www.Poundswick .org.uk

Memories of an early 'Poundswick High' student

Linda Duty (1967-74) e-mailed me in August 2009.   At first I planned to summarise her main points and include them on the 'Your Memories' page, but something about the emotion in her e-mail prompted me to include it verbatim, which I do here, with Linda's permission:
"I have nothing particularly fascinating to add to your site but there are a couple of things you ask questions about which I can answer.  My parents had hoped that I would pass the 11-plus but it was abandoned in the year I was due to take it and consequently I had the misfortune to be in the first year of Poundswick's life as a comprehensive, and at the point of its name change to the the American-sounding 'Poundswick High'  The year was 1967 and I was a pupil at the school from 1967 to 1974.  The uniform was adhered to in my time there, although a beret for girls was an option, and uniform could be abandoned altogether in the sixth form, although jeans were not tolerated.  I still remember boys in short trousers, even in the second year.

I have no happy memories of the school as I was on the (albeit average) academic side and during my time at Poundswick it became a school obsessed with sports, which I hated - probably because I was no good at them.  Assemblies - still conducted with teachers wearing robes - consisted of reading out lists of sports results.  Sports awards were handed out every week but prize days for academic work were abandoned because they didn't fit the 'comprehensive' ethos.

When I arrived at Poundswick the Houses were York (yellow), Lancaster (red), Chester (green) and Derby (blue).  The rumour that York had more house points and was top of the league, and that Derby was trailing at the bottom soon got through to all the first-year pupils, so the bold ones, if asked, simply said they were in York, and, when sports were played just ran/jumped/played for York.  So at the end of the first year there were about 60% of pupils in York and 5% in Derby.  Remarkably, the staff turned a blind eye to this, or perhaps they didn't notice.

School photos - individual photos for pupil records were taken in 1st and 5th years, but no class or school photos were ever taken during my time at Poundswick.

A sixth-form centre was built in time for my entry into the sixth form and smoking was allowed in the common room but not in the study or classrooms.  Mr. Scargill called the sixth-form boys by their first names instead of their surnames, but otherwise we were treated like eleven-year-olds.

During my time there were 2,500 pupils at the school as it merged with Oldwood Secondary (which is now demolished).  The first-year classes were numbered '1' followed by 'P', 'O', 'U',' N', 'D', 'S', 'W', 'K' - that's how big an intake it was.  I was in 1P but in the second year the whole of this class became 'U', and 'U' became 'P' : 'to keep you in your place', as Mr. Ryder told us.  He reintroduced Latin in the middle of our 4th Year and did well to get us through our 'O' Level in less than two years.

You are probably aware that Mr. Gilpin died on the last day of term before Christmas 1972, immediately after conducting the Christmas Carol Service, having had a heart attack in his office.

There was no Leaving Assembly or ceremony after we'd taken our 'A' Levels - we simply didn't return after our individual exams, and just sort of trickled away.  I felt that some of the teachers resented what the school had become.

My only sadness about the school is seeing that the old farm buildings have all been demolished - what a piece of history lost.  I see that even the farm on Newall Road is now unlived in and boarded up.

Despite my dislike of the school I was fascinated by your website, and I wished that I'd been at Poundswick a few years earlier.


Linda Duty - Poundswick 1967-74