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Culture & Traditions

Article: Surviving Dinnington, The Art of being a Dinnonian.

Article: Martin Goodall

Wed 14 September 2016

Dating back to the mid 1700s in a remote town in South Yorkshire, of course Dinnington has developed quirks and traditions over the years. First years have to quickly adapt and embrace the cult like feeling of being a student at Dinnington - from learning the language of the school, to understanding the forbidden woods and the ghost that haunts it...

The first thing that puzzles outsiders is the language. Most students use that familiar, working class Yorkshire dialect... but on top of that is the school slang, that is only really understood by the students. These words have changed over the years, perhaps they have even changed since I was a pupil; but I find myself using these colloquial terms even today, to the confusion of those around me.

The 'Dinno Lingo'



Dinno means the school, or the town in general

Goin up t'Dinno at Weekend



Picking is the summer holiday, named so as students would often pick potatoes for the farmers

Only 8 more days of picking



Thread is the Christmas holiday, named so as students would wear jumpers (threads)

Only 8 more days of thread



To wag a lesson is to miss it intentionally.

He's going to wag history; He's wagging it



A dougie is a stupid person

Louis is a proper dougie



A boff is a try-hard or intellect

He's such a boff

Bear pit


The Bear Pit, describes the cramped area in the stairwell it between the wings of the New Building, it was previously used in the old lower school building too

Go around to avoid the bear pit


The School Crypt



The Bov is the Headmaster or Mistress, probably a corruption of 'Boss'

The Bov's coming!



A Flat is a teacher, named so as teachers used to wear mortarboards

There's no flats around



A Green'un (like the newspaper) is a school bus, named so after the iconic green school busses

I'm gerrin't Green'un



Peace describes something that's dangerous or unsafe, named after 19th Century murderer Charles Peace, an alumnus of the the school

I'm not going there, it's peace

The Ghetto


The 'Ghetto' or Terrapin Plateau is the area of flat land behind Osborne House. It used to house derelict pre-fab classrooms in the 60s

He was sat by the ghetto

In The Crypt


'In the Crypt' means in trouble. Students would be threatened with time in the school crypt if caught misbehaving.

He's in the crypt if he carries on

Students, with the 'Ghetto' in the background

Bullying, and how to avoid it

Thankfully much progress has been made to address bullying in the school, but in the 1990s, bullying was especially rife. There were areas to avoid, and things that you shouldn't do.

1. Avoid the back street. I remember this part of the school was always particularly run down, dark, and cold - the ideal place for unruly happenings. People would consciously take the route through Hatfield Courtyard to avoid meeting the wrong person in the back street. 

2. Steer clear of the bushes. The infamous 'bush push', nobody was off the cards for this, people you don't even know would attempt to shove you into the admittedly nicely kept shrubbery of the quadrangles.

3. The black box is not the place to be. There would always be smokers around the remote school 'black boxes' storage containers for the grounds keepers. Even when walking past these, you would never glance over.

4. The Skinners woods at the back of the school was said to play host to the school ghost, Mr Skinner - a former landowner of the land the school now stands on. This tale was enough to scare off younger pupils, but the lack of activity in the woods made it an ideal place for skivers.

School Traditions

It's not all gloomy, Dinnington has some nicer traditions as well, which I find brings the community together - a sense of identity and belonging.

Arthur: Arthur, better known as 'tracking' is a playground game which originated at Dinnington. Originally played in the woods at the back of the school, 10–20 students have 3 minutes to find a hiding spot within the area. One player is assigned the role of 'Arthur' (named after a former grounds keeper); 'Arthur' is released into the game to tag players that they find, who as a result begin to search for the remaining students. Players tuck into their shorts a band or a length fabric to signify whether they have been caught or not – traditionally this is done with school ties. The game ends when there is one remaining player that has not been caught.

The School Fayre: Usually, the school holds a summer fayre on its grounds following the House Games, the school's sports day. This fayre is open to the public, and features stalls from the different departments with games and prizes, as well as a showcase of student work from the year. A stage is also set up on the sloping lawn in front of the Art Block, as a venue for live music. On this day, the school 'staff vs sixth form' game is held.

Funerals: When members on the staff pass away whilst in service to the school, on occasions the funeral procession passes the front of school on Doe Quarry Lane – where staff, students, and alumni gather to applaud the contribution of the individual to their school.

The Science Stores: The school science department has an old, and rather strange collection of specimens. In the Segrave House stores are a large collection of pickled animals in large glass containers. Amongst these animals are eels, rats and a pig. Although this collection is not used in the curriculum, it is brought out once every year at the schools open day. The department also has what they claim to be a real life human skeleton, donated to the school some years ago.

The School Song: A nice end to this article, the school song. I'm not sure if this tradition continues, but I like to think it does after all these years. To the tune of 'Mull of Kintyre', this rather patriotic albeit cringe worthy song is a binding moment on large occasions, I remember many peers tearing up at the final verse as we left the school for the last time.

Fair school of mine

Fair school of mine
Oh, mist rolling in from the field
My desire is always to be here
Oh, Dinnington High


Smiles in the sunshine and tears in the rain
Still take me back to where
my memories remain
Flickering embers grow higher and higher
As they carry me back to the fair school of mine

Fair school of mine

Oh, mist rolling in from the field

My desire is always to be here

Oh, Dinnington High

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