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"My memories of St. Andrews are really rather mixed. Looking back now my over-riding memory is of feeling unhappy. My Mother wanted me to go to a convent school because she was a very staunch Catholic, but the nearest one was approximately 15 miles away and entailed 2 bus journeys and leaving home at 7.30 in the morning.

My introduction to this School was fraught with fear and trepidation as I was neither with my friends who lived in the same neighbourhood nor was I with the other children from my junior catholic primary school in Dorking, so I was quite alone. Right from the beginning I didn’t settle in and I felt a bit inferior, especially as I didn’t have the correct uniform. The School instructed the pupils to buy the uniform from Bentalls in Kingston, which was quite expensive.

I suppose in reality most of my uniform was purchased from there, i.e. items emblazoned with the school badge etc. , but other items were purchased more cheaply by my parents. One strong memory is that the pleats on my skirt never stayed in place unlike the more expensive skirts worn by my classmates. I was constantly trying to iron them back in – usually very unsuccessfully. And then there were my school jumpers ! These were hand-knitted by my Mother unlike most of the other girls’ whose jumpers were the more expensive type from Bentalls. I can remember really hating this, hating that my jumpers were much thicker and warmer……..and HOME-MADE!

I suppose these were all reminders to me that my parents were not well off and I was different from most of the other girls there. I know that my parents struggled financially to enable me to stay at St. Andrews and I therefore felt really guilty and unable to tell them how unhappy I was at the School. I suppose that nowadays children are encouraged to discuss problems at school, but I don’t ever remember receiving any kindness or understanding from the teachers there, in fact quite the opposite. I can remember harshness and bigotry, which seems so at odds with the common perception of a Christian education.

However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. I also remember lots of fun times. I remember times in the gym and swimming in the Summer. The School had lovely grounds and in the Summer it was great to sit on the grass in the break-times with my friends chatting about life in general. I had wonderful friends, including Mary, Ros and Sheila and I recall that we laughed a lot and were forever getting into trouble for making too much noise or giggling”

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