So that’s that. The new ‘SuperSchools’ in Barnsley are slowly nearing completion and starting to open, leaving behind the empty shells of the old schools that generations of Barnsley-folk have attended.
There are currently five new schools being constructed in the area, all designed to replace the old schools. Apparently they’re more modern, more sophisticated, and they have been designed as the perfect learning environment. The fact that they all look like Barnsley’s nod to Alcatraz is by the by.
Pupils that have recently been moved from Royston High to the newly opened Carlton Community College have even likened it to a prison, saying “It’s not a school; it’s a big fancy prison. I felt free when I got let out at 2:30. Gonna miss Royston High a lot.”
I went to Royston High from 2000 to 2005, and all said and done, it wasn’t a bad school. Granted, it wasn’t the biggest school or most pretty, but it was ours. My brother went there, my mum and dad went there, all my aunties and uncles went there, and even my cousins were going there until it finally closed its gates the other week. Even my granddad used to teach there, many moons ago!
The school was built over 80 years ago as a temporary school. More permanent parts were added years later, but the original wooden east and west blocks are still standing. And up until seven or eight years ago it was painted a distinct shade of red, thus earning it the affectionate name, the ‘red shed’!
Unlike other people I didn’t really mind going to school. Mainly for the social aspects, but it was still a good five years and I came out with pretty good grades. There were lessons and teachers there that we hated, there were lessons and teachers there that we loved. But I guess that’s all just part of the experience.
The school worked hard to achieve a specialist science college status, and it was the heart of the Royston community, putting on yearly productions, offering night classes in various subjects, keeping the sports hall open in the evenings for local football teams to use, and providing summer schools over the holidays in order to give kids something to do.
The school was even part of a joint scheme with City School in Sheffield, where students from both schools travelled to Malealea in the third world country of Africa in order to help the much poorer children there.
I imagine that in a year’s time there’s going to be a nice big fancy new housing estate standing where the school used to stand, and it’s sad to think that this is the probable fate for a once bustling school that has so much history and meant so much to people.
So in true Barnsley fashion, I have one final thing to say. Royston High School, it’s been a pleasure. Si thi later!
January 2013 update: So the school has been flattened for a good year and a half leaving a surprisingly small, empty footprint where it once stood. However according to the Barnsley Chronicle the old site will be put to ‘good use’ by building over 100 houses, a petrol station AND a supermarket! Can’t imagine all that stuff fitting on there, but we’ll see…!