Back 2 Skool: Tips and tricks from the DHFS alumni

Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School

It’s that time of the year again when students across Dronfield are sharpening their pencils, digging out their school jumpers (or blazers, I suppose, these days) and desperately trying to catch any contagious disease going to avoid that dreaded ‘back 2 skool’ hype.

I’m an old, sentimental fool (22 was a scary step into ‘real’ adulthood) and I’m here to tell all you unhappy youngsters that it really is true what they say: your school years will be the happiest (and easiest!) of your life. I’ve put together this little ‘cheat sheet’ to help you navigate your way painlessly through the halls, lessons and tribulations of DHFS life.

  1. You’re stuck in a slow-moving queue of student traffic on the top floor of F block and you’ve got to leg it down to A block for your next class. The new ‘health and safety conscious’ one-way regulations can be doubled in fun and get you on your way faster if you channel a bit of Gossy vigour and yell ‘CRUSH!!!’ as you trample over smaller kids. STAY SAFE though and probably don’t really do it.
  2. Teachers may be in a position of authority, but that does not mean you have to make it easy for them. Ask questions, ask more questions and ask even more questions, until your Physics teacher is teaching you minor French. The lucky few of you might have a special talent for this, enough to make it to the office, explaining why an underpaid, over-worked, middle-aged woman with a hairy lip had a nervous breakdown.
  3. It’s dinner time and you’re starving. How about a trek to Sainsbury’s for a healthy 5-pack of cookies for a quid? If it’s chips you’re fancying, the Jolly Fryer is nicer and less busy than the chippy on Dronny Bottom. But of course, the king of lunch time eateries is Fat Sams: pizza, chips and a drink for £2 (in my day, expect to pay double now).
  4. You’re in a music class and you’ve been learning Fur Elise for the past 7 weeks. Why not switch your keyboard to DJ mode for a bit of ‘DIC, DIC, DIC, DICTIONARY’? (If they’ve banned it since my day, just shout it out instead). For the older, GCSE students, take full advantage of the laptops bestowed to you for compositions and try to beat my score of 69 seconds for completing a game of Solitaire!
  5. You’re late to registration and receiving an earful from your form tutor. The local council is working in your favour this week, simply blame the traffic caused by the excellently timed road works on Dronny Bottom and hey presto. For future reference, the classic ‘bin t’ garage, miss’ works every time.
  6. The computer aficionados will have noticed the terrible network security. Hardly anything is properly secured and getting administrator access is painfully easy, you can have a lot of fun on big networks. Old school tactics were to NET SEND messages to every computer. EVERY computer.
  7. It’s raining, it’s pouring and you’ve got Hockey in PE up on the asphalt. Learn your mum’s signature early on and spend half an hour Googling minor illnesses. Girls, ‘time of the month’ is a god-send, any time of the month. Guys, you’re not so lucky, but a little creativity can go a long way.
  8. Much like cigarettes in prison, chewing gum is a useful commodity. Make sure to stockpile it and hustle it, you could make a tidy little earner, maybe buy a nice back-pack or cider or pack of Pokémon cards. Just watch out, if you get caught you’re more than likely going to end up scraping old ‘chud’ from underneath the tables for an hour.
  9. You’re strolling along down by B block and some nerd falls over, seriously injuring themselves. There’s blood everywhere, and possibly a broken bone or two. You could rush to their assistance, or even better, shout ‘SPAZ CHAIR!!!’ to draw the attention of everybody in the local vicinity. That way, if the poor kid is lucky enough to survive, they’ll be ridiculed enough to ensure they’re not so clumsy next time.
  10. You’re sat in a science lesson and you’re bored out of your brain. Are you crazy?! Science classrooms are a hot-spot for fun. Bunsen burners, chemicals, electricity, maggot racing, sinks for water fights! But remember: STAY SAFE! Don’t do anything stupid like put Magnesium in plug sockets or light the gas pipe of the Bunsen burner…
  11. You’re generally kicking back and enjoying the high life at good ol’ Henry Fanshawe. Your teachers just won’t get off your case about overdue homework and failed tests. My number one tip is this… put the work in and get the grades. Not only can you get away with approximately 3 times more than your underachieving cohorts if you’re knocking out straight As, your education is very important, so make the most of it. Or screw around. It’s your life to ruin.


Contributing author: Millie Murdoch (@Millie_Murdoch)

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