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Talk about serendipity… my life would have been so different in so many ways had I not spotted an advert in the Times Ed one lunchtime, for an English teacher at Bede College, Billingham.

Absolutely delighted when my application was successful, I remember feeling particularly excited about the opportunity to introduce the new A level in English Language.

I started what was to become my dream job in September 1989, aged 35.  On a personal level it is was where I met Brian my husband of 30 years, and in 1992, we became one of the four married couples on the staff.

For those of you of a certain Bede age, that is pre-2008, there will be words or indeed even letters which might well revive some fond memories of Bede Sixth Form.

I remember arriving as a new member of staff and having to get to grips with quite a number of very Bede-specific names.

Okay, so A for ‘Arena’. Where on earth was the ‘arena’ and what could it possibly be used for? Well, a walk through the ‘social area’, of which more later, revealed it was disappointingly what I might have seen as a hybrid cross between a hall and a gym. Not a circular space with banks of seats.

Anyway, having located the ‘arena’, I collected my tutor group, took them back to room 14 and proceeded to try and get to grips with the timetable. This proved to be a herculean task based on the notion of ‘the block’, variously labelled ‘X’ ‘Y’ ‘Z’ and maybe other letters, the meanings of which only Mr Wilson could decode with any degree of confidence.

Timetables tamed, it was break and my tutor group was liberated into the ‘social area’. A sunken place down three steps… snacks could be purchased from ‘Doreen’s Diner’ or ‘the machine’.

And in the ABSENCE OF BELLS (what were they even thinking?)  the staff had to round up their students not only from their ‘social area’ but also, wait for it… from ‘the smoking room’!

Ultimately this once smoke-filled haunt of the cigarette fanciers was fumigated and re-purposed to house the photocopier.  Bede was heading towards the 21st Century.

Join Bede as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. Bede Fest takes place on Saturday April 22 from 12 noon to 3pm. A day of celebration, entertainment and reminiscing, this family fun event includes stalls, games, performances and activities. Admission is free and all are welcome.

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