Ch 9

Chapter Nine

AN EVOCATION OF LEARNING

There follows some brief details of the people that have guided the school over the years – for the head teachers, then other key players on the school stage. Some of them stayed for one year, others for longer. They have all left a memory in the children who have passed through their hands. In the space left I can only name but a few, those who have served longest. They must represent the others, who may have contributed much but for a shorter period.

HEADMASTERS

Success in any sphere of endeavour is dependent on the quality of leadership at the top. This has been shown throughout the history of Borough Green Primary School. There have always been problems, so many trials or tribulations. In the past these were in the main due to situations that developed in school, or as a result of growth in the village. In the present era, when cutbacks are the norm, problems and difficulties are imposed from outside the school. The school has moved and developed over the years with great success and of its own accord, thanks to good leadership, let it be allowed to continue!

The first Head Master was Mr William Hall, who held the post from 1911 – 1936. His wife, Mrs E.G. Hall, was Head Mistress at the Infants’ School, transferring to the main school in 1922, to act as Teacher-in-Charge of the Infant Department. They lived to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary in 1949, a rare event for people employed in the teaching profession. In July 1950 Mr and Mrs Hall visited the school for the last time, with Mr Hall dying in November of that year. He was buried at Lancing.

Mr Hall was a man of many talents, playing football in his early years for Clapton F.C. At the school he promoted football, cricket, swimming and water polo. He was a keen musician, expecting every child to be tone perfect. His other interest that he brought to school was gardening. Above all else he was a SCHOOLMASTER, his discipline being absolute but just. The vast majority of the pupils left the school with a firm grip of the three R’s.

He was followed by Mr Stanley Havercroft McGill, who was Head Teacher from 1937-1944. Mr McGill was a firm believer in public relations and in his first year of office he inaugurated the Parents’ and Old Scholars’ Association. When war started in 1939, he was an absolute pillar of strength, his organisational abilities helping to solve the many problems caused by the sudden influx of staff and children from the London areas. (At least thirty of these evacuated children stayed on to live in the area.) He kept the school functioning through all the air-raids, and carried on the discipline left by his predecessor. In 1942 he initiated the formation of theC Flight A.T.C. 1023 Squadron in Borough Green and was its first Officer-in-Charge.

Mr John William Hickman was the next incumbent, from 1945-1956. He was a gentleman of the old school, again firm but just. He saw the school through the aftermath of the war and the subsequent growth in the school roll. It was during his time as Head Master that the Tollgate and Fairfield estates were built. He also had to endure the severe weather of 1947, with seven weeks of snow and hard frost, where classroom temperatures were down to 44 degrees Fahrenheit, and there were fuel shortages and extensive power cuts. He retired on 31st December 1955.

Mr Ernest E.H. Field was Head Master at the school from 1956-83. He arrived in Borough Green in an era when cash was more forthcoming for improvements to the school. He pressed for and obtained a staff room for the teachers, together with the usual offices – one wonders how the staff managed for all those years! His initial wariness of the Parents’ Association was soon dispelled once he realised its immense value to the school. During his time such varying achievements as the first television set and the swimming pool were obtained. He revived the inter-school sports, and with the aid of the dedicated staff mentioned above, music was once again brought back to the school, with concerts, festivals, revels and pantomimes. The building accommodation was expanded on several Qccasions, including the new school block. He was heard on more than one occasion to remark that he had no problems with discipline, as it was in the very walls.

Miss Christine Pickard arrived in 1983 to be the present holder of the post of Head Teacher, a departure from the practice of the last seventy years. Rolls were falling, monetary controls were tightening, and privatisation of services had arrived. Miss Pickard saw the advantage to both the school and the children, of taking rising fives. This project with judicious external relations and some new house building, brought an increase in the school roll, which continues to expand.

New Maths and English schemes, commencing in the infants to progress through the school, have been initiated. Computers are in everyday use, with one classroom set aside as a new library and computer room. The children have appeared three times on T.V.S. in the past two years, and press and parental relations are excellent. The traditions of innovation and firm foundations are being continued, with as ever, the children in the centre. Keep it up ma’am!

FINALLY

Some of the wheels that kept the intellectual advance in motion

Teachers

Mr G. Gomme, 37 years

Miss D. Gladders, 35 years

Mr H. Marsh, 26 years

Mrs S. Williams, 15 years

Miss W. Riley, 11 years

Miss P. Griffin, 28 years

Miss V. Gladders, 25 years

Mr R.T. Dixon, 18 years

Mr J. Fulljames, 11 years

Mrs E. Smith, 20 years

Clerical Staff

There follows the indispensable clerical/financial wizards, who relieve the Head Teacher of so many worries. The first, appointed in 1944, was Mrs Irene Fellowes, who served for 5 years, to be followed by Mrs A.O. Williams, who was in post for 8 years, Mrs Marie Lowe was next in line, serving for 17 years, which brings us up-to-date with our present Jack-of-all-trades, and Master of them all, Mrs Joyce Riddle.

School Caretakers

These are the men, with their array of cleaners, who kept the school operating. The school owes a deep debt of gratitude to Mr Ron Fissenden, our present custodian, who has been with the school since 1967. Others, just as dedicated, have included Mr Tom Fenwick, 17 years, Mr Ted Scrivener, 27 years, Mr Fred Turner, 2 years, and Mr Sid Lawrence for 10 years. I would also like to mention Mrs Lillian Green, who kept the school clean for some 34 years.

School Cooks – revered and remembered by most pupils.

Mrs T. Fenwick, Mrs A. Bangay, Mrs A. Large, Mrs A. Mullinger, Mrs M. Janes, Mrs K. Hearn, and our present cook, Mrs J. Bennet. Again I would like to mention Mrs J. Thacker, who joined as a Lunch Supervisor when the scheme started in 1963, and then served a full 25 years.

It is regrettable that there are no records of the many dedicated people who served as sch6ol managers over the years. In line with secondary education they have now been re-named school governors and under the new education laws will have much greater power and responsibility in the school’s workings. I would like to place on record the names of Mr S.A. Bramley, and Mrs M. Vinson, who were both Chairmen of the Managers, giving many years of long and faithful service to the school.

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2 responses to “Ch 9

  1. I do not wish to upset anyone regarding my experience at Borough Green Primary School. This was from the end of WW2 until 1952. I thoroughly enjoyed Infant’s class with Miss Riley and Transition with Miss Bamford, after that it was all downhill. Actually, every teacher after those first two was single and ancient (except one) and not very human. The number of pupils in each class was large – and only those likely to pass 11-plus and/ or the later Technical School entrance examination, received an adequate education and attention. Maybe I’m the only one who feels, or felt that way; but I very much doubt that.

    • I think that view of the 3-tier system was pretty general across the country. I am not entirely convinced that the replacement in the 70s was a whole lot better as staff at the secondary school were pretty much of a view that those who would go onto the Maidstone schools were identified at an early point. One member of said related how the As and some Bs would move on after 2 years and the others would move up – in other words the same pecking order prevailed as they saw it, it was just delayed in its effect.

      I am not sure if that statement was meant to motivate anyone. If it was, it fell a little short.

      The big classes were also evident in the 60s/70s. The staff did a lot to give a progressive feel to the place.

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