Testing in Primary School – what was it like for you?



How lucky are you to have such interesting parents!  We have had so many comments from so many parents about what they remember from primary school.  It makes me realise just how varied our experiences are and and how lucky we are to be able to share our memories so easily on our blog.  I really hope that you take the time to read what all the parents have to say and think about what you might be able to say about your schooling years from now!  Thanks for encouraging your parents to comment on our blog.

Hello to the parents of Year 5,

This blog post is specifically for you and your daughters will be delighted if you respond and leave a comment.  We hope that it may also create some discussion at the dinner table.  What are your memories of tests and exams in primary school?

I grew up in the state school system in Sydney from the mid 60’s to the end of the 70’s so my experience may be similar to yours.  I still have my school reports which were flimsy little papers containing a list of subjects, the marks I had achieved and a place in my grade.  The teacher’s comment was one sentence!

So no doubt we were ‘tested’ but I don’t really recall ever doing a test.  I loved being at school and perhaps this is why I don’t remember testing.   I do remember sitting in rows, SRA reading cards, cuisenaire rods and times tables.  I remember reading aloud to our infants mistress and learning the rivers of NSW off by heart.  We didn’t measure or weigh anything in maths and I certainly didn’t learn to work anything out in my head!  The moon landing in 1969 was probably the sum total of the Science curriculum.  Our teachers issued half yearly and yearly reports so unless they made up the results I guess we did do some assessment tasks and formal tests.  Can you help me remember?  What our your reflections?

Here is our first reply

Hello year 5! My name is Megan and I am Emily’s Mum in class 5G. I grew up in a semi-rural area of Victoria in the 70’s. I went to the local primary school of 950 children (the biggest State school in Victoria at that time!) It was a huge co-ed school with over 4 ovals and plenty of grassy spaces to run and play. I loved my years in Primary school. We had an art teacher, a Music teacher, a Physical Education teacher, a Librarian and a classroom teacher for each year level. I remember doing spelling tests from year 4 onwards each Friday morning and dictation and punctuation drill each week. We never had homework and occasionally we did projects on ‘project paper’. I used to get a lot of my ideas from library books and my father’s National Geographic magazines and was allowed to cut some of the pictures out of these. We did not have computers back then! I loved going to the art room and learning how to use clay and make pots using the ’spiral technique’. I do remember in Year 5 we had to learn how to do square dancing, a form of bush dance and hold boys’ hands! (We didn’t like that very much!) Those are the things I remember the most from school rather than tests or the actual work. I really enjoyed my years at primary school very much. The girls at Roseville College are so lucky to have so many wonderful opportunities to use so many variety of techniques to learn so many new things and subjects. You are all very lucky!

34 thoughts on “Testing in Primary School – what was it like for you?

  1. Pingback: Question for Parents: What Was School Like For You? | 2KM @ Leopold Primary School!

  2. Mandy – Hi I am Beth’s Mum from 5G. My Primary years were spent at Wahroonga Public School in the 70’s and 80’s. I have some very fond memories of primary school. My fondest memories were in the playground. Playing Elastics, and strings…. anyone remember how to do the cradle?

    One of my memories includes doing a project on the Great Barrier Reef – gaining all my information from the World Books also. My favourite teacher was Mr Bolton in year 6. He was an inspiration and and made learning an enormous amount of fun.

    I remember swimming in PE and having to step into the Condys Crystals before we could go and get in the pool. I remember T-ball and athletics… there was not much offered in the way of sport back then for girls!

    I remember carrying my report cards home nervously, often the comment “Needs to contribute to class more.”

    I recently went to my 20 year Secondary school reunion and caught up with many of my Primary school class mates – we all had a good laugh at our memories of each other and our teachers, all very curious where all our teacher are these days.

    Roseville is a beautiful school and we know that all the girls at RLC will reflect in many years to come what wonderful experiences and incredible opportunities they have had. Cherish these years and each other.

    Mandy Riordan.

  3. Hello, I’m Angela, Kate’s Mum. I went to 9 different Primary Schools and 2 different Secondary Schools – so 11 schools in total. I have many varied memories – some good and some not so good! I grew up in the north of Western Australia and started school in Carnarvon – do any of you know where that is? I remember I had a very strict teacher who would make us sit in the rubbish bin in front of the class if we were naughty! One day I was chasing boys around the classroom while the teacher was out – she caught me by surprise when she returned to class! She smacked me on the hand with a ruler – ow! Of course, these days, a teacher would never be allowed to punish children like this as they would be in the news and in court defending themselves! The worst part about all of this was that this teacher had the same surname as me – Miss Wilson!
    When I was in Year 1 I had to change schools because of my Dad’s work. This was very hard as I had to leave my friends and make new ones and that is always hard when you are the only new student to the school. I found this the beginning of many such difficult times as I ended up changing schools another 10 times! It was always hard trying to be part of a group that was already really good friends. School work was fortunately OK for me and I have pleasant memories of doing my schoolwork – especially spelling tests and maths – I actually enjoyed doing these!
    Another very special experience was going to school with Aboriginal children in Jigalong Community on the edge of the Simpson Desert. My brother and I were the only European children at the school with 100 Aboriginal children. We used to go on “walk-about” for our excursions and school camps were camping under the stars in a creekbed listening to dingoes howling during the night. We would cook bungarra, kangaroo and emu on the fire for food! We would then go on “walkabout ” and collect emu eggs,honey ants and witchety grubs and we would eat them!(They do taste yummy!!!). After a while my Mum and Dad realized that my brother and I needed to do more schoolwork so we joined Meekatharra School of the Air. We spoke to our teacher over the radio and said “over!””over and out!”. We would speak to children on other stations too and that was very interesting. During this time Mum was our teacher and our classroom used to be one of our bedrooms – so our school environment was very comfortable! I remember doing tests and Mum would supervise them. She would then send them to our teacher in Meekatharra for marking and we would get them back in the mail about a month later. (We had a mail truck every two weeks). When I looked out of the window of our classroom, I would see horses that belonged to the community standing in the stockyard. We could also choose what time we wanted to have recess and lunch and we didn’t have a bell! At the end of the day, we were able to go and play with our friends and our rule was that we “had to be home before sundown”.
    Another huge experience was moving to Alice Springs for my Dad’s work again – this was when I started Secondary School. It was very difficult to start a new school(Alice Springs High School) again not knowing anyone – and this time it was in a “BIG town”! After one year, we moved to a big city – Perth. And this is where I attended Penrhos Ladies College. I had to learn very quickly how to behave in an all girls school – I could not speak Aboriginal language there! I also needed to quickly find out about all the latest pop-groups and things like that so that I could be part of everything. I am very lucky that I made some very good friends there and they are like my sisters today. In fact I went away with 4 of them two weeks ago to the Blue Mountains for a holiday! As Roseville girls, you have many opportunities to let your individual talents shine and we as parents get so much joy from seeing you all develop into beautiful girls who are all so kind to each other. Just think of all those wonderful years ahead of you that you have together!
    Angela Walters

  4. Hi Year 5, Alice’s mum Amanda here. I went to the Butts County Primary School in Alton, Hampshire in England (1976-1984). It was a really small school with one class for each year, my best friend was Matthew Curtis. I loved everything about my school except the horrible green uniform.
    I remember our open air swimming pool and our running track that went up a really steep hill. We had huge playing fields and spent all our time rolling down them in the freshly cut grass.
    Assembly was held every morning and we had to sing morning has broken like the first day every single day – we started making up new words to the song always starting with who stole my meatball!
    We also had little bottles of milk delivered to the classroom and the birds would peck open the foil lids! And cooked lunches every day – you didn’t get a choice and you couldn’t leave the lunch hall until you had finished.
    We only had end of year exams and we would sit in the dinner hall at opposite ends of the lunch tables, I remember colouring in a lot of oval shapes and feeling very cold and nervous whilst doing the tests!
    My first camp was to Belgium and Holland where Michelle and I had to share a room with the teachers – seeing Mrs Crucker in a green dressing gown, curlers and face cream should have scared me to death, instead I took a photo which she demanded the negative to when we got back to school!
    I then went with almost everyone from my junior school to Amery Hill School (1984-1989) where we went from 25 kids in a year group to over 150, and a much nicer blue uniform!
    I loved hockey, netball, rounders, music, geography and cdt (craft design and technology). I wasn’t so keen on latin or my French teacher who was rather scary and would only speak to us in French. I was at High School when the teachers in England went on strike so from year 8 I no longer had homework and we finished school at 1.30 in the afternoon, that lasted an entire year – excellent as that sounds I actually missed school! Although that was my first introduction to Australia as Neighbours had just started on tv in the UK!
    We had a school report once a year that came home with grades a-e and 1-5 for ability and effort. I remember a comment from my tutor Mrs Lowe – “enjoy everything you do with manners, humility and humour – and stop talking during lessons!”
    Good luck with naplan – I hope the building work stops for you :}

  5. Hi, Year 5, I am Thomas, Kat’s Dad from 5M. I had a somewhat nomadic life in my Primary School years in the 70’s as started in Slovakia in a local language school. I still remember going to my first day of school not understanding a single word!!
    We had tests each week and my teachers helped me overcome my difficulties with extra tutoring so by Year4 I received an Award in literature!
    At Year 5 our family moved back to Hungary (where we are originally from) and attended school in my ‘native’ language.
    This time I experienced that I spoke well but used Slovakian writing characters which did not match at all the spoken language!
    I had to ‘read’ my first written exams as my teacher did not understand what I wrote..I had a pretty difficult two years as the school was very strict and we had daily Tests in all subjects.
    Year 7 was another move, this time to Tanzania (Africa) where I attended an International School, based on the American system. I had to learn English in 3 months to join my class – and you guessed it – speak, read, write in English. Somehow I ‘survived’ went to High School and University.
    I loved all schools despite the odd language barriers and made many friends…remember learning is a lifetime experience and you are laying the foundations right now..
    Good luck for next week Year 5.

  6. Hi Year 5 , I’m Jos Pippa’s mum.
    I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa and went to Springfield Convent Primary School and was taught by nuns wearing habits, so they all looked the same and you had to tell them by shape!
    I remember being terrified of my year 1 teacher and never wanting to go to school that year. By the end of the year I realised that although she was a very strict teacher, she was lovely and I started to enjoy school.
    I changed schools in year 6 which I remember was very hard. I had to give up all my extra mural activities like ballet and horse riding and have extra lessons on a Saturday morning to catch up with the work.
    We had spelling and times tables tests every Friday morning and I remember learning how to knit. It was quite difficult. I aso remember lots of singing, concerts, ‘gummi’ which was what we called elastics and swimming galas.
    In the Senior School I became a boarder and only went home two weekends a term as my Mum and Dad travelled overseas quite often.
    I loved my school and remember a favourite comment on my school reports which said that if I had not been so naughty I could have done heaps better!
    Good luck for next week Year 5.

  7. Hi Everyone, it’s Jacqui here, Morgan’s mum. I also went to a state school during primary school. We lived in a new area of Sydney and so every year or so new schools were erected and we were moved to the school that was closest to our home, which meant I changed schools quite a bit. In year 5 and 6, I was lucky enough to attent a brand new school. I remember the classroom blocks were octagonal and we had a common room in the middle, for reading, doing class activites or meeting other classes. There were 4 classrooms per block. I can’t remember doing any major tests, except spelling, dictation and maths on Friday mornings. Each week we had a project to complete on various topics eg The Gold Rush Era, Egypt, Australian Animals, and alot on the history of Australia. I also remember we used to have talent competitions, and I came 7th (or thereabouts) dancing to Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen’. Very much the 70’s. So 70’s that our winter uniform was a yellow skivvy and a brown skirt with long brown socks. Very Special. I loved school and all the fun we had.

    Wishing you all good luck for Naplan next week


  8. Hi I am Sharon, Sioned’s mum 5G

    I can remember the equivalent of Year 5 in Brisbane Qld where I went to school. It was the year we moved from one side of Brisbane to the other and I started at a new school. This new school was trialling some alternative teaching methods and we had one large class with two teachers. We would be split into groups and alternate between the two teachers for maths and english in the mornings. After lunch we worked on themed projects which used to take the whole term to complete. Our male teacher had an earring and our female teacher rode a motorbike to school – this was very different from the staid traditional primary school I was used to. However I still don’t remember there being many tests. Not sure how successful their teaching methods were because in Year 6 we went back to the traditional method of one teacher per class.

  9. Hi Everyone, I’m Cameron Burrows, Paris father.
    I attended Bilgola Plateau Public until the end of year 3, then transferred to Pittwater House School in year 4. What I do remember was the teachers had lots of rules, if you stepped out of line or were naughty the headmaster would punish you with either a Saturday detention or 6 of the best with a ruler.
    The most enjoyable times were spent playing sport, cricket and football
    What I did learn was the meaning of respect to other people and to work hard
    Every year we would spend 1 week in a large old country house in Bathurst, which really made everyone bond together as a group and create great friendship. I still have lots of school friends I see regularly today.

  10. Hi everyone,
    I grew up in the 60s to the 70s in Hong kong. I no longer have my reports anymore but I still have some awards. My best subject was chinese English and chemistry.English was my second language.There were about 360 students in each grade.My summer uniform was middle blue and on the collar there was a stripe on the edge of it.My winter uniform was middle blue as well. it.My

  11. Hi Year 5. I am Leanne, Sheridan’s Mum. I was at Primary School in the mid t0 late 70’s. I went to school in Gordonvale which is in Nth Qld, about 20km south of Cairns. Gordonvale is a small rural (sugar cane) country town which had a population of about 2000 in the 70’s.

    One of the things I remember most about my time at school is our assembly. Every day when the bell went we would all line up in our classes on the parade ground. We would all be told to stand to attention and proceed to sing the National Anthem. In the earlier years we sang God Save the Queen. We did not have a School Band as such but I was in the Recorder Group and would play at assembly.

    Reciting the times tables over & over again, learning about verbs, adjectives, nouns etc, and reading many Enid Blyton books are other memories. I used to love reading the Famous Five & Secret Seven series books. I remember spending a lot of time at the local library and as computers did not exist, our main source of information was Encyclopedia Brittanica & The World Book Encyclopedia.

    It amused me the other day when Sheridan told me that Year 5 at Roseville watch Behind The News (BTN). I am not sure when this program originated but I also watched it at school.

    Sport also played a key role in my time at school. Athletics, softball, tennis and vigoro (which is a form of ladies cricket) provide fond memories.

  12. Hi Year 5, I’m Finley’s Dad, Jonathan.

    I went to primary school in Johannesburg, South Africa. When I went to school there (in the late 70’s) it was a small all boys school with not many pupils on what seemed to be the edge of town. Today it is a much bigger school that even allows girls in the High School !

    My memories of primary school are very happy ones – I seem to remember spending most of my time outside, playing some kind of sport or generally messing about with my friends.

    Getting school reports at the end of the year were always an interesting time. I remember always waiting for the report to be delivered in the mail, slightly anxious that the final test of the year hadn’t gone too well and my marks wouldn’t be good enough. But I always seemed to get through and the teachers comments always surprised my parents – they often said that they were sure my teachers had me confused with another boy in my class !!

    Have as much fun as you can at school – Roseville College is a great place with great teachers and I am certain that when you are “all grown up” you will wish you were back at Roseville College having fun !

  13. Hi everyone from year 5. I am Jeffrey, Margaret’s dad. I was born in Beijing and had my education in China. The system is different from here. There is two terms and two holidays a year. There are two big tests, mid term test and end term test each term. The tests were hard and stressful. All subjects need to be tested and marked end of the term, even sports. At year 5 we had Math, Chinese, history,geography, music, arts, sports and political. I was quite smart and good at all subjects. Some classmates always copied my homework. End of year test was a big event. The teaching should be finished 2 weeks before the yearly test. The last 2 weeks was for reviewing and preparing for the test. Less play, less fun, the hardest time of the year. I can still remember and feel the relief and joy when I finished my last test of the year.
    In China the schools and classes are bigger. Six to eight classes per level is common. There were 48 students in my class and were divided into 4 groups. There were group leaders and class captains. Here in Roseville College there is no more than 25 students per class and I believe children are well looked after. The facilities are the ones I could never dreamed of. How lucky are they!

  14. Hi Year 5,
    My name is Vanessa and I’m Victoria’s Mum. I went to Elanora Heights primary school in the 70’s and Mater Maria College, Warriewood in the 80’s. Like Mrs Thomas, I remember cuisnaire rods, SRA cards and mainly working from text books. The only tests I remember having in primary school are spelling and dictation tests on a Friday morning. I can’t remember having many tests even in High School apart from the school certificate in Year 10 and the HSC in Year 12.

    I loved Friday’s in primary school because after lunch we went to PSSA sport. We would catch the bus and play other schools. Year 5 was one of my favourite years in primary school because I had my first male teacher and he made learning fun. I also loved year 5 because all of my friends were in my class and we all sat at the same table. I remember we had an art and craft room with a specialised art teacher. This was one of my favourite activities as we would make various items such as – candles, macrame (using jute or twine and tying knots – very 70’s), tie dying fabric, pottery etc. In year 6 we had a year 6 farewell and we had dancing lessons once a week. We had to dance with boys which some of us loved and others hated. On the whole I had a very enjoyable time at school and I look back at those days with fond memories. You are all very lucky to be at Roseville College. You have so many opportunities and great times ahead of you.

  15. Hi Year 5, I’m Robyn, Meri’s Mum.
    I grew up in Sydney, going to Primary school in Castle Cove, not far from Roseville in the 70’s and early 80’s. I then spent some of high school in the USA. That was completely different to school in Australia!

    I can’t remember doing much homework in primary school. I remember having tests, but we weren’t told about them beforehand, so we didn’t ever have to worry about studying for them. We did tests in maths, spelling, comprehension and I guess the other subjects, although I can’t remember doing other sorts of tests.

    I can remember doing projects, which were meticulously written on paper and stuck onto big sheets of cardboard, or written in a small exercise book. My Dad would go to a travel agent and pretend he wanted to go on a holiday so that we could get nice coloured pictures to cut out for our project! We would then have to stand up and do a talk about our projects, just like the talks the girls have been doing this last week. I don’t believe we did anything as interesting things the Year 5 girls get to do at school these days.

    We didn’t have a published schedule of when we did different subjects at primary school, although we did do singing, craft and library lessons with special teachers. We also used to do school sport each Friday afternoon. If you didn’t play netball or rugby, you could choose to walk a kilometre to the tennis school to play tennis, or go swimming at a local swimming pool. The rest of the children would walk down the hill to the local oval to play other sports. We learnt dancing in year 6 out in the playground after lunch. It was very hot, but we didn’t wear hats at school.

    I think that the girls must have a great time at school these days. The lessons look interesting, and the teachers are always coming up with fun ways to learn.

    I caught the bus to and from school right from Kindergarten! I can’t remember any of my friends being driven to school by car! The school bus used to pick us up from the end of my street. Mum didn’t even come to the bus stop except for the first few times when we first started school.

  16. Well Hi Year 5…. I grew up in Auckland, New Zealand. The schooling system is different. In New Zealand you don’t start school until your 5th birthday. It was hard for teachers as they had children starting school throughout the entire year at different times. Kindergarten was the same as Pre-school here and Primary went up to about age 9. From approximately 10 years old you went to an Intermediate School for 2 years before starting High School. Eventually you end up going to 3 different schools!

    Our testing was very basic. Unlike today there were no hands-on tasks or props to help us learn. I remember only using an abacus for counting etc occasionally. What we learnt was very basic and our school reports were also very basic. I think we only had reports at the end of each year. We did spelling tests and maths tests without any prior knowledge or help from teachers or parents. We didn’t have calculators at all until High School – I was so excited to get my first calculator! How things have changed now. Parents and teachers work together to help children and encourage them to be the best they can be. I wish I had had that some encouragement when I was young….. how fortunate our girls are!

  17. Hi Year 5, I am Fin’s Mum and my name is Chirsty.

    I had a very nomadic childhood and lived in a lot of different countries. I started school in South Korea where we followed the American school system. Apparently I was a little lively for the teacher! The only person who tested me there was my Dad and I can remember sitting on his knee learning my times tables. I was very excited when I finally learned my 12 times table.

    From there we moved to Iran where we travelled across a city very early in the morning to go to school. It was so hot that school started at 7am and finished at lunchtime. I don’t remember any tests but I do remember snakes in the sandpits.

    We had quite a change after that when we moved to the middle of Canada. We experienced a temperature change of about 60 degrees. It was 40 degrees in Iran and -20 degrees in Canada. We definitely needed to get warm clothes! I remember discovering a love of history in Canada and was interested in finding out about the Native Indian people. We did have test there but just the usual weekly spelling and maths tests.

    After Canada we came here to Sydney and I attended Waitara Public School for Years 4, 5 and 6. I think it is very exciting that Finley and I have lived in the same city at the same times in our lives especially considering how often we have moved. I can remember doing lots of projects here and even researching one on the government by going to Canberra to see Parliament House – the old one!

    School here was a fantastic experience. We always seemed to have outdoor activities to do and we also had a fabulous music teacher who took us to sing in the Opera House and the brand new Sydney Entertainment Centre. We did have a great library at our school but no computers and the internet hadn’t been invented. We were lucky enough to have a home computer but we only used that for games!

    You are all very lucky to go to such a fantastic school with such amazing opportunities and teachers. Enjoy your time at Roseville College even the homework!

  18. Hi Year 5

    I’m Vicki, Juliet’s Mum. I went to primary school in a small village in England. There were just 20 of us in our year, boys and girls. So we had just one class! I loved primary school. We learnt to play tennis with wooden bats, to put up tents, feed the bantams and go for nature walks.

    Once a year we’d walk to the local church and take lots of vegetables, for Harvest Festival. I loved seeing all those homegrown veggies around the alter!! Tests … if we had them I can’t remember them! And homework was unknown until high school! Good luck, next week girls.

  19. Hi Year 5. This is Charlotte P’s Mum. I went to a small country school in the middle of the North Island of New Zealand. It had about 140 children.
    The only homework I can remember was spelling and timestables and readers when we were younger. One year the teacher liked poetry alot and we had too memorise poems too recited to our class.

    We didn’t wear uniforms just normal clothes but girls had to wear dresses or skirts no pants and boys had to wear shorts all year. They must have been cold in winter. In summer we wore shoes to school but once at school everyone played outside with bare feet.
    We didn’t have any cleaners at school. Instead the children from the top two years had to do it every day. The boys would have to sweep outside, Empty all the outside rubbish bins and burn the rubbish in the incinerator and clean the boys toilets in Winter they would light the fires in all the classrooms. The girls would clean the girls toilets sweep and mop inside the classrooms empty the inside bins, tidy the library and put all the books away the best girls job was staff room duty. We had to wash the cups, boil the urn before recess & lunch & put the biscuits on a plate. If any biscuits broke we were allowed to eat them. It was amazing how many broken biscuits there used to be!!!
    If the school needed maintenace peoples Dad’s would come and do it. We had a wonderful adventure playground that the Dad’s built. It must be gone by now as it wouldn’t pass any safety tests especially the flying fox.

    We had the classroom teacher for everything there were no music, sports, science or language or library teachers.
    In summer there was no Saturday sport. In winter the boys could play rugby and the girls netball. We played for our school but it was organised by the parents.
    In the last two years of primary we went once a week on a bus to a larger school in town to do Manual. The girls would do sewing and cooking and the boys would do woodwork and metalwork. The boys would be jealous on the bus on the way home when the girls were eating the yummy things they had made.
    I can’t recall any excursions probably because there was no where to go.
    One of the years highlights was the School Picnic. The whole school went to a paddock by a river. We swam in the river and had sack races, egg & spoon races and 3 legged races. All the parents and preschool siblings went too. I can only recall two Mums who worked one in the school office and one who drove the school bus. The Dads were all farmers so they could take time of in the middle of they day.

    If boys were naughty the teachers would hit them with the metre ruler. If they were really bad the headmaster would give them the strap. Girls must have been good that never happened to them.

    We had no gym or hall. We had assembly standing outside in class lines with the Headmaster standing on a bench in front of us.

    I must have learnt some things at school but it didn’t seem to be as interesting or exciting as the things you girls are learning now. We did not have so much opportunity for researching & investigating topics. We mostly had to sit and listen to the teacher.

  20. Hi everyone! I’m Lucinda, Paige’s Mum.

    I was at school during the 70’s/early 80’s, starting at Castle Cove Public and then going to SCEGGS Darlinghurst.

    I mostly remember my friends, the games we played and my teachers but not much about tests or exams. Perhaps that’s because I prefer to remember things that I enjoyed!

    In primary school I played elastics with the girls, handball with the boys and twirled on the “monkey bars”. Little bottles of milk were delivered to school everyday for every student to ensure we all had our calcium intake. I remember singing “Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree” over and over.

    Spelling tests were weekly, the timestables were drummed into us & our handwriting and diagrams or maps had to be perfect. I remember tracing maps using greaseproof paper and colouring them in with my derwent pencils.

    Try & enjoy as much as you can girls, so you remember it!

  21. Hi, Year 5, I am Zita , Kat,s Mum from 5M.
    I went to primary school in Budapest, in Hungary in the early 70’s. The school system was different then. In the primary school there was 8 years and only 4 years in the high school. My primary school was a co-ed state school with a very special feature- we learnt music every day. The school was named after the famous Hungarian composer and music educator Zoltan Kodaly, whose music teaching method became well known all over the world. In the first years we had singing lessons every day, later we also learnt theory. Learning of instrumental music was not compulsory, however more than 90 % of students played some instrument. I chose piano, played it for 7 years and took exams. Since year 4 we had regular choir lessons and we performed many times during the year. Our largest performance was the annual music concert where every students participated either in a choir, in the orchestra or with solo instrumental performance. This concert was the highlight of our year which was held in the Main Hall of the Conservatorium of Budapest. I still remember the excitement of the days leading to the concert. It was a great day for us. Naturally. we also studied the basic subjects, Reading, Spelling, Grammar, Maths, Biology, Geography, History. Every week we had test in Maths, Spelling and Grammar and monthly tests in other subjects. We received marks which were held both in the class book ( with the teacher ) and also in a special little note book which was sent home and the parents signed them. We had homework every day . We received special results with marking twice in a year based on our work . These markings were very important particularly in Year 7 and Year 8 as they greatly determined which High School we can get in. I also clearly remember that we had to learn a lot by heart . Not just dry facts but many poems and I am still able to recite many of these poems . My favourite teacher was our Maths teacher. She was very strict but fair and wonderful person. Despite the fact that I am living now on the other side of the world I still write to her and she answers my letters. Year 5 Girls, you are blessed with fantastic teachers here in Roseville. Learn a lot and enjoy your time !

  22. Hi Year 5, I’m Ella’s Mum and I went to primary school on the Northern Beaches in the 70’s and 8o’s. I loved school and enjoyed our weekly spelling tests ,dictation and rote learning the times tables(I still remember them well). I remember we had sport every Friday afternoon and the girls’ uniform was a sleeveless dress, and we didn’t wear hats. We did projects in year 5 and 6 and sometimes Mum would buy me a project outline from the newsagent on the particular topic (no google), or I would go to Dee Why library to lookup the information.
    In year 4 I remember doing dancing in the school hall-boys had to choose a girl to be their partner which was a very nerve wracking experience for both the girls and the boys.
    We had three terms instead of four which meant our terms were quite a bit longer than they are now.
    A maths book I used was called “Betty and Jim Arithmetic”. I also liked a topic in Year 6 called “Current Affairs” and we had to choose a newspaper article each week, stick it in our books and write about it.
    School really is a wonderful time of life and I still catchup regularly with three good friends,that I have known since primary school!

  23. Hello Year 5,

    This is John, India’s Dad. I actually really enjoyed primary school, although high school was a completely different issue!. I was lucky enough to go to Barker College at Hornsby which many of you may know.

    We had the one teacher for each year except for religion where we would go to a little class under the chapel two times a week and be taught about the bible.

    Barker has changed a lot now, the class rooms are completely different and the education system too ! I never used a computer at school. Some years were great, some were tough, all depended on the teacher. I hated Year 3 due to the teacher, he was very strict. If he caught you biting your nails you had to chew 1cm off your wooden ruler. If you were caught talking in class you had to wipe the chalk board clean and then lick the duster till it had no chalk dust left on it.

    When we were in trouble ( which happened to me quite a lot ) we were sent to the headmaster to get the cane. We either had six lashes across the bum or six across our open hand. Most of us thought the bum was the best option !.

    At the end of each term we had little booklets for report cards, with a page about each subject we studied. Sport was also compulsory.

    Luckily for me I had a fantastic teacher in year 6 called Mr Bosswalker who I really liked and as a result did well in my exams which helped in our grading for Year 7 classes.

    The school captain was voted for by Year 5 and Year 6 students. As my brother was in Year 5 when I was in Year 6 I was the school captain in 1982, as my brother was very tough and forced all year 5 to vote for me !

    Hope you have a great Day, John

  24. Hi, I ‘m Kevin, Sarah’s father and I went to primary school at Narrabeen on the Northern Beaches in the 50’s / 60’s.
    Times were very different in those days especially as there was no such thing as computers or even calculators.
    Throughout primary we’re not allowed to use ball point pens as the teachers thought this would ruin our writing so we all had wooden pens with metal nibs. At the top of our desk was an ink well where we dipped our nibs to write. We were always smudging ink and messy writers like me did not have very neat books.
    It was an honour to be chosen by the teacher to be ink well monitors, that being the student that went around and filled up everyone’s ink well!
    Our studies focused mainly on Arithmetic, Grammar, History (mostly European) and Geography and the method of study was to learn long passages by heart, so I spent hours reading then being tested by my mum to see if I remembered everything.
    Living on the Northern Beaches made it more difficult as it was sometimes a hard choice between study and the surf (unfortunately, study did not always win out)
    Main testing was at the end of year 6 to determine what class we would go into in High School.
    Tests were conducted over a week in the school auditorium and were frightful affairs.
    Somehow we managed to get through.

  25. Hello Mrs Thomas, I ‘m Yanna, Sarah’s mum from 5M and I went to school in Malaysia in the 70’. My memory of Primary School testing is still very fresh in my mind.
    I remember that spelling and times tables is tested every day. There is 2 main exams per year, around May & November. The end of year exam will determined our placing in the next year class..
    I still remember all the after school extra studies leading up to the year 5 exam, which in Malaysia is very important as it is the exam results that determine your placing in high school (not year 6 like Australia).
    I remembered, I studied very hard all year and was rewarded with high grades, which resulted in, a full scholarship to one of the better private high schools in Y7. Unfortunately, this school was a long way from my home so I became a full time boarder at 13, and at times felt quite homesick.
    Year 5 testing was very serious and quite competitive and all I remember of that year is study, study and more study.
    Like Mrs. Thomas, I loved school, and I was a well known bookworm in my school.
    I remember fondly how my mother would sit with me while I studied when I was back at home and so, I do the same with my children today.
    What I can remember of the testing is that the desks in the main hall were set up in long rows and we had two tests per day for a whole week.
    There was a lot of pressure on the exams and I was very nervous until I received my results…

  26. Hello Year 5. This is Katia’s Mum. I went to the Sydney Japanese School and then Roseville College in Year 3. At the Japanese school I remember being on stage and doing a play we had rote learned in Japanese (I think I said “flower” in Japanese!…
    At Roseville our Principal was Mrs Richardson. I remember we had a t-shirt made for our teacher Mr Thomason whom we all loved – it said “World’s Greatest teacher”! The old junior school is completely gone now. I remember in Year 6 in assembly a great privilege was that we were allowed to sit on chairs at the back and all the other grades sat on the floor. We recited the times tables every day and had a spelling test on Fridays. Friday was a highlight of the week because for Friday afternoon sport we could choose snorkeling at Balmoral, or iceskating at Macquarie Ice rink. I still have many friends from my time at Roseville and know you girls will too when you are adults.

  27. Hi Year 5, I am Lorna (Emma’s mum from 5M) and I went to the local primary school in Glasgow, Scotland in the 1970s.
    I remember having to do tests for spelling, writing and maths usually just before school reports came out so the teacher had something to write about. Neat handwriting was a must & so was good spelling. Times tables were learned by rote. I remember a boy from our class being locked in the classroom cupboard when the teacher found him stealing from other students pencil cases & the belt or 1 meter wooden ruler was still used for discipline.
    My dad had to learn Gaelic (a fairly old language which used to be spoken a lot in Scotland) and his school reports were always really bad as he didn’t like school much
    I remember having to knit a scarf in Year 5 (it was cold in Scotland) which was really wide, my mum changed it to a narrower size & I got into a lot of trouble from the teacher. She never liked me much after that!
    There were a lot of teacher strikes too as the teachers weren’t paid much so we missed out on a lot of outside of school activities & Saturday sport was always called off as they only worked to school hours.
    Year 5, enjoy the blog experience, embrace the opportunities your teachers bring you & be thankful you have such a wonderful school.

  28. Thanks parents,
    Keep those comments coming – the girls really love to see you on our blog – we will be looking at them together on Friday when we mark our homework

  29. Hello Year 5,

    My name is Diana and I am Anita’s mum from 5M. I went to Warrawong Public School and public high school in the 70’s which is in Wollongong. The classes we had were Maths, English, Science, Geography, Textiles and Design which is using a sewing machine to create outfits and we also learnt to knit and crochet. I also did home science which is cooking fantastic meals and desserts every week which was a lot of fun. I also received paper reports twice a year. I cannot remember doing tests other than at the end of each year. Homework was mainly completing school projects where information was sourced from my set of encyclopaedias as I did not have a computer only a manual type writer. School today is very different to what I had in the 70’s as the students have many more opportunites today and technology has come a long way since my time.

    Diana Geokjian

  30. I’m Annie’s dad and I remember being a little bit anxious when it was time for tests. But all of my friends felt the same way and we were always happy when the tests were finished. My mum had to always remind me to study… but I’m really glad she did!

  31. Hi My name is Gail, I am Annie’s mum in class 5M. I went to the local catholic primary school St Johns, in Narraweena, Sydney. Most of the kids in our street and suburb went to the local school so I got to know all the kids in the streets in our area. We hung out together on weekends and had fun playing cricket on the street! I can’t recall any specific tests but I still have my primary school reports. I was very happy at school and loved playing with my friends. One of my memories is of my year 6 teacher (who was also my year 4 teacher) she once wrote that I would be a lawyer one day but instead I became a teacher she must have had a great influence on me! Enjoy the great teachers you are bless to have at Roseville.

  32. Hi this is Simone, Emma from 5G’s mum. I can totally relate to your experience Mrs Thomas, I too went to a state school and the only tests I can remember are the spelling and dictations tests on a Friday. I can’t even remember going to a local library to do research, I not even sure if the school had a library. I do remember however my parents spending a fortune buying the World Book Encyclopedia and every time we got a project dad would pull out the appropriate book and we would copy information directly from that onto a piece of cardboard (I don’t recall anyone ever talking about plagiarisim). I fondly remember the moon landing in black and white on the TV and yes this is probably the only science I ever did. Keep up the great work, the blog brings us parents into the future too.

  33. Hello year 5! My name is Megan and I am Emily’s Mum in class 5G. I grew up in a semi-rural area of Victoria in the 70’s. I went to the local primary school of 950 children (the biggest State school in Victoria at that time!) It was a huge co-ed school with over 4 ovals and plenty of grassy spaces to run and play. I loved my years in Primary school. We had an art teacher, a Music teacher, a Physical Education teacher, a Librarian and a classroom teacher for each year level. I remember doing spelling tests from year 4 onwards each Friday morning and dictation and punctuation drill each week. We never had homework and occasionally we did projects on ‘project paper’. I used to get a lot of my ideas from library books and my father’s National Geographic magazines and was allowed to cut some of the pictures out of these. We did not have computers back then! I loved going to the art room and learning how to use clay and make pots using the ‘spiral technique’. I do remember in Year 5 we had to learn how to do square dancing, a form of bush dance and hold boys’ hands! (We didn’t like that very much!) Those are the things I remember the most from school rather than tests or the actual work. I really enjoyed my years at primary school very much. The girls at Roseville College are so lucky to have so many wonderful opportunities to use so many variety of techniques to learn so many new things and subjects. You are all very lucky!

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