Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Down In The Old Schoolyard

Just posted some photos and recollections of a former inmate at Abbeydale Boys Grammar School who was sent down in 1958  

I probably did not stress it enough on the pages when I posted them, but the views I give are very much personal ones and in part are based on that wonderful commodity hindsight.

What really started me off were the articles in The Guardian which portrayed ABGS in the 1960's has some sort of educational idyll - an idyll that was destroyed by the imposition of comprehensive education. Well I certainly did not find ABGS idyllic,far from it. For many years I could not place my finger on why I was unhappy there but when you are a parent yourself you get a different perspective.

I came to the conclusion that it was not me that was at fault (you were always made to feel you were) but the system that existed. There were just too many teachers who should never have been let near a classroom in the sixties, they were just "unfit for purpose".

Maybe I am too critical of the school but for seven years they dominated my
life and the end product was not something they could have been proud of.
Perhaps I failed them but they certainly failed me.

Since I posted the pages quite a few years back - there was a paucity of material on ABGS online - quite a number of "old lags" have contacted me. Some have disagreed strongly with my views and said their time at the school was the best days of their lives, and even intimated that I was ungrateful for the opportunity I had been given. One even suggested that if I had found God all these troubles would have gone away!! . Well yes for certain people ABGS did work and provided them with a sound basis for their future careers and life.The majority to be fair have ambivalent feelings towards the school - yes there were faults but it could have been worse is the general line. But what has suprised me is the sizeable minority who demonstrate a real and lasting hatred for the place 40+ years on.

To quote

" Lousy, patronising bastards weren't they ,those tossers who pretended to teach us ? Not fit to look after my dog let alone children."

As for me I have no respect or fondness for ABGS as an institution at all, which is not how it should be. My children had a pleasant time at school and remember it
fondly and so perhaps things are improving in one sense.

Final thought a photograph of the teaching and secretarial staff from the summer of 1959 - spot the odd two out

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