Secondary Modern School

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Secondary Modern School

The beginnings.

Although the school was built in 1937 it did not become a secondary modern school until 1945 under the Butler Education Act 1944 which had just come into force. The intervening years being a Senior Elemantary School called the Sprowston Central School.

The idea was to have a tripartite system based on the results of the 11+ examination, this would act as a selection process for the pupils to enter one of three distinct education paths. Grammar schools for purely academic education, technical schools for an industry specific education, the remainder would be sent to secondary modern schools for a general education.

This system that may have been workable in large conurbations such as London or major centres like Birmingham and Manchester however it proved anything other than on workable in provincial and mainly country areas such as Norfolk. Even this problem was exacerbated by there being a Norfolk County Council and a Norwich City Council which ran as independent authorities.

Even on the number of pupils involved and if the tripartite system were to work the distances pupils would have to travel make such an education requirement virtually impossible and to this end secondary modern schools also took on the role of technical teaching via pupils having practical lessons.

Memories of Sprowston Secondary Modern School (Sprowston Central School)

By Thelma Gladwell. (July 2014)

Recently Sprowston Heritage mentioned some memories of the above school that brought lovely memories back to me. I remember Mr Gage, Headmaster strutting round the corridor which curved on the outside of our classroom, until he had arthritis, he kept us in order. We had two evacuees from London in our class – Anita Green was one whose name I remember, but I cannot think of the other girl`s name, it’s come to me now Yvonne Frith. We had a dance once a month with a Band of Newfoundland Soldiers, who were stationed at the Marriot Hotel (Rackheath Hall Sprowston Hall) and Golf Club. Very good they were. Mr Gage always insisted our parents met us from this. Mr Alward, our class teacher, always gave us a crossword to do each day, saying “it`s very good way to learn. After I met him accidently in the City, he took me to Lyons Café, which was on the Walk and bought me a coffee. I was expecting my first son who is now 62. When my son was born, I had a nice letter from his wife. Mr Alward had died on my son`s birthday, Christmas Eve.

Another thing Mr Gage did was, if those that had school dinners cleared up in time, he would let them play table tennis or records in the Hall. I also remember Mrs Elphinstone doing school dinners with a helper. A lot of the class has passed on, but I still see lots of the girls and remember all the boys, my brother in law Carl Gladwell, Frank Shorten, Derek Terrington, Ivy Shorten and Erica Russen, all passed on now.

Aerial view of Recreation Ground Road (part), School top left.

We had `Air Raid` shelters on the Recreation Ground, and as it was a long way from the classroom, we were machine-gunned one time. We always sang in the shelters “There`s a long, long trail a winding”.

School site in 1940. We could not learn to cook much as everything was rationed. Could not sew much, had to have coupons for material Etc. I was 13-14 and left school the Easter, I was 14 ½. But all in all it was a happy school.

I also remember another teacher we had in 1A – Mrs Riches, she had a very young daughter and her husband was a `Prisoner of War`, we always knew when she had a letter from him, as she was so sad. Also I think it was Mrs Watson for singing class, lastly I remember we had Griffith Jones, Welshman, who was a well-known singer on the radio, sing for us at the dances.

We are most grateful to Mrs Gladwell, for contacting us.

The Pupils

A selection of photographs mostly of the annual form photographs the school seemed to prefer rather than whole school as many other schools had taken. This gallery will be expanded as more photographs and memories of pupils become available.

The Staff

Pictures and memories of the teaching and other staff will be put in place shortly

Sprowston Secondary Modern School

Holiday to North Wales at Ffestiniog.

Saturday July 28th - Saturday August 4th 1951.

The children met at Thorpe Station to get the train to Liverpool Street, London. Euston Station, London to Llandudno Junction. Llandudno to Blaenau Festiniog. Blaenau Festiniog was only a short distance from the Youth Hostel, Caorblaidd, Festiniog, Merioneth, North Wales.

Instructions for the trip. The children were required to take their Identity Card, Ration Book and Medical card. In their travel case, they will need complete change of clothing, and warm cardigan for the journey. Handkerchiefs, Mackintosh, good strong walking boots and sandals or gym shoes. A Bathing Costume, Two towels (1for toilet and 1 for bathing), also Toilet equipment. Nightwear, knife, fork and dessert spoon. Notebook and pencil and a small card game.

You must bring with you Friendliness, Courtesy and a desire to make this holiday a happy one for all.

Schoolchildren in the party?

Sheila Austin, M. Bellamy, P. Burrows, John Clarke, R. P Copping, Jean Cummings, Peter Dodds, Judith M. Drake, Anita Goddard, R. Groom, J. Holmes, Cyril Howard, R. D Long, J. R. Read, Janet Sands, M. Spinks, Jill S. Taylor, A. White-Miller, G. Woods. Interesting places the schoolchildren visited were:-

Ffestiniog, a famous holiday centre with fishing, walking and the beautiful scenery. Blaenau Festiniog, well known for its Slate Quarries. Beddggelert, picturesque village; the home of the legend Prince Llewellyn and his dog Gelert.

Caernarvon, old Welsh sea port on the Menei Straits, it has a famous 13th century Castle. Menei Straits, the narrow stretch of water between the Isle of Anglesey and the mainland of Wales. Bangor, a sea port on the Straits, also a famous cathedral and University town. Bettws y Coed, a famous beauty spot of North Wales, The Swallow Falls. Portmadoc, a sea port and seaside resort.

Itinerary. Saturday we travel. Sunday we go to church in the morning, Rhaiadr y Cwm Falls for lunch, and then our first walk! Monday we walk to Bla. Ffestiniog and visit the Slate Quarry – walking! Tuesday we have a bus tour – Aberglaslyn to Beddgelert – Caernarvon – Bangor – Bethesda – Bettws y Coed – Youth Hostel. Wednesday we visit a woollen Mill and mountain lake. Thursday a visit to Portmadoc- fishing and swimming. Friday a visit to Barmouth and the Rhayndreddo Falls. Saturday 4th August 1951 we return home.