Initially, I remember being dead against being enrolled as a pupil at West Buckland School. Such a daunting looking building. So big, so grey and a little bit scary. I must say however that I was only four and a half at the time and did not realise that I was looking at the Senior School and not the prep!
September arrived and it was time for me to leave and say goodbye to mum and dad. I was very nervous and it took a while to settle purely because I was missing my parents. I soon realised that either mum or dad would always be there to collect me at the end of the school day and finally I began to look forward each morning to meeting my new friends and the lessons were fun too.
Before I knew it it was time for me to leave the Prep and join the senior school something which I took for granted.
I soon learned that this was not automatic and that I would need to take the dreaded entrance test.
Mr Moor satisfied my parents that he would be very surprised if I did not make.
Although it sounded a foregone conclusion that I would soon be entering the senior school. My parents wanted to make sure and this is when I found out that they had organised a back up plan just incase I should not make the grade. Unknowns to me they had booked me to take senior entrance tests at three other schools. Blundells School , Edge Hill and Christ’s Hospital School where I would be required to board as it was situated in West Sussex.
Fortunately I gained honours in all entrance tests at each school. Also I later found out that I had earned a scholarship at West Buckland Senior School.
What a dilemma! There were two schools that stood out amongst the others. One being the five hundred year old Christ’s Hospital School which had been founded by the Tudor King Edward the 6th. Who was the only son of King Henry the 8th. With their marching band and their Tudor uniforms it was different and special in every way you can imagine. I had little time to decide and to make my decision worse my mother wanted me to attend Christ’s Hospital School whereas my father wanted me to stay at West Buckland. I was torn between the two but finally decided to stay with West Buckland where I would still know all of my friends and I would be able to go home each night .
How glad I was that I had chosen West Buckland.
It was so different to the prep in every way. So much harder lessons but also many opportunities to involve myself in other things outside of lessons. Plenty of sport, small bore shooting plus the opportunity to take up playing the saxophone which allowed me to join the West Buckland Jazz Band and also the main West Buckland concert orchestra.
As one of my passions is singing I also became a member of the Choral Choir. The highlight of that was singing Verdi’s Requiem within Exeter Cathedral.
Although a little nervous to begin with I decided to give drama a go and took part in three different shows laid on by the school “Bugsy Malone” ‘We will Rock You’ and ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ which took place at the Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe. And finally as I was already a Warrant Officer of the Air Training Corps I joined the West Buckland Combined Cadet Force.
I can honestly say that I was thriving at West Buckland doing things I could never imagine.
I was honoured by becoming a prefect and in year 13 I was a Mentor to assist and help younger students with any worries or concerns they may have.
Now back to learning, the very reason you attend school!
If you really want to get good grades you really have to put the work in and this includes homework. My parents had always impressed upon me that your grades in both your GCSEs and A Levels has a massive bearing on your future. I took their advice on board and received 5 A* and 5 As in my GCSEs I could have done better but was very pleased that the A stars included all the sciences plus maths and R.S.
Now A levels were looming and as I had always been interested in Science I decided to take Chemistry, Biology, Physics and A2 Maths. I was aware of the levels required for admission to university to study Chemistry and I along with my parents were thrilled that I had achieved the level required.
I had three offers of university placements and decided on Southampton because of it being a campus. Basically that means you have everything within the university grounds.
I gained my BSc in Chemistry but my goal was my Masters. Fortunately I achieved Master of Chemistry Second Class Honours (Upper Division).
After nineteen years of education it was now time to get that job I had always dreamed of.
I contacted three different laboratories and was offered a position of Chemical Analyst at a thriving firm use two days after receiving my degree. I am now living in Berkshire very close to Windsor Castle.
I often think back to my years spent at West Buckland School both Prep and Senior.
The friends I met, the many activities on offer and the teaching staff who gave me the knowledge to gain a place at university and eventually achieve the job I had always dreamed of.
Thank you West Buckland School.
Cavan James Plant 2001-2015