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Students meet alumni

Students meet alumni from 60s and 70s

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Then and now: Current students go back in time with alumni from the 60s and 70s

Wednesday, 9 January, 2019


First year BA Education Studies and History students recently met their Newton Park counterparts from the 1960s and 1970s to discuss the evolution of Bath Spa’s schools and teaching over the years.

From the establishment of a college under Mary Dawson in the 1940s, to the present day University, the alumni and students shared their experiences on campus.

As part of their studies, prior to meeting the previous cohort, the current students had carried out researched by delving into the Newton Park archive, under the guidance of Kate James, Lecturer in History and Heritage at Bath Spa University.

Kate said: “The students were enthusiastic and receptive to the history and heritage of our institution, and I loved sharing aspects of my research on Mary Dawson, our founding Principal, with them. We were also able to look at the archive documents of those early years, and get to grips with real primary sources. So between the archives and the alumni, we had the chance to really sense the past.”

Bath Spa alumni were impressed with the dedication and commitment of the current students. One alumni said it was: “Good to witness the positive attitude of young people entering the profession today”.

The students were equally as moved by tales of draconian wardens in the women’s halls of residence, exploding pianos and the Newton Lake Lifeboat Crew - complete with oilskins, sou’westers and distress flares.

Boating on the lake may have ended in 1972 but the students enjoyed learning about days gone by from the alumni, one student said: “It was really interesting to hear about their careers and what they did after University, as well as life in halls and their day to day routines.

Another student added: “In some ways their student experiences were really different, but in some ways I think we all still worry about the same things!”

It was agreed between the two groups that the core values of creativity, and developing relationships with children, remain the primary focus of education today.

Bath Spa University’s Institute for Education would like to thank all those who gave up their time to take part in this activity to share their memories.

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