother now lives in Silverdale Avenue so backs onto the playing field. When I come and visit her it is so lovely to hear and see the pupils enjoying their time learning at The Royal Kent. I can remember bonfire night when the fire was built up in the school grounds near the houses...health and safety wouldn't allow that now. One year the Guy was dressed in a formal tailed coat as it had been donated to the church to be taken with other bags of clothes to Spitalfields homeless charity in London. It was thought this attire would add a more historical link to the gunpowder plot and the learning for the children rather than taking it to London. We used to play marbles on the earth under the chestnut trees. It was fiercely competitive and the rules were strict. 

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John Denton

Way back,I was at your school from 1950-1954. I enjoyed good education there and was one of three pupils "upgraded" to a higher stream.... I recall in 1953 going on a school trip to the cinema to see a film about the conquest of Mount Everest. I would've been about 7,and found the film somewhat tedious. Apart from a little inevitable playground bullying, I liked my time there very much. I have absolutely no links whatsoever with the school or any classmates. Too long. Our headmistress was Mrs. Mayo who,I think,emigrated to South Africa. I think my form teacher may have been Miss Foxall,but not sure. There was a Mrs Pocock who was perhaps the "dinner lady" and helped organise the annual school play. I remember a nice little girl named Sandra Tilbrook - she was terrified on her first day of school - I was already there and remember comforting/befriending her. Some years later - mid 1970s - I made a nostalgic revisit to Oxshott (our family moved away in 1954/1955.) but the Royal Kent School -the one I'd attended - was no more. It had been demolished. I'd be happy to see any pictures of the old School,if anybody has some. I'm pleased the school continues,albeit in a new location. 

Julie Coltart

I was at Royal Kent way back in 1966 and Miss Hutt was the Head, It was a special school then and I'm sure it still is. Our teacher was Miss Fab! What a great name for a teacher right in the middle of the sixties. I remember her being very cool and one of the other teachers being Mr Fountain. We lived in Blundel Lane and those were happy days all round. The family left for a village in Wiltshire so I didn't finish at Royal Kent, however its interesting to note that my first school report from my next school commented on how polite I was, I'm sure the culture of Royal Kent helped cement those values in addition to my family's efforts..

Rachel Casey

I went to Royal Kent in the 70s along with my twin brother John and my sister Jennifer who is 2 years older. We all shared the surname Christmas! My dad Peter was on the PTA and I remember him being on the PA system one year at the summer fair. Mr Hedges was the Head, and I was in the same class as Matthew Brown above! The annual bonfire and fireworks was always a great event...but I remember my dad being on the team to light them one year, which was a bit nerve-wracking. I took my sons Ben and Sam to them when they were little which is a few years ago now. I think it is great that the school are planning a big celebration for their 200th anniversary. It was and still is a very special place.

Claire Skinner

I was at the school in 1969 when Miss Hutt was the Head teacher. I have so many wonderful memories of Royal Kent. I loved sports day, my trip to the Weald and Downland museum, my art being chosen to go on the wall, playing conkers and making a guy for the bonfire for firework night which was always a great event. I also remember some of the great teachers like Mr Ryneland, Mr Fountain and Miss Hutchinson. I made life long friends who I am still in touch with and the teachers were amazing. I am nearly 55 now and living in Devon and I am a special needs teaching assistant. I will always have fond memories of my time at Royal Kent School... It was such a fab place.

Isobel Uncles

Went to Royal Kent School from 1974 - 1978! Visited the school fayre today and it brought back memories from long ago! I remember Mr Fountain, was there Mr Rheinlander? Remembering the school dinners. My favourite was choc chip pudding with chocolate custard! Soggy fish fingers!! I do have a class photo which I will try to find. Be interesting to see if any other pupils from that time are in touch with this.

 Ian Redding

I attended R.K.S. from 1951 to 1957, the headteacher was Miss Hutt and my favourite teachers were Miss Ashton and Mrs Walker. I was the last person to leave the old school in the village where the garage is. I never attended the existing building.

Sandra Tilbrook {now de ste Croix)

I was at the old Royal Kent School from 1951 – 1956 and remember happy times with strict but kind teachers.  Particularly kind was Miss Foxall who didn’t lecture me on my second day when I decided to follow Mrs Evans and a few children home at lunch time.  Don’t remember their names but I just tagged along.  Much to my mother’s surprise who promptly returned me!  If a 5 year old crossed the same road now it would be a different story!

I also remember Mr Skinner, Miss Ashton, Miss Mayo and Miss Hutt who was Head Mistress and Mrs Pocock who dished up the school dinners and put me off blancmange for life.  I can’t even face Brie cheese now because of the skin/rind which reminds me of the dreadful skin surrounding the blancmange.

Jennifer has described it well which is probably why I disappeared at lunch time on my second day. Also in my class were Sally Mitten who I think had two sisters at the school also Angela Neil and her sister Mary.  Their mother made brilliant chocolate eclairs.

Ian Redding and Gordon Jones who was School Captain  as I was in my final year.  He and I got on well and I remember a trip to The Royal Albert Hall we took on behalf of the school.  I think Carolyn Hewitt was my Vice Captain.

I had left the Royal Kent School by the time Michael Dowling started but his father Ray and my father Jack were best friends for years even after the family moved to Australia.  I have lived in Devon for the past 40 years.

Robert Jones

I was dragged up the hill to the old Royal Kent School Oxshott at the age of 5 in January 1944. I was told to hang up my coat in the cloakroom on the left and not in the girls cloakroom on the right. I remember the ear splitting wail from the air raid siren opposite and regular visits to the fusty bomb shelter across the road. We sang songs while waiting for the 'all clear' which was much preferable to lessons and the school dinners! The head mistress was Miss Stanbridge who stood no nonsense. I left in 1950 with good grounding in the 5 R's but I can't remember what they were! I was lucky enough to win the design competition in May 2018 for the Oxshott Village Sign and, for me, it was a 'eureka moment' when I came up with the idea to place the RKS shield on the top of the sign. 

Danny Jenkins

We lived in Webster Close and like Miranda Chamberlain I started at the Royal Kent in 1966, in fact we were good friends. Amazingly I can remember all the teachers bar one, Class 8 - Miss Smith, Class 7 - Mrs Penry, Class 6 - Help!, Class 5 - Mrs Finch, Class 4 - Mrs Moses and Class 3 - Miss McNamara, Class 2 - Mr Fountain and Class 1 - Mr Rheinlander. One of my earliest memories was thinking that I only had to go to school for one day and then it was over. On my second day I kicked up a storm and marched out. I loved playing marbles and especially enjoyed sports day, that and the Christmas party were my events of the year. Cherished memories from my time at the school especially performing in Wind in the Willows and Aladdin. Amazingly I still have the tile given to all pupils at the 150th celebrations.

 Margaret Lindley nee Anderton

I attended both the old Royal Kent school and the new in Oakshade Road along with my brother Nick. We both started school in 1953/54 with him leaving to go to Tiffin Boys school in 1957. I was lucky to have my last year, 1959, at the Royal Kent in the new school, it was such an amazing change. I thoroughly enjoyed my primary school years at such a happy school and have memories of Miss Hutt, Miss Ashton, she was a bit scary, Mrs Abbott and Mr Green, our teachers and Mrs Pocock and my own mother, as dinner ladies and playgroups helpers. In the old school memories are outside lavatories, making ice slides in the playground on winter, frosty mornings, sports days on the cricket club field, marbles, conkers, skipping, health medicals, nitty Nora and I suppose school work, but no homework! In the new school I felt very proud to be voted the first female school captain of that school and Peter Gray and I, as school captains, took monies raised for The Childrens' Society to the Albert Hall, presenting purses to the Duchess of Kent, (I think). The space in the school and the grounds felt so big to us ten year olds and to have our own classroom for our school year was amazing. I remember enjoying country dancing in the big new hall and the space we all had at lunch time in the hall. I didn't pass that dreaded eleven plus and so. went onto Cobham school, with my friends Janice Wollaston, Janet Comber, and some boys I can remember, Peter Gray Christopher Lines and others, whose names escape me. Other RKS friends I am still in contact with are Patricia Pannell and Lesley Wadey, who is by coincidence my now sister in law. On leaving the Royal Kent, my father Andy Anderton, started teaching at the school as deputy headteacher to Miss Hutt. He took Class One when Mr Green left, he also encouraged the children with his love of music and of sport. He loved his job there but in 1971 he left to take up the headship of Cobham Junior school and died in 1980, aged 64, just a few months before his retirement. I became a nurse, training at Kings College in London, working for the NHS for 40years and now, aged 72, I live just outside Salisbury, but will never forget my innocent and early learning days at the Royal Kent. I would love to come back and visit the school during the 200year celebrations.

Eric Hall

I assume I started in September 1937. The infant Teacher was Miss Hindmarch the Head being Miss Stanbridge. My mother sent me off with an apple but as she failed to tell me when to eat it I cried and the Head came to the rescue!  I never liked using the lentils for craft work, nor making Christmas paper chains.  I recall being a rat in the pied piper of Hamelin one year, and Scrooge in Christmas Carol another.  My family insist I was typecast. 

Jane Bishop nee Wilson

Dear Royal Kent, I was so delighted to see that the school is in it's 200th year. What a magnificent achievement! I saw an advertisement for a Junior school teacher when I had graduated from my teacher training and applied. To my delight, having had an interview with Miss Hutt, I learned that I was to start in September, 1959 as teacher to the first year Juniors. I loved the school, its ethos, my colleagues and the work. Miss Hutt expected discipline, hard work, good results and a happy place for the children to learn. I was on a fast learning curve and her attention to detail and kindly help saw me gradually morph into a useful member of staff. I loved sport and so usually took extra sport after school for the children and took them to the various district sports days. Since I was not a confident singer, the nursery class teacher, Miss Scott, took my singing and I took her poetry. I am still in touch with Miss Scott, who became Mrs Hibberd. I am also in touch via Christmas cards with Maureen Savage and Muriel Warburton. There was only one change of teacher in the five years that I taught in the school which indicates what a happy place it was to work. On the last day of term, Miss Hutt and we would walk up the road to a cafe on the corner of the main street and have lunch together. I only left because I was getting married and moving down to Bath. I remember being thrilled that nearly all my class and the teachers came to the church for our wedding service. We used a wonderful grace during the service which had been written by Mr Anderton, who went on to become head of Cobham Junior School, I believe. As Deputy Head, he was a lovely man; musical and clever with a great sense of humour. I have often wondered what happened to him. One of my abiding memories was of the day when the whole school were assembled to watch a film. I had been sent on a course to learn how to operate this fearsome contraption and this was my first opportunity to show off my new-found expertise. As the reels began to whirr round, the bulb exploded. Placing the only spare bulb into the machine and starting again, the same thing occurred. There was a deathly hush. Miss Hutt looked less than pleased and turning to me, she said: "Well, Miss Wilson, it seems that you will have to provide the entertainment yourself". Dredging up resources I didn't know I possessed, I told them a very elongated mystery story which I made up as I went along. Amazingly, they seemed to enjoy it and the time was filled till break. I never forgot the experience!! Miss Scott went to teach in Australia for a year and the head of a nursery in Australia came to teach at the Royal Kent in her place for a year, which was most interesting. At the time, this lady thought that our system of teaching far outstripped her own. She really disliked the restrictive nature of teaching over there where every school taught the same subjects at the same time as every other school in Australia. This left no room for innovation or different approaches which she felt was a great loss. 

 

Lynne Skilton nee Redding

As you can see from my maiden name, some people will remember my mother Joy Redding, who worked in the office and was in charge at lunch times, she may have given you an ice cube for a bumped head or wet tissue for a graze on your knee! My Nan was a dinner lady (Mrs Lumley) who used to take my plate away if I didn't like the school dinners (before my mum would come back into the hall to check). My dad used to go to the school when it was up in the village (where the petrol garage now stands), he spent most of his time in the air raid shelter opposite! My sister and I attended as well. My memories of RKS are making a daisy chain that went along the grass right in the front of the main building, I think Claire Skinner (Taylor) was doing this as well! Running in the district sports, going to France for the day, drinking a 1/3 of a pint of warm milk, having rabbits and guinea pigs in the classroom, the teachers: Miss Buist, Mr Rienlander, Mr Fountain, Miss Wilson, Mrs Abbot, Miss McNamara, headteacher Miss Hutt then Mr Hedges and many more. I loved my time at RKS, and sent both my children there as well. I have been working there for nearly 19 years now! Thanks for the memories RKS!

 

David

I was a student a RKS in the late 1980s to 1994, joining as a student from the private school down the road, which I apparently hated! I forget the name of the headmistress at RKS, who left to retire to Spain with her husband, and was replaced by a new headmistress. I think Mr. Callaway was the deputy-head. I have many fond memories of my time at the school, from a trip to Devon where we learned all about ecology and geology, and saw dolphins for the first time, to daily playtime in the playground and fields (being careful of the nettle bushes of course!). I also remember running around the pond in the back with my friends, trying to catch dragonflies and tadpoles. I learned how to ride a bike on Oakshade Road, and used to love carol singing in the area around Christmas, with the reward of mince pies at the pub at the end. I remember learning that crab apples from the trees were inedible, though we tried them anyway as dares. There was also a series of books in the little library about what a normal day for children in other parts of the world looked like. I used to spend days sitting in the sunshine reading these books, and I'm sure they contributed to me subsequently travelling and living all over the world. I now live in San Francisco, California, but RKS plays a large part in me still considering Surrey to be "home".

 

Linda Arrowsmith nee Robbins

I started in 1961 and left in 1968. We caught the train from Cobham Station (where my brother Andrew and I lived in the Station House) to Oxshott. We'd call for the Brown brothers who lived at Oxshott station and walk through the woods with Mr Fountain, who was also on our train. I have very happy memories of my time at Royal Kent. Like others who have written here I enjoyed playing under the chestnut trees, not only marbles and conkers but also collecting the fallen leaves to mark out houses which we played in. The ice slides were great fun and I remember someone built an igloo in the great freeze of 1963. My favourite teacher was Mr Anderton in Year One. He set up after school clubs for Basket Making, Pottery, Copperplate Writing among other things. He also entered us into a singing competition with a songs themed on the Ancient Mariner. We went to a school in Surbiton for the finals, where parents went along to watch. I also have fond memories of Miss Robinson (later Mrs Blowers) who used to play us folks songs on her guitar and get us singing along with her. Miss Hutt was the Headmistress when I was there and she lived in a cottage opposite. Mrs Abbott used to come in and listen to reading and do Maths and Sewing lessons. I remember Mrs Anderton, Mrs Pocock and Mrs Bazeley as dinner ladies and playground helpers, always there to hold a hand when needed. When Mrs Pocock died they erected a scramble net in her memory. I also remember Mr Songhurst the caretaker, always at the ready with his bucket of sawdust. We had some great visiting Theatre Groups putting on plays in the hall. Country dancing lessons in the hall were another favourite. We did a memorable school trip to St Pauls and Westminster Abbey and our year one trip to The Nutcracker at the Festival Hall was spell binding. Royal Kent was a great place to go to school and I hope you can resume your 200th celebrations once the world gets back to normal after this lockdown. I would love to come and visit in the future.