What The Field means to me: Heidi Clarke

When I was at Keviccs many years ago, lower school was used almost exclusively by the first and second year pupils and I think we were all glad to have our own area away from the relatively huge and ‘scary’ 5th years and Kennicott students! Two form groups were lucky enough to have their form rooms right down at the edge of the field, but the rest of us got to enjoy those classrooms regularly for history, or music lessons with Mr.Royle. I think there must be thousands of ex pupils out there who will remember listening to Maxwells Silver Hammer gazing out wistfully over the lovely open field!

P.E. was a favourite subject and I loved playing rounders here particularly. Personally, I liked doing sports at that part of the school tucked away from the main busy areas, and the main schools more serious athletics field. The sense of space and relative privacy to bond with other girls in fierce competition evoke good happy memories.
I think P.E. featured quite a lot in our timetables and in good weather you could have several outdoor classes happening simultaneously over the site of Keviccs from hockey, football, rugby, tennis, netball, rounders and all kinds of athletics, at a time when the school accommodated around 1200 pupils or more.
We also used the field occasionally for field work relating to art, maths or science classes which always felt like a bit of a treat, to get out of the classroom and in to the fresh air.

The school felt very big, busy and buzzing but also well organised and structured. In my memories we zoomed about from all corners of the entire school site from kennicott to near the river between lessons, in a big apparent melee over the bridge every day, to somehow all neatly finding our way into classes at the bell, like clockwork.
We would have all taken that space and exercise across the site for granted. If we had been told the lower school and field would no longer be a part of the school, I doubt anyone would have believed that would be possible. How would we all fit in to main school and manage without the sports field?

The idea of a housing estate on our field would no doubt been even more unbelievable as the space was for us, the youth of the town and outlying villages… and we actually used it!
There was a definite sense of history in the lower school main building, and being connected to the old Totnes of many generations. Even our form groups were named after people who had been involved with the school in the past and everybody learned the school song when starting out in lower school.
I think my peers and teachers at the time would have been horrified and very upset to think it might be lost as an integral part of the school, the community, and the shared history of so many of our families.

The school felt like it was out of town, half way between Totnes and Dartington, with lots of space around it too. Over the years, that space has been shrinking and housing estates are creeping in towards Keviccs despite the once strong council led insistence to keep Totnes and Dartington separate for years to come.
We now have Riverside and Dartside at the bottom of swallowfields, the Copland meadows estate, Nellies wood, new housing around the police station, extra buildings squeezed in around weirfields, another estate planned at Puddavine, one planned between Nellies Wood and Swallowfields at the entrance to Dartington Drive as well as the Dairy crest site. That’s a lot already.

If we lose the entire Kennicott site to housing developers, that will leave the school almost entirely surrounded by housing, apart from the Elmhirst site and the field, which makes it an even more vitally important and valuable as an asset to be protected for the future of the town and all its inhabitants, especially students at Keviccs.

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