Pink custard, conkers, new stationery and playground games among the things adults remember most fondly from their own school days

"Your school days are the best days of your life". It's an immortal phrase guaranteed to send children's eyes rolling and adults reminiscing about time gone by.

But what exactly do we all miss most about that special time in the classroom?

With pupils heading back to school this week, what do you remember most about your own school days?
With pupils heading back to school this week, what do you remember most about your own school days?

With hundreds of thousands of pupils across Kent going back to school over the coming days, stationery firm Stabilo has been asking adults to find out what they miss most or remember most fondly about their own school days.

The results have generated a list of more than 20 experiences, rites of passage and memories that depict the hazy days of time spent with friends, trying out the latest playground crazes while experimenting with the very best of school equipment.

With many pupils - both present and former - likely to admit their favourite time of the school day is lunchtime it's perhaps no surprise that food and drink features somewhat heavily in the final list.

Anyone for a school dinner? Pink custard, jam roly poly and chips were said to be among the most popular menu items
Anyone for a school dinner? Pink custard, jam roly poly and chips were said to be among the most popular menu items

There are notable mentions for being able to choose to eat chips in the middle of the day away from the watchful eyes of parents alongside school lunch menus that included staples like jam roly poly and of course the infamous pink canteen custard.

The unique smell and taste of school milk dished out at break in bottles or cartons, often by a nominated class milk monitor, also brought back many a memory - good or otherwise.

Pupils in November 1969 receiving their bottles of school milk
Pupils in November 1969 receiving their bottles of school milk

Elsewhere, the obligatory back to school stationery shop appears to be just as popular back then as it is today with hundreds of Brits recalling fondly the ritual of heading out to the shops prior to the start of the new school year to buy everything from new pencil cases, pens and pencils to folders and shiny new school bags alongside the chore of shopping for new shoes or uniform.

And the thrill at the gift of new school supplies didn't end there - with others recalling the excitement at being awarded a fresh-looking empty school exercise book from the teacher at the start of a new term.

Do you have fond memories of school conker championships?
Do you have fond memories of school conker championships?
Skipping in the playground or the school hall
Skipping in the playground or the school hall

When it came to popular pastimes and playground games it was conkers, marbles, and skipping that got grown-ups reminiscing as well as rose-tinted memories of football games among friends and foes on the school playing field.

A chance to put on your best clothes and head for the school disco also got a mention by a third of the almost 2,000 adults asked about their best primary and secondary days.

While using bunsen burners in science labs and dragging out blue school gym mats also evoked a memory or two as did using a pencil sharpener with a handle that needed turning and being allowed to play the recorder (albeit often badly!).

Did your school offer recorder lessons or take you to recorder festivals?
Did your school offer recorder lessons or take you to recorder festivals?
Being able to use a school bunsen burner brought back memories for many
Being able to use a school bunsen burner brought back memories for many

There was also many a former pupil who admitted to wasting the school's PVA glue supplies when they were young by dipping their fingers into it or smearing it across the palm of their hand, only to then indulge in peeling the clear wax-like substance off again when it had dried.

The ability to make a vibrating 'boing' sound by pinging a 30cm school wooden ruler on the edge of the desk also cropped up as being a popular trick for some former pupils while a small handful of those questioned also admitted to the joy of perfecting the art of spelling rude words on a calculator turned upside down.

Some of the most popular things from the list of 20, that adults said they missed most about school
Some of the most popular things from the list of 20, that adults said they missed most about school

But when it comes to maths, and other subjects, Stabilo says that half of the British adults it spoke to admitted to forgetting much of what they had actually been taught at school. This included the different names for types of triangle, how to use a protractor, how to calculate Pi and what is Pythagoras’ theorem.

Vanya Hunter, marketing manager at Stabilo UK said: “This research highlights the contrast between nostalgic memories British adults have from their school days with things forgotten.

“September signals the start of a new year as kids return to the classroom, bringing new memories but also new challenges."

Kent TV doctor Dr Ranj says vaccination rates will play a key role in making sure children are safe from coronavirus on the return back to school this September. To read the full story and watch his interview click here.

News from our universities, local primary and secondary schools including Ofsted inspections and league tables can be found here.

For more family-related news visit www.mykentfamily.co.uk

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