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Impington Village College

2019 Reunion of the 1970 intake of IVC pupils

An enjoyable reunion of the 1970 intake of pupils at Impington Village College took place on Sunday 14th April 2019 at the very school that launched it’s students into all walks of life.

All celebrating their 60th birthdays this year, Diana, who now lives in Cairns Australia, managed through the internet, to reunite 30 Alumni who came for the day. Using technology which has rapidly moved from our days at Impington, where we used the slide rule then the earliest calculators in maths lessons.

Rob Campbell, CEO of The Morris Education Trust and former Warden  2007-2016 of IVC, very kindly gave us an hour tour of the college buildings that we remembered fondly. This is the 100th anniversary year of the Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, architect of the school. Its modern design gets further recognition in 2019 but to us it was just school. Although the Art block became the 6th Form centre and relocated to the Domestic Science block many other classrooms, the adult wing and the Prom, had hardly changed. Plywood panelled walls, the framed art and even the blue chairs didn’t appear to have altered. Touring the newer blocks built since leaving the 6th form in 1977 we noticed most were built in a similar Gropius style, even keeping the blue doors with round porthole type windows. The sports halls, gyms, and indoor swimming pools were very impressive recent additions to what IVC now offers it’s pupils and the local community. There was some disappointment our treasured youth centre had been demolished and not replaced. Many of us was felt teenagers need a space for themselves as much today as in the past but nationally youth service provision continues to be in severe decline. Society is now not the safe place it was, it’s a pity youth workers who helped young people and held the village groups together is no longer valued by the county councils in this decade. However the guide and scout hut remains next door providing great experiences for their members. Many were inspired by Guiding and Scouting to continue in the movement, Jackie being a guide leader for 30 plus years and Chris now the Scout County Commissioner of all Cambridgeshire, both who were at this event.

 The inspiration of Mr Malmstrom nurtured careers of some of our cohort year to become professional artists. The English department led to Pippa to be a children’s author of 100 published books. The science department inspired some to be researchers in the subject, we have a professor in New Zealand and another in America being just two from our year. Company CEO’s and several millionaires all started their careers at Impington Village College. From clerical and service jobs to being high flyers in positions within the EU we were all proud of our educational start at IVC, led by the widely respected Warden John Brackenberry. He started the 1970’s policy of inclusivity of pupils with disability and special needs which continues today. Our careers and personal relationships studies were way ahead of the times and indeed, by comparison, were superior to what occurs in many secondary schools today. Gender was irrelevant at IVC as male and females, all of us took classes in the first 3 years rotating metalwork, woodwork, needlework and domestic science, where many learnt to properly cook. Sport too was not strictly gender controlled as boys played hockey too. The ethos set in those days, we were delighted to learn, continues at IVC. Special needs pupils fully integrated and valued for 50 years shows how inclusive the college remains.  It’s good educational programmes and quality teaching has led to international students studying for the International Baccalaureate being welcomed into the present school community. We were delighted that the progressive and community based ethics still hold strong and move our old school forward. Our group really enjoyed seeing where their learning occurred and how it’s moved on with additional buildings but pleased the college maintains the same great ethos and caring values.

The tour was followed by a four hour social, over a delicious lunch, kindly laid on by staff at the King Wiliam pub in Histon. This was a chance to catch up and chat to old friends, many who had not seen each other for 43 years. A lively happy atmosphere and non stop conversations were enjoyed by all. Nigel and Paul,(who had flown in from Cologne), gave up their 60th birthday on their special day to spend with us, they cut the cakes to share. Many had come from far and wide within the UK and Europe to Leigh from Canada and Didi from Australia.

Sharing happy memories of our past was a real positive uplifting experience for us all at this reunion.