Northcliffe High School Speech Day Plea At Northcliffe.

February 1966

South Yorkshire Times February 12,1966

Speech Day Plea At Northcliffe.

On the day that the news was released that Conisbrough Northcliffe High School would be given second building priority in the Mexborough Divisional reorganisation of education, the headmaster made another appeal for emergency action.

Mr. A. G. G. Young, presenting his report at the at the School Speech Day on Friday, declared: ‘ We have right here what must be one of the biggest rashes of prefabs of all round any school – 14 temporary West Riding classes, a vertible epidemic of ‘Tiki Taki’ boxes! S.O.S. – Sir Alec! S.O.S. County Coun. Broughton! This is not a big bad school yet and does not want to become one either. Let us hope that our signal is received loud and clear and that help will arrive in time. The jagged 15 plus rocks of 1970 and all that, loom perilously close ahead. We should know, now, what we are going to be able to provide I the way of extra education for our 16 years old leavers and where we are old going to put them.’


Mr. Young added that the unstreaming of all but the examination forms, progressive time tabling of team teaching and the formation of a School Council were three inter-related developments of great social significance in the school community.

‘Five of the eight forms in each year group were unstreamed two years ago and have been functioning in mixed ability groups ever since. Gone are the days when we were presumptuous enough to take it upon ourselves to divide boys and girls into sheep and goats, dubbing some as class ‘A’ and some class ‘D’. To classify any of our little brothers or sisters as ‘D’ stream is practically a criminal practice.

‘Streaming is just as inimical to the concept of the school as a family or as a brotherhood, as the 11-plus examination is to equal opportunity in society, wrong as it is to bring them to the cross-roads at the early age of 11 years plus.’


Of examination results, Mr. Young said: ‘The G.C.E. results speak well for themselves – not a vintage year, perhaps, but still a matter for congratulation to members of staff who have worked so hard to get our boys and girls through successfully.

‘Two girls figure in the list for the first time – they were phased in two years ago, which is rather too short a time for satisfactory preparation. Next year there will be nearly as many girls as boys sitting for the examination.

‘We look forward too to our first results in the new C.S.E. examination – there is a full fifth form preparing for it.

‘The examination is really designed for the 30 or 40 per cent. of boys and girls whose ability falls below the range likely to cope successfully with the ‘O’ level G.C.E. examinations.


It will be a very useful qualification in the future provided the Grammar Schools do not vitiate standards by indulging in massive double entries of boys and girls for G.C.E. and C.S.E. as well. The majority of boys in the G.C.E. fifth form here last year have joined the Mexborough Grammar School sixth form college.

Chief speaker was the Rev. Cannon P. J. Lamb, M. A., Principal of St. John’s College, York, who said he felt that he had been taken into the life of the school for a few hours at least. ‘This is a time when all the representatives of the school – the staff, pupils, parents and governors – get together and say ‘This is us.’ This is my 21st year as principal of College of Education, and one gets the smell of a good school.’

Largely Body.

Canon Lamb added: ‘We must never forget in a college or school that human beings are not simply brains engaged on academic activities. They need wider activities. When one has a concentration of brain activities one forgets that the human is very largely boy. If education becomes book centred it becomes narrow – the ability to use the body and hands is all part of education.’

Cannon Lamb said that he felt that the position of the Northcliffe School was parallel with the York College. The College is the poor relation of the port wine professions of Oxford and Cambridge as a means of higher education.

‘In these happy days there have been a lot of changes. With the advents of the G.C.E. stream, the C.S. stream and the sending of students to the sixth form college we can expect to see the end of this putting of students into packing order – like chickens in a pen.


A Family.

‘I am delighted to hear that unstreaming is practised in this school. It is a fact that in any kind of education we don’t want those of lesser ability pushed together. It is good when one hears of letting people be a family together. One gets much broader kinds of study. Those of more ability should help those with less ability.’

‘I rejoice in seeing this flexible kind of education, where there can be an interchange of different kinds of abilities. One wants to see something more cohesive and organic and a less snob-ridden society.’

Coun. J. Stewart, chairman of the Governors, who presided, referred to the children’s urge to help others – especially the elderly and of their wish to know something of Council procedure. Thanks were proposed to Canon Lamb by the head boy, William Webb, and head girl, Kathleen Webb, and head girl, Kathleen Burdett. The school choir gave items.


Awards were as fallows:

Duke Of Edinburgh’s Award:

Silver: Kathleen Burdett, Patricia Cross, Christine Groves, Diane Farrar, Keith Andrews, John Tuffrey.

Bronze: Pauline Brooks, Dorothy Cooper, Janette Exton, Brenda Houlbrook, Carol Jones, Hazel Jow, Linda Lovell, Irene Mason, Susan Otway, Linda Pygott, Pauline Severns, Sandra Southwell, Anne Vernon, Evelyn Walton, Terence Allen, Christopher Brabham, John Burden, Sturat Fowler, Christopher Gant, Philip Jackson, Christopher Peters, Stephen Pratt, Charles Smith, Philip Tomes, Alan Troop, Trevor Williams, Peter Wright, Christopher Knight.