1312. A rustic education
© Bruce Goodman 25 May 2018
It was a sad day for the little country school. After two hundred and seventy-one years it was closing. It had always been a single teacher school, with the number of pupils ranging from twelve to twenty-seven. The twelve to twenty-seven pupils would be bused to and from another school three quarters of an hour away.
The children were all from local farming families. All former pupils seem to have lived good and profitable lives. All seemed to have got a good basis of education. Some, usually the oldest boy although these days perhaps the oldest girl instead, went into farming. Some former pupils had excelled beyond all expectations. One was a famous nuclear physicist. Another was a research scientist for the cure of tropical diseases.
It was a happy school, and it was the centre of the local community. If the pupils put on a concert, the whole district attended, even if they had no children at the school.
It was surprising that the school was closing. More and more couples with children were moving into the area; townspeople who had bought several acres for their lifestyle dream: two alpacas and a peacock. Or a guinea fowl with piglets. Anyway, one of these lifestylers to come into the area was Ms Claudette Armstrong. She was the one responsible for getting the school closed. She had written to the Minister of Education.
Mr Higgins, the sole teacher, had to be removed. “I distinctly heard him use the word “bugger” within hearing distance of a pupil,” wrote Ms Armstrong.
“Bugger me if I’ve never heard anything so stupid in my whole life. Not even when I went through university,” said Farmer Jack. “She should bugger off back to town from whence she came.”
“I’ll be buggered if I don’t agree with you, Jack,” chimed Mrs Nora Elworthy.
Their protests went for naught. Mr Higgins was removed. The school closed.
“Now we might see the local children get a proper education,” declared a triumphant Ms Armstrong. “For too long pupils in rural schools have been disadvantaged.”