Some children have asked if conkers can be played at school. The answer to this is, ‘yes’, as long as they don’t beat me too many times. I am a poor loser!
Despite what you may have read about other schools over the years, common sense prevails in my school and there is no ‘ban’ on conkers. Children who have been deprived of conkers have been deprived of childhood!
How is it possible to expect children to learn to play nicely, take turns, lose graciously, win honourably and follow rules, if we do not give them the opportunities to do so? We learn by doing, not sidestepping and avoiding.
The following guidance is given and should be observed:
- Keep it clean, play fair – at the end of the day, it’s only a seed on a piece of string.
- Conkers seen out of bags/pockets or draws, whilst in class, will be confiscated. Lessons are for lessons. Listen to your teachers; they know what they are talking about.
- Teachers will not spend time settling conker disputes. It’s not in the job description and I’ve given them enough to do.
- No sulking or stropping if you lose…that goes for all the staff too.
- Take responsibility for your own conkers – the teachers will not look after them for you.
- No falling out over whose conker is whose – it’s red and on a piece of string; so is theirs. We don’t do conker DNA testing or finger prints. If there’s an argument, they become my conkers.
- No swapsies, double swapsies or swap backs. In other words, keep your own conkers, don’t swap and then moan because someone won’t give it back. (I’m not bitter about my swap with Wayne Kenyon in 1977, honest!)
- No stampsies or stompers. This means, if it falls on the floor, don’t stamp on it or squash it; that’s not cricket (or conkers).
- Conkers are for playing conkers. Remember that conkers on strings should not be used as a twirling baton, a ninja armament or anything other than what it is.
- Don’t collect conkers from the school car park. Cars and children do not mix. I will collect conkers from the car park for you and hand them out if you don’t have any. I only charge a smile and a thank you.
Teachers are kind and caring people who only become grumpy when rules are broken. Follow the guidelines and no one will take your prized conker from you.
So, parents and carers, please encourage the children to find some conkers, bake them, soak them in vinegar, rub them four times clockwise and then 8 anticlockwise, do whatever your favourite strategy or placebo ritual is, and get ready to do battle. - ‘Audentis fortuna iuvat’