Back to school: Former Wokingham pupils meet up with their headteacher after more than 50 years

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ONE BUNCH of Wokingham pupils couldn’t wait for half-term to end so they could get back to school.

But these were no swots: they were gathering to celebrate the anniversary of their first day at The Emmbrook.

The secondary school held its first intake of pupils in May 1965 and around 50 of the early scholars held their reunion at the Dog and Duck before taking part in a tour of buildings.

And to make their reunion extra special, for their visit they were accompanied by the Emmbrook’s first headteacher, Richard Carter.

With the pupils now in their 60s, there was little chance that the now retired head would tell them off for running in the corridors or failing to do their homework, but organiser Gary Wells said it had been a great day.

“This was a big deal for us,” he admitted. “We all met at the Dog and DUck who very kindly gave us one end of the pub and beer garden. It was a glorious day and we couldn’t have been better looked after.”

After a buffet lunch, the pupils then went back to their alma mater to see what had changed.

“We were the first intake of the school in May 1965, others who came were in the second and third intakes in the latter part of 1965 and 1966. They had been organising their own reunions, but we combined together.

“Our tour was really good, especially as we had the original headmaster with us.

“The school certainly has expendaded, the school playing fields are an awful lot smaller than they were.

Mr Wells has been organising the reunions since 1998, and this year marked the 21st year that they had got together.

“We’ve all remained great friends, even though all we have in common was going to the same school. Our conversations just pick up from where they were left.”

And there is plenty to talk about. They joined the school at the height of the swinging sixties and Mr Carter had some progressive ideas about educating his young charges.

“It was exciting to be the first intake, it was all experimental for us,” Mr Wells said. “We had had one term at St Crispins before the building had finished. When we started in May, we had the place to ourselves, with teachers starting from scratch.

“It was a no-cane school, something that Richard was proud of. He wasn’t a scary man, but we all respect him immensely. He had a military background and an air of authority.

“The Emmbrook was a very good school and we enjoyed it as much as you can.”

And the pupils intended to continue carry on meeting up as often as they can.

“We will continue to meet every couple of years,” Mr Wells said. “Richard is 91, we would want him to have the opportunity to partake in as many more reunions as we can.”

But for Mr Wells, there will be more opportunities to talk about the good old days with Mr Carter: they both live in Chipping Sodbury.

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Mark harman
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Mark harman

Wow. My head teacher too. How lovely to see that face again. 91! Keep going Mr Carter!

Sharon
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We were one of the first comprehensive years ‘75-82.
The pastoral care given by the teachers was second to none. Everyone was given the best opportunity to thrive – in addition to exams we had a 3 day stay at an agricultural college and all passed our basic sailing skills course. The teachers taught us to aim as high as we could.
Even now through Facebook I am still in touch with Emmbrook friends.