Year 9 Options Evening is Wednesday 6th March, 4:00pm - 6:00pm.  Presentations from Mr Andrews and Miss Piper start at 4:00pm and 5:00pm.

Former pupils walk the corridors of TPA after more than 50 years

October 6, 2023 01:54pm

Former pupils of The Portsmouth Academy took a trip down memory lane as they reunited to walk the corridors of the school after more than 50 years.

Joined by Mrs. Janet Mudd, who was their PE teacher at what was then known as Kingston Modern School for Girls, there were smiles all around as the ladies reminisced about the funny, memorable and cheeky moments.

Marilyn Bainbridge, who left Kingston Modern (TPA) in 1968, said it was a joy to remember the good times at school with her friends.

She said: “We had such great fun visiting the school earlier this year. Some of the spaces within the school haven’t changed at all, whereas some parts are very different. When we walked into the front bit, it was funny to see the headmistress's office [now the principal's office] where it has always been.

“I made a register with the names of those who were at the reunion recently and handed it to Mrs. Mudd. She blew the whistle, and we all got into a line, as we always would at school, and she started calling people’s names out. One of the girls went ‘Yes’ and Mrs. Mudd gave her a stern look until she said ‘Yes, Mrs. Mudd’ and we all burst out laughing because it was just how it was when we were pupils there.”

There have been multiple reunions amongst the girls since they left the school, but this one was particularly special as they had the opportunity to explore inside during the summer break when the building was closed to pupils.

Marilyn continued: “You don’t realise how valuable your time at school is until it’s too late, and I think sometimes you have just got to take the time to reflect and appreciate the past.

“One of my most grateful experiences of school was when Mrs. Mudd got me a job as a bookkeeper in Fratton. I couldn’t do pounds, shillings and pence when I left school, or at least I didn’t think I could do it. And Mrs. Mudd believed in me and said that I can do it; I just think I can’t do it. I was 15, convinced I was unable to do it, but Mrs. Mudd believed in me and got me the job.”

Inevitably, The Portsmouth Academy has changed significantly since the days of being Kingston Modern School for Girls, but there continues to be a strong stance on encouraging students to achieve their aspirations while being respectful along the way.

Janet Mudd started her time at the school as a 20-year-old PE teacher in 1952 and left Kingston Modern in 1975.

She had the pleasure of delivering PE lessons in the school’s gymnasium, which was brand new at the time and is now also being used as the school's dining hall today. She has been involved in reunions since.

“I thought it was a jolly good idea to get permission to go onto the school’s site, and it was incredible to see the joy amongst my former pupils,” said Janet.

She added: “Unbeknown to me, the girls bought the colour of the uniform that they used to wear all those years ago at Kingston Modern, so it was lovely to see them dressed in their maroon jackets and ties with grey skirts or trousers.

“When we were in the building, I wanted to go and see my gym because I was the PE teacher. Of course, it has been completely remodelled since I was last there all those years ago, as there weren’t any ropes or wall bars, but it still took my breath away. The floor is still exactly the same. I can’t tell you what memories came flooding back to me when I stood on that floor.”

Asked what message the former PE teacher would give to current students at The Portsmouth Academy, Mrs. Mudd said: “The school has a wonderful building with long-standing traditions and a reputation of being a happy and successful school, so enjoy your space and remember these days with fondness.”