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Five years before my time, you lot, but shows the quad corridors had been covered over by glass. Looks like a mixture of sixth formers and probably fifth formers wearing summer uniforms.   A

I don't know what any of the Manning staff did during the war but the deputy head was so combative, I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't start it!

I don't know Jill well enough to be able to recognise her by any leg features.

Jill, there was certainly a debating society, but whether it was restricted to just 6th Form I don't recall.  The only societies I joined were the Science Society and the Jazz Record Club.  A friend and I had to seek special permission to attend the Jazz Club as we were only lowly Third Formers, but it was there that I first heard the true range of talent possessed by Ray Charles.. IMHO, the greatest 'all around' popular musician of the 20th C.  I was only familiar with a couple of his chart hits, and ignorant of his huge output in Jazz, R&B, Blues, Country, Gospel, Soul..... but I digress...


I've been doing a bit of research in my copy of 'High Pavement Remembered'.. and it seems that the school was  always 'co-ed'.. from 1788.. pretty much until the creation of Manning.


Your mention of what sounds like a pretty extreme 'early feminist' world view as inculcated by Manning, is rather at odds with the generally respectful view of all humanity which was engendered in HP., under the leadership of Harry 'Taff' Davies.. a truly great Headmaster and Educationalist, who went on to become Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Nottm.  That said, as I recall.. the only females on site at HP were a couple of office staff and some canteen staff.  There was never a female teacher in my day.


Harry Davies was committed to the idea of the Grammar School, as a way of giving opportunity to 'mainly working class' boys, but he was keen to make their education as wide as possible and to include 'culture' in its widest sense.  A long way from the mechanistic 'hoop jumping' regime which is so spectacularly failing much of our current youth.



A boy could leave HP with a top Oxbridge scholarship, but he was a failure in his Headmaster's eyes if he wasn't interested in music, art, architecture, the theatre, books, the sciences, politics, girls, family and neighbourhood and the rest of mankind.


On those terms and despite my relative lack of of success in the career, wealth and fame dept..I think  he succeeded with me.

A determined opponent could I suppose construct  a fake argument around homophobia because old Taff wished his boys to be interested in Girls, but given his times, I suggest we can forgive him.


You also expressed envy for the fact that HP (Bestwood) had changing rooms.  I can see that.  There's no doubt that by the standards of the times, HP Bestwood was exceptionally well equipped.  It was after all built around 1955,  ( fairly) hot on the heels of Atlee's 1944 Education Act.  When I was there, we were told the school was designed to accomodate 600 boys, but by 1960 had 800+ (Some things never change) That said I was never conscious of overcrowding, shortage of teaching space etc., apart from the odd lesson in the hall, or on the stage.


I was very excited by the place when I started.  Apart from plain old classrooms, some of which were largely adopted as bases by certain subject heads, we had the following:

Separate Junior and Senior school libraries

Separate and very well equipped woodwork and 'Metalwork' shops. Metalwork in particular had machine tools, (lathes, shapers, milling machines, saws etc.) plus a fully equipped forge, with every tool the blacksmith or Farrier could wish for, plus both arc and gas welding kit.

Separate Junior and Senior labs for the three main sciences, each with their 'assistants' room/store.  Each 'station' in the labs, had the basic kit needed for all kinds of experiments, with the rest being provided as and when by Lab Assistants.

A 'Science Lecture Theatre'.

A decent sized hall, with a well equipped stage including lights, curtains and whatever the rest of the stuff is called.

A good sized 'tarmac' yard.

Tennis Courts.

A proper bike shed.

A well equipped Gym, with all the usual 'apparatus', plus  all of the stuff for Rugby, Cricket, Hockey and Track and Field sports.

Large playing fields, on three levels and overlooking much of Nottm.

Extensive grounds connecting all of the above.


I went to an open evening, shortly before the place was demolished.  With an old classmate I walked the corridors and soaked up the memories.  We finished up out on the playing fields on a glorious Summer evening and were both deeply affected by the view and the atmosphere that we'd no longer be able to see in quite the same way.  I've commented elsewhere here, about the particlar soft light and atmosphere which seems unique to Nottm at the height of Summer.  I still haven't worked out whether it is  real...or some sort of emotional response to 'home'.


At least the builders of the housing which inevitably replaced the HP site, put the names of notable teachers from HP as street names, so some of my old teachers will exist in the general consciousness for a little longer. I hope they do the same on the old Padstow Secondary site, which is I believe up for  'development' and has even better views.


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We did have changing rooms: gym changing room, games changing room and a space at the rear of the hall where we changed for dance. The footbaths were opposite this space, at the rear of the hall. Cold water only. No soap!


Manning had no mod cons and no state of the art equipment, apart from a tv which more often than not didn't work. It was, basically, as it had been built in 1930/1 during my time there.

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Reading recollections of maths teachers at ACHS and the difficulty in recruiting same, made me think Manning must have been scraping the underside of the maths teacher barrel when they appointed one of ours, whom I usually refer to as Barmy Colleen.


Mrs Davy was a disgrace to the teaching profession and should have been permitted nowhere near a school. Whether, in her younger days, she had been capable of educating her charges in the mysteries of mathematics I do not know but of one thing I am certain: by the time we encountered her in September 1970, any pedagogical prowess she may once have possessed had been replaced by sarcasm, vitriol, violent temper and, not infrequently, the unpredictable, bizarre behaviour of someone on the verge of being sectioned.

During our first year at Manning, we were taught mathematics by a Miss Scott: a fairly young, bespectacled, bookish lady whose skill in communicating her subject was faultless. A reasonable, calm, cheerful individual whom we all liked. Sadly, in the second year, she was no longer timetabled to teach us and we fell into the volatile clutches of Mrs Davy.

Apart from covering the board and our exercise books with indecipherable red inked scrawl that would not have disgraced a gin-soaked arachnid who had succeeded in clambering out of an inkwell, this woman was entirely capable of wasting a double maths period haranguing her pupils on subjects as diverse as potato famines, the heinous treatment of the Irish by the English and the certainty that every Protestant was destined to burn in Hell. Not exactly what she was supposed to be doing!

On days when she was in a less garrulous frame of mind, she employed the time by heaving chalk sticks, wooden-handled board dusters, exercise books, hardbacked copies of The Schools' Mathematics Project, together with anything else not securely nailed down, at the heads of those she was being paid to teach.

I have described a typical Davy maths lesson elsewhere on this forum and I know many are convinced I invented it but I assure you, every word was true.

One of our number, Kathryn Jayne Smith, hailed from Ragdale Road in Bulwell. She was a good friend of mine. Kathryn was, I now realise, dyslexic although no one on the teaching staff seemed to recognise her problem at the time. She involuntarily transposed her letters which made English written work very difficult for her but she was a brilliant mathematician.

Kathryn, like others who were gifted in maths, grew angry and frustrated not only at Davy's antics but also with her apparent shortcomings in the subject. Kathryn had long confided to me that the virtually unintelligible workings out and answers with which Davy covered the board were actually incorrect. We obtained a copy of the SMP answerbook which quickly proved Kathryn's suspicions to be well founded.

I shall never forget the day my friend stood up in class and uttered the immortal words, "Mrs Davy, that isn't the right answer!"

Our old wooden desks with their hinged slopes were not, I'm sure, designed to be used as shields but were it not for their defensive properties, most of us would probably have had our heads knocked off in the positive fusilade of missiles she launched that afternoon! She went, literally, ballistic. This type of behaviour wasn't uncommon, yet one would encounter her in the corridor 45 minutes later and receive a smile and a nod in passing, as though she had no recollection of having screamed abuse at you earlier. I marvelled at the fact that no one ever came to investigate what was going on when she started ranting, raving and throwing things around.

The fearsome head mistresses Miss Harding and Miss Lighten were before my time at The Manning but, from what I've heard, I have no doubt they would have dealt with Mrs Davy in the most appropriate manner, ie gathered her up by the scruff of the neck, frogmarched her down the front steps of the Admin Block, across the tennis courts, through the gate and deposited the baggage in the middle of Gregory Boulevard with an admonition not to darken the door again!

I know for a fact there were complaints lodged about Davy by parents who were very concerned on hearing their daughters' descriptions of what transpired during her lessons.

Sadly, she got away with it and continued to waste both the time and educational prospects of the girls in her charge for some years after I escaped. Whatever the pittance they paid her, (another of her favourite rants) she wasn't worth it!

Mrs Davy will now be deceased. I'm not given to speaking ill of the dead but the above is nothing I wouldn't say to her face were I to meet her in the street. With hindsight, perhaps she was bipolar. Who knows? Perchance, she had her own demons. Who hasn't? The difference is that when you are employed in a professional capacity, you don't take them to work with you and make everyone else's life an unmitigated misery.

Most of us quickly cottoned on to the realisation that we weren't going to learn much about maths with this woman and became naturally wary of her. Sad to say, we regarded her as a joke and her lessons were notable only for their entertainment value.

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I was never very good at maths. I became an accountant but apart from addition, subtraction, multiplication and division which I learnt at primary school I never came across any of the more advanced maths we were taught at grammar school. I've never seen a quadratic equation since I left school. A knowledge of Ohm's law and Newton's laws of motion usually solve most problems!

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I've long held the view that there really ought to be a distinction made between what might be called 'Practical Mathematics' and 'Unneccessary For Most People Mathematics'.


I freely profess to being appallingly bad at Mathematics and I'm convinced that somewhere along the way I missed something.  I was very near the top of the class in Primary, mostly because I was good at doing what used to be called 'Problems'. I was also OK at basic Arithmetic and Geometry.  But, when I got to High Pavement I quickly got out of my depth and oddly, being embarrassed about my poor Maths made me less inclined to ask for help.. whereas being very confident in the Sciences and in English, I always felt confident that any question, or request for clarification was reasonable and so wasn't embarrassed.. 

However, in retrospect it must have been obvious to all that I was struggling.. yet no additional help or 'remedial' stuff was ever offered.  Anyway.. I digress.


Working as a Scientific Technical Officer Grade 4 (Almost the lowest of the low..) at the NCB Cinderhill labs, I was never required to do anything but add subtract multiply divide and simple percentages.  I don't think anyone else was either. Yet, despite having plenty of science O levels, I was denied access to ONC Chemistry on Day Release/Night School due to having no O level Maths and eventually gave up on a scientific career as progress was based almost entirely on exam passes.


As a general observation.. I'd say that many.. if not all those who have attempted to teach me Maths over my lifetime, have suffered from the same problem as IT types.  They start by speaking to you in a foreign language about a subject you are already srruggling with. and then wonder why you don't follow their 'logic'.


Throughout my life, I've got away with my pretty poor skills, adding in Ohms Law, and the whatever name is given to Watts = Volts x Amps, plus a bit of simple geometry.   I had a minor wobble at Uni in the 80s when I was forced to do Statistics in Year 1and only just 'winged it'. .. but apart from some stuff I chose to use in a report ( Spearman's Rank Correllation or Spearman's 'Rho') plus some percentages.. 30 years in Career Guidance never troubled me on the Maths front.





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A few years after leaving school, I decided to enter the teaching profession for which O level maths was mandatory. I obtained it without any difficulty via a night school course and was totally flummoxed when the tutor suggested I might like to take A level maths.  But, I protested, I was useless at the subject. It was only then I realised that I'd had no problems at primary school. It had all been caused by Mrs Davy!


Having said that, figures don't interest me at all. Words fascinate me, numbers just bore me stiff.


Looking back, I often wonder what my school chum Kathryn would have chosen as a career. As it turned out, she never had to decide. She died at the age of 16 from a wrongly diagnosed appendicitis.  A life too short to have had it wasted listening to the rants and ravings of Barmy Colleen!

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I had to study statistics for my accountancy exams but never came across the subject in real life. Another peculiar subject was economics where there was never any definitive answer to an exam question. I worked on the theory that the examiners weighed the answer papers rather than marking them. The more you waffled, the higher the mark! Your were taught so much rubbish at school that had no relation to real life situations. As an example, in French the subject was based on grammar when actually you needed to learn it as a conversational language. Latin was taught, as in those days an O-level in Latin was a prerequisite for entry at some universities for medical and pharmaceutical courses, where an abbreviated form of Latin was used in prescriptions.

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I'm with you, Col.  From the first day I said I thought I would like to be an electrician it was drilled into me, 'but you've got to be good at math'.  Trouble was, I wasn't.  After I got on as an apprentice I found that most was not reaaly hard in our everyday use.  Mostly just simple measurement, and an ability to figure out Amps, volts and ohms, their relationships and correct sizes of wire.  Phase relationships etc. Get a bit more complicated but not much above everyday calculations.  Even in music you need to be able to count fractions etc. to get timing right.

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My contribution to maths…….


I did 7 reasonably successful years at Fairham Comprehensive at Clifton, and by far the worst teacher - as opposed to person - I encountered there was a man named Geoff Gay (no sniggering, because this was before that name acquired its second meaning).


He taught me for my 4th year. Up to then I’d been pretty good at Maths, coming around 9th or 10th out of a class of 35-40. But by the end of my 4th year - with Mr Gay - I was struggling around 28th-30th, and I knew it was all due to him. Within that one year he ruined my ability to do or understand maths. He knew the subject but just couldn’t teach it to others.  Not unpleasant; just useless. 


This was the early 70s and he was also a stereotypical radical leftie of the time; he was seen by many kids on several occasions in the city on demonstrations, marching down streets, waving banners etc. 


We had a different teacher in my 5th year who was very good and I quickly recovered lost ground, but not enough to get me through first attempt at O level Maths. I eventually passed it on my third attempt, but I should’ve got it on the first. All down to Mr Gay.

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It was actually Dannymac that really helped me with math, Phil.  private tutojring as well.  He seemed to have a gift of making the subject easier for dumbos like me.

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The problem is maths teachers who have a natural leaning toward the subject and can’t comprehend that others may find it difficult. There is a big difference in knowing a subject and being able to teach it so that others can understand it.

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That goes for any subject. I've been nuts about history for as long as I can remember but two years of boring torture at Manning leading up to O level almost killed my interest. The woman responsible had no communication skills whatsoever nor, so far as was apparent, any love of her subject. Such people perpetrate great harm and should be working in a factory!

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We sat all our GCEs in the gym and, since it couldn't be used for its usual purpose, the sports staff were called upon to invigilate.


As I sat my English Language GCE, I chose from a given list of options, to write an essay on those who had taught me for the previous two years.  I couldn't believe my good fortune! Not only that but Pickleface spent most of the session standing behind my chair, reading what I was writing. Much of it referred to her and she couldn't do a damned thing about it.


As we left the gym when the exam was over, she hissed in my ear, "One of these days, Sparrow, your pen will get you into serious trouble".


I was awarded the highest grade possible for English language and made sure I gave Pickleface an extra gleeful smirk when I collected my certificate at speech day in December that year.


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Was never bored with my Secondary Modern Education at Padstow.........all the pupils had either failed the 11 plus or didnt take we were all Bestwood estate kids and to say the least they were an interesting bunch.....Same went for the Teachers,who like me must have enjoyed it there,,can't say i disliked any of them,,,even the ones i felt never took to me,,IE the Woodwork teachers Mr England and Mr Harris,,i was crap at Woodwork(still am) and anything to do with being Handy,,i'd struggle to tell you the last time i used a Screw driver or even where it is,,i know ive got an Hammer and again its whereabouts are a mystery,,

                                  I enjoyed many subjects at school History being one of them,,we only got up to the Boer war,,but Mr Betts the teacher who was quite Eccentric,,used to relate stories of being in the Desert with the 8th Army ,so we learned quite a bit....Geography was another favourite and the teacher Mr Thomas was brilliant,,can still see him in my minds eye smartly dressed and talking about the borders in Europe during the war years,1st and 2nd....Other subjects i enjoyed were..Drama,,Art,,Science and Technical Drawing,,and a large part of my interest and enjoyment was down to some excellent teachers,,who by and large were consumed with a passion for their subjects...

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36 minutes ago, benjamin1945 said:

Mr Betts the teacher who was quite Eccentric,,used to relate stories of being in the Desert with the 8th Army


At junior school we had a Mr Keys who was part of the ex-servicemen training scheme, apparently it was a popular way into teaching in the 50's.

He was a gunner with bomber command and lost his legs in the war, his party piece was whacking his shins with a walking stick.


One thing we quickly learned to do was ask "what it was like in the war sir" and that was it, sit back and chill out, he was off down memory lane for half an hour.

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11 hours ago, Cliff Ton said:

was a man named Geoff Gay (no sniggering, because this was before that name acquired its second meaning).


I think it's just possible that this may have been the Geoff Gay who was a couple of years ahead of me at HP. He would have left 6th form in '65 and been qualified by 68.. ish.. if it as him and if he went into teaching.  

'My' Geoff Gay was famously rebellious and once got into a near fist fight with a teacher in the run up to assembly because he'd been disciplined by a Senior Prefect and insisted he was not guilty of any misdemeanour and would not comply.  I have to say I had some sympathy with his stance, though maybe not his tactics.  He steadfastly refused to leave the main body of students and stand at the front of the hall with the other miscreants, despite the attentions of numerous Prefects and the  Teacher I mentioned.  At the end of assembly, he passed Geoff, the famed Head Harry 'Taff' Davies said "Gay.. My Office".  Geoff dutifully followed him, which was a real demonstration of the esteem in which we all held Davies.  Geoff IIRC was suspended for a week.

I ran into him almost a quarter century later at the 1988 HP Bicentenary celebrations.  He was stocky, red faced and looking a bit down at heel in a DJ with tatty 'silks'.  I reminded him of the famous incident and he replied with a grin.. "Ahh Yes..  I've only just stopped doing things like that!"


Could he perhaps be the same chap?

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8 hours ago, benjamin1945 said:

.Other subjects i enjoyed were..Drama,,Art,,Science and Technical Drawing,,and a large part of my interest and enjoyment was down to some excellent teachers,,who by and large were consumed with a passion for their subjects...


Even though I went to HP..some Padstow teachers names were tatooed into my brain at the time.. though many lost now.  They were legends on Bestwood Est.. before Bestwood Park and Rise Park meant anything.


Alan Tipton.  Drama.  Gallagher.. Head.. was it 'Jock'?  A science teacher who was forever setting off his home made rockets.. name lost in time now..

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12 hours ago, Jill Sparrow said:

That goes for any subject. I've been nuts about history for as long as I can remember but two years of boring torture at Manning leading up to O level almost killed my interest.


They managed it in my case.  Our Cambridge Board  'O' Level syllabus was: 'British and European Social and Economic History 1714-1939.'


In other words.. one of the most interesting, revolutionary, vibrant and dynamic periods in UK history.  What's more.. one which any kid born in the immediate post war period could easily relate to... especially if he had an interest in Science and Technology.. which of course drove the Industrial Revolution.  But sadly.. my first couple of years before commencing the O level course, were meaningless drivel delivered by an ageing Scot  called Murray, who would read to us lengthy and tedious tracts from stuff about the Punic Wars or similar.  Now, I'm sure that is all very interesting. but it had bugger all to do with the O level which I was supposed to be taking.


The final insult was when 1714-1939 was reduced to lists of dates, monarchs and prime ministers. I mean.. we were actually expected to recall the dates of all Prime Ministers from 1714 - 1939.  Assorted Pitts, Roseberry's, Percivals, Gladstones, Disraeli's, Lord Norths, Lord Souths, Lord Easts, Lord Wests, Wellingtons  Plimsolls, Trainers, Double -Barrels, Campbell-Bannerman's, Bonar-Laws.. etc., etc., ad infinitum. 


I gave up....


I much later subscribed to the theory that British History comprises two dates  (1066.. and 55 BC. or possibly 54 or 56 BC..) and a series of Good Things. and Bad Things. as outlined by  Messrs Sellar and Yeatman in their seminal work '1066 and All That'





They made as much sense as anybody..and gave added fun by concocting early English names such as Thuthelthrolth and insisting that people had died of a 'Surfeit of Palfreys'


Most of all. they clearly demonstrated that History is written by the Victor...  or some bloke looking for a laugh....  :)


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