Sandie Shaw tells students at her old school why she sang barefooted

Sandie Shaw at Robert Clack

Sandie Shaw at Robert Clack - Credit: Archant

Sandie Shaw returned to her old school in Dagenham to speak to students about her life as a pop star.

Sandy Shaw was best known for her hit Puppet on a String

Sandy Shaw was best known for her hit Puppet on a String - Credit: Archant

The former Eurovision song contest winner spent an afternoon at Robert Clack school in Green Lane as part of a national campaign to motivate pupils to succeed academically.

Sandie Shaw at Robert Clack

Sandie Shaw at Robert Clack - Credit: Archant

Known for her distinctive glossy bobbed hair and her habit of singing barefoot, she epitomised the Swinging ­Sixties. She shot to fame aged just 17 and was the original ­Essex girl made good.

She gave the assembled group of 60 Year 7, 8, 9 and several sixth formers an idea of the things that inspired her, why she sang barefooted - she had size seven feet but could only get size six shoes, so took them off when singing.

She said her auntie inspired her to see the world through the picture books she bought for her and her uncle, a bookie, taught her maths.

Accompanied by her husband, Tony Bedford, who she revealed she married when she was 40, Sandie regaled the students with one of her Italian songs. She, in turn was treated to several performances by the students.

Sandie lived in Rainham Road North, attended Eastbrook and then Robert Clack school. After leaving school she spent six weeks working at Ford’s training to be am IBM machine operator.

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Her visit to the school on Friday (Oct 18) was part of national Back to School Week run by the education charity Future First which celebrates the achievements of alumni in state schools and colleges across Britain.

Future First, one of the fastest growing education and social mobility charities working in the UK, is running an unprecedented national campaign this October to bring former students back into their old state school, and to raise awareness of how adults across the UK can volunteer and support young people.

A spokeswoman for the school said: “As an alumnus of Robert Clack Sandie is an inspirational role model for the school, sharing such a close affinity with the current students. Robert Clack has a thriving Alumni Association which works closely with the school to get former pupils back and to assist the next generation. Sandie is the Patron.”

Robert Clack wants all former students signed up to its Alumni Association. They should go to:

More information on the work of the Robert Clack Alumni Association can be found at