Dorothy aka Dot Lenton started at City College Norwich in 1961 as a 15 year old, initially to undertake her O Levels.
She originally had in mind that she was going to take three subjects but her college tutor Mr Lomas had very different ideas and was promptly told “You will take nine or none!”
From three to eleven to be concise!
Well, Mr Lomas must have had a good idea that Dot was going to be a star student, as she didn’t just achieve nine O Levels, but in fact went on to obtain eleven – quite an achievement for somebody who would have settled for three and who in fact had failed her ‘Eleven Plus’ exams!
In recognition of her achievements, (the most O Levels achieved in her year 1962 -1963), Dot received a prize with the award being The Concise Oxford Dictionary with an inscription written inside. She still retains this dictionary and continues to use it more than 50 years on – obviously quite a useful prize!
Two combined into one………A Level achievements
Dot went on to start her A Level’s, but half way through she decided she would like a change of direction as she had decided to go on to Wall Hall Training College in Watford.
Rather than letting a years study go to waste, Dot took her A Level exams, just in case, she had obtained enough knowledge to get through.
Apparently she had, and gained A Levels in History and Economics in one year instead of the usual two!
History lessons could be terrifying but college was life changing!
Dot credits the college with changing the whole course of her life, as it gave her the opportunity to pursue her dream of teaching. At college, she was treated as an adult and remembers lessons being taught by outstanding teachers such as Mr Lomas for English and an exceptional History teacher.
One particular comment made by her History teacher does stick in Dot’s mind.
Well I may see you all next week or we may all be dead!
This was just as the Cuban Missile Crises was developing, for anybody this would have been a scary comment but for a teenager, it was terrifying!
Lifelong friends and a musical quartet……
Dot says that she had 3 wonderful years at college, learning so much, not just academically, but about life and people from other cultures too. She still sees William Armstrong (the city coroner) on occasions, whom she says was just one of the many amazing people who she was fortunate to study with during that time.
Dot also managed to get involved in a singing group of four with Mr Darken and sang as a quartet in the Cathedral.
Life after City College Norwich……..
After leaving Wall Hall Training College where she received a Distinction, Dot went on to teach in Norwich and later, in Muswell Hill, North London.
At a later date after her son was born she moved back to Norwich Dot began teaching in Surlingham then Tuckswood where she became deputy head. Finally, in 1999 Dot became a head teacher at Alburgh with Denton First School where she remained for six years.
Not one to sit on her laurels, after retiring, Dot began working for the Diocese of Norwich as a Diocesan School Support Worker – encouraging and mentoring head teachers. Dot also has a Partnership business, called Philosophy4Children which she runs with an ex-colleague working with schools from London to Newcastle. Together, they have run a workshop for Radio 3 at the Gateshead Freethinking Festival and worked with the Philosophy department at the UEA.
In Dot’s own words
All of these amazing opportunities I believe started from the moment I walked into the Hall at City College and met Mr Lomas.
Well what an inspirational lady, thanks for sharing your story Dot, we wish you well in your not so quiet retirement!