THIS WEEK IN 1977: Learning together in harmony

A popular time of day - milk break

In 1977 Gatcombe Park First School, Portsmouth, turned two years old.

It opened during a period of massive upheaval in education, but its headmistress, Sheila Fraser, explained that Gatcombe missed the trouble of transferring children and started largely with new pupils.

The open-plan building was designed for 140 children aged between five and eight who were divided into four classes and shared two open teaching areas.

The younger two classes shared the use of a painting area and a quiet room.

The idea of sharing space was encouraged by the staff who felt it taught the children to be aware of their fellow pupils.

‘We are teaching them to be good citizens,’ said Mrs Fraser, ‘ to live together in harmony. In an open-plan building you have to take others into consideration.’

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