Let’s Go Conkers!
Some children and parents 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 playing 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.
World Championship Conker Rules
- Keep it clean, play fair – at the end of the day, it’s a seed on a piece of string it is not the World Cup.
- No sulking or stropping if you lose…that goes for staff too.
- 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 still bitter about my badly judged swap with Wayne Kenyon on the playground 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 seen out of bags/pockets or draws, whilst in class, will be confiscated. Lessons are for learning. Listen to your teachers; they know what they are talking about.
- 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 DNA testing. If there’s an argument, they become my 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…a seed that you are using in a game.
- Staff will not spend time settling conker disputes. It’s not in the job description and I’ve given them enough to do.
- 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 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’
Conker Champion, Tameside, Manchester, 1979 (self appointed).