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Bilborough 1957-2000
Portrait of a College

Part V - ... but I go on for ever ....

The School and College Library (i) - Cyril Jacob
The Library (ii) - Jean Gregory
A Librarian's View from 1990 to the Millennium (iii) - Dianne Purdy
Reprographics
Premises & Caretaking
Timetables
Thanks for the Memories - Jean Gregory

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The School and College Library (i)

Cyril Jacob (English, 1961-91)

The story of the Library is necessarily the history of the development too of Bilborough as school and college, reflecting changes in intake, curriculum, standards and education methods. To a very real extent, the use or otherwise a pupil or a student made of the Library or, indeed, still makes of it could determine that person's results - and hence career and subsequent life! It was (and is) therefore vital that it should be capable of meeting all our students' needs, both academic and recreational, and it was that concern that motivated me and my colleagues.

The first school magazine tells us:

Within a fortnight of the beginning of the first term, the library was open to borrowers with a stock of nearly 1,400 volumes ... This was only made possible by the hard work of a number of boys and girls who volunteered during lunch hour and after school to mark the books with their Dewey classification numbers, stamp them and equip them with issuing cards, arrange them on the shelves and sort the catalogue cards.

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It goes on to say that there were 'some 4,000 issues' in the first year alone. At lunch times, the library was so well used by both staff and pupils that extra tables and chairs had to be ordered!

When I joined the staff in September, 1961, as 'English and French master with Special Responsibility for the School Library', the school had been in existence for four years, so that the library was already well established with its basic organisation in place. This meant that, for much of the immediately foreseeable future, the emphases were to be on expansion of stock, following the demands of changes in the curriculum and in examination syllabuses, and on effective day-to-day administration.

All ex-pupils will remember the inverted L-shape of the library in those early years, offering an obvious natural division into 'Fact' (the academic subjects) in the longer 'upright' of the L and 'Fiction and Reference' in the 'foot', with a well-stocked newspaper and magazine rack. A folding screen could be drawn across, so that a class could be taught in one part, while a few individual sixth-formers could still do their private study in the other - but this was an exceptional arrangement; the screen did not shut out very much noise. The School had just acquired its first Sixth Formers, privileged beings, some of whom were now Prefects, who could spend private study periods in the library, where they could actually be trusted to work quietly unsupervised!

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Before I arrived, the library had been run by John Pick, who was also a member of the English Department. He had recruited a band of pupil librarians from the top year whose task it was to issue and receive books during lunch times and from 4.00 to 4.30. This was a system which worked extremely well and one I was happy to continue. At lunch times, a roster of library prefects as well as the pupil librarians ensured discipline when I could not be present. As well as administering the issue-files, pupil librarians were also taught a number of basic library skills, such as filing by author and by Dewey decimal number, cataloguing of books received as gifts, simple repairs (101 uses of Magitape!) and stock-taking. They also issued overdue slips and sometimes helped to arrange displays of new books and resource materials on particular topics in the display cabinets and notice boards. Books that had been requisitioned came to us from the Schools Libraries Service ready provided with plastic jackets or reinforced in the case of paperbacks and complete with catalogue cards but of course we had to file these and write out the issue-cards. Most of my helpers were girls but there were a few boys too; it has always given me pleasure to know that a modicum of these pupils actually went on to take up librarianship as a career.

By the time I came, there was a book-stock of some 3,000 volumes, including a good range of the standard encyclopædias, dictionaries and similar reference books. The annual library budget out of the annual school capitation started at around £500, exclusive of newspapers and magazines. When I'd asked Dr Peake what the allocation was for these, he'd smiled and said it was from a different fund and no ceiling had been set - so, in addition to 'The Times' and 'The Guardian' and their Sunday equivalents, until there was a change in administration, we always had a double rackful of general interest, specialist and hobbies magazines such as 'Gibbons' Stamp Monthly', 'Angling Times' and 'Amateur Photographer', as well as foreign language magazines, even including the Russian pictorial magazine 'Ogonyok'! In the first year of the school's existence alone, some forty magazines and newspapers were taken - and well used!

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One of the less agreeable parts of my job as teacher-librarian was to have to divide up the library allocation between departments, for each would be sure to have some special case to plead for extra money and book prices would often increase quite radically between the time my order went in and the book's arrival. However, any imbalance was usually equally arbitrarily corrected by the sudden unavailability of certain items. I dare say this is one aspect of a librarian's life that has not altered! In addition to the departmental orders, I always retained a fair proportion of the allowance to buy books of general interest and good quality fiction for both juniors and seniors. As one of my first tasks, I also ensured we had a wide cross-section of the great classics of English and world literature.

Since no one person could possibly keep track of all the new children's literature, still less teach at the same time, we joined the School Library Association, a branch of which had recently been formed in the city and whose quarterly journal was an invaluable source of reviews. In September, 1963, Bilborough had the honour of hosting the annual national SLA Conference. Membership of the SLA also proved to be a marvellous way not only of acquiring new library skills but also of obtaining insights into developments in school libraries and into new techniques of information retrieval that were needed as syllabuses changed and new information technology developed. I soon found myself persuaded to join the branch committee and I remained its treasurer for twenty-five years, until the local association was dissolved, as teacher-librarians gave way to professional librarians in schools and its functions were duplicated by the professional associations.

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To administer the library, I was allowed two extra 'free periods' per week of forty minutes each - which meant, of course, that I usually used up some of my other 'frees (which were really meant for marking and preparation) to do library work. Longer tasks, such as requisitioning and stock-taking had to be done out of school hours or, in the case of the latter, when the library could be conveniently closed towards the end of the school year. For all the extra duties and responsibilities, I received a special allowance of the princely sum (initially) of £100 a year! In my second year, my position was raised to Head of Department, with a small corresponding increase in salary.

At this point, I should perhaps mention that, although I have no formal professional qualifications as a librarian, I had had previous experience of running school libraries in England and France. It was only after twelve years that I was given some adult help. At a time when 'helper-Mums' were being recruited to assist the teacher-librarians in routine administration in our sister secondary schools, we were fortunate to obtain the services, at first part-time, of a chartered children's librarian, Mrs Jean Gregory, the mother of one of our ex-pupils. As my own teaching commitment grew with an increasing emphasis on A-level and other examination work, and as the stock grew at an average of a thousand books a year (for example, from about 8,000 in 1968 to over 9,000 in 1969), so did the need for more help. For short periods, Frau Gretl Schmid, our peripatetic violin teacher, helped with filing and Mrs Norma Howitt, like Mrs Gregory a chartered librarian, also came to help part-time. Eventually, Mrs Gregory was able to work full-time, bringing to the School and then to the College not only her professional skills but also her considerable and much appreciated abilities as a designer and maker of costumes for our plays, operas and staff end-of-term comic dances. When the school became a sixth-form college, she took over the library and I was allocated new responsibilities within the English Department.

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Over the years, there were profound changes in curriculum and teaching methods, with more emphasis being placed on 'child-centred learning'. During lesson-time, the library changed from being a silent holy of holies for a few select sixth-form to do their private study to being an extra classroom for certain subject-teachers, so that they could bring down their pupils to do their individual projects, for which we had to try to ensure the provision of appropriate materials. When forewarned, I tried to be present to answer questions and to point pupils towards possible resources - and to reply to such questions as: 'Sir, sir! What sports did they have in Palestine in New Testament times?' - Answer: 'Stoning the adulteress and crucifying the prophet!' (Actually overheard!)

The expansion of the sixth-form as more of our students stayed on to take a wider range of A-level subjects and others joined them from our sister comprehensive schools, either for A-level courses or to resit and upgrade their GCE and CSE results, meant that not only our book-stock but also our library itself had to expand. An extension forming part of an entire sixth-form block was begun in the mid-sixties. As has been so often the case in education, there was no consultation with the professionals actually involved: I came in after the summer holiday of 1966 to find the new library with fixed shelving (ie there was the same distance between all the shelves)! This was obviously useless; I called in Miss Pyniger and Miss Greene, the heads of the City and County Education Library Services, who were appalled and quickly ensured that variable shelving was installed instead, presumably at no small extra cost. Another expensive mistake and one which remains in place to this day is that dividers were placed down the middle of each table with provision for neon-lighting tubes - but no thought was given as to how these were to be connected to the supply! However, my job was made somewhat easier by the partitioning off of a corner of the main library as a much-needed office and stockroom. Study carrels were also provided by the windows, fortunately without the very tall dividers that caused those put up in one county school to be nicknamed 'snogging boxes'!

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New courses in such subjects as computer studies, economics and media studies meant there had to be changes in book provision. As the prospect of our evolving into a Sixth-Form College drew nearer, we found ourselves exchanging large blocks of stock with schools that were losing their sixth-forms to become comprehensives or training colleges. Present students owe a considerable debt of gratitude to our committees of student helpers who worked so hard to change labelling and to file catalogue cards for the hundreds of books exchanged at this time. The introduction of computers was the beginning of changes in information retrieval that would eventually mean that a librarian conversant with advanced information technology would be required if students and staff alike were to be constantly supplied with all the services and up-to-the-minute resources that present-day courses require. There is certainly no way today that the traditional teacher-librarian could do this. However, I am glad to have had my experience as a teacher-librarian, hard work as it was. I hope that books will long continue to be a source of pleasure and knowledge, together with all the new forms of publishing and information retrieval that are rapidly developing and which I have to confess are now 'beyond my ken'.

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The Library (ii)

Jean Gregory (Librarian, 1973-90)

In 1973 the Education Committee of Nottingham City, then separate from the County Education Committee, appointed staff to work in Nottingham City secondary schools. My previous experience as a professional librarian had been with Notts Education Library Services whose policy of providing services to children, both in the public library and the County secondary schools, was at the forefront of national development and was internationally recognised under the leadership of Esme Green, famous for her innovative and pioneering work.

Prior to 1972 the City of Nottingham secondary schools, including the grammar schools, lucky enough to have libraries, relied on members of teaching staff with some free time to arrange collections and to provide some policy for using them. The decision to introduce staff into city school libraries was welcomed, but progress in reaching the ultimate goal of appointing full-time chartered librarians, based on a central education library department responsible for over-seeing training and policy development, was very slow. Development was hampered by two upheavals in the education world. With the introduction of comprehensive re-organisation many schools, including grammar schools, disappeared and were absorbed into the new system. Bilborough Grammar School became Bilborough Sixth Form College in 1973 faced with an enormous challenge of change. A fortuitous event for Bilborough was the appointment of Charles Martin as principal. He is a man with a rare combination of talents and the college flourished under his guidance. His ability to recognise potential where ever he found it made Bilborough College a stimulating, and for many, a more secure place in which to learn. School libraries never had a more understanding friend.

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Comprehensive re-organisation followed by the amalgamation of Nottingham City and County Authorities brought the City school libraries under the network management of the County Education Library Services. Their task was to bridge the gap between the very different levels of provision in City and County schools. In the light of heavy financial demands of re-organisation of the whole education system, the political will was sadly lacking to prioritise the funding to bridge that gap quickly. Faced with further delay it did not stop us fighting for recognition that access to appropriate resources, appropriate professionals to manage those resources and train users in basic and new skills, and finally appropriate space were crucial in meeting the needs of the learners. Further more, the demands of the ever changing curriculum and the introduction of technical information retrieval brought support from those far-sighted enough to understand the desire for a radical change in attitude to the role of the school and college library in meeting those needs.

School librarians throughout the country are supported by their professional body, the Library Association, concerned with recommended standards in schools and colleges. Unions concerned with working conditions and salaries were also involved. I was elected to Library Association Council and also became a Union Steward with Nalgo in order to represent colleagues both nationally and locally in their pressure for professional recognition and appropriate salaries for graduate / chartered librarians. In all this I was fortunate in having the understanding support of Charles Martin who followed with interest the struggle to initiate change.

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Eventually, under the Education Committee chairmanship of Fred Riddell the gap between the old City policy and the County policy for school libraries was bridged. The appointment of Chartered Librarians to Nottinghamshire secondary schools became policy. With Nalgo support appropriate salary grades were awarded in Nottinghamshire. Nationally it has long been sought to have statutory conditions regarding school library provision. The present patchy situation throughout Britain results in real disadvantage to many schools and children. I live in hope.

Against this background, I first joined Bilborough Grammar School Staff in September 1973 to work part-time in the library during term time. I was introduced to the staffroom by the headmaster, Bill Bristow, who made me feel very welcome. He also introduced me to Cyril Jacob who took me round the library and explained his involvement as an English department teacher with some free time to run the library. I remember that first day well. I remember my first reaction - the need for more staff time, more funding for more resources, more space, more involvement with the classroom and more contact with the individual pupil. How had they managed? For a time I worked alongside Cyril and I soon realised that the school had 'managed' due to his enthusiastic interest in books and his dedication to what must have been a demanding task, given the limited time he had free from his teaching work load.

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In comparison with later years the curriculum was restrained and the text book was all powerful. There was not a great deal of 'reading around' the subject in the main school, and library visits were limited. I remember with delight the arrival one day in the library of a whole class with their history teacher, Hugh Nicklin, and a challenge to search for contradictions in any books based on what they were studying. It was joy to join them! I found it interesting that the segregation of main school and sixth form engendered a certain arrogance totally lacking in the same age group when the school became a college. The provision of two separate adjoining areas, however, to meet the needs of main school and sixth form, was a huge advantage in meeting subsequent changing use of space.

Never one to resist challenges, I listed them under headings - funding, staffing, resources, space, classroom involvement and individual pupil contact. The whole of the following seventeen years as librarian at Bilborough was spent in meeting those challenges. During the period of transition from school to college, those challenges intensified, but on the arrival of Charles Martin as principal with his commitment to meeting the needs of all students, we made progress. Funding was increased towards meeting national recommended standards, 'towards' enough to welcome a bolt of material arriving for the long-awaited library curtains but not 'towards' enough to cover the cost of making! Never one to resist a challenge . . . ! Staffing was increased over time. I was appointed to a full-time professional post and Norma Howitt arrived as part-time library assistant second to none. She and I worked as a team and her energy and enthusiasm brightened the day. Val Coulter joined us as a part-time clerical assistant and the team was complete. We also had YTS help including Nazia Iqbal, who contributed so much in spite of her deafness handicap.

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Resources were increased as a result of increase funding and staffing. The support of the County Education Library Service in providing loan collections, special project collections and advice and management development sessions was invaluable. An information unit providing newspaper and periodical cuttings was initiated and maintained by students based on requests from staff and students. With the advent of information technology a micro-fiche record of the County Library stock together with a location code proved to be a great time-saver. A computer and modem were installed enabling access to Prestel and other information data-bases. After some in-service training (and a gentle reminder from the computing department that it was not necessary to say 'sorry' when 'BAD COMMAND' appeared on the screen) I was able to offer data-base search sessions followed by booking facilities for students to carry out their own searches. Particularly valuable was the careers data-base giving details of all available courses at British Universities and Polytechnics together with useful additional information.

Space to accommodate all this increasing activity was insufficient. At busy periods on most days there would be up to a hundred students, studying, searching or discussing within the library area, many of them having individual help from the library staff. Under the new principal, Gordon Brown, pressure grew for an extension to the library to accommodate the growing use of information technology. Eventually the old reprographics room, which had been created by Peter Head so many years before and which at the time had ruffled the quiet waters of conventional practice, became the information technology area of the library. New hardware was introduced in a space more appropriate for changed needs of the students. The old sixth form library became a quiet study room leaving the main library as a silence free area appropriate to inquiry and discussion. Students were trusted to choose which ever area best suited their need.

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Classroom involvement became possible with the increased staffing hours. There was welcome opportunity to attend curriculum discussion in various departments in order to have advance notice of resource needs and special class project loans. Individual student contact became a normal, and for me the most important, part of the college time-table. The library opened everyday until 5 o'clock. Students with free time could choose to spend it in the library. All new students received a brief introduction to 'The Library - What's in it for you?'. Latterly this was presented by an information tape/slide scripted by current students, recorded by Keith Orchard of the Physics department and photographed by John Gregory. A group of Library Workshop students also scripted and presented a tape/slide entitled 'Meeting the Needs in the School Library', again with Keith's and John's help. I presented it, along with a paper on School Libraries, at a Library Association Conference at Leicester University, and as a result was invited by the then Chief HMI, Trevor Dickinson, to present it again at the Annual HMI's Conference at Lancaster University. It was a learning experience for everyone!

One of the more significant influences on student attitude to the library was the inclusion of the Library Workshop Group in the list of Associate Study options. All students had free choice of a rolling programme of activities. The Workshop Group spent time in any area of library routine which interested them, from paper cuttings to data-basing. It subtly changed attitudes - whose library is it anyway?! A number of students over the years became involved and interested enough to commit themselves to a career in Information Studies and Librarianship in its various forms. At least two of them are now making headway as University Librarians. In September 1990 I retired and handed over to the new librarian, Dianne Baldwin. At least some part of all my challenges had been met with the help and support of so many people to whom I am enormously grateful. I am sure Dianne is working though a list of her own - such is the nature of the job!

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A Librarian's View from 1990 to the Millennium (iii)

Dianne Purdy (Librarian, 1990 - present)

When I started at Bilborough College in 1990 I was a mere 26 years old, and I was barely older than the sixth- formers who were studying there. My September starting date seemed badly timed. Within my first week I was organising Library Inductions for approximately 300 students. It seemed strange to be telling them about a Library I hardly knew myself. I hoped that they didn't realise that I was also a newcomer. It seems funny looking back on it all.

I felt very privileged starting work at Bilborough. The Library had been newly extended to accommodate an IT and careers area. We had the latest technology which was a BBC computer with Prestel and a modem, and an Archimedes computer which contained a database for students of English Literature. We felt proud of this area although it seems modest in today's terms.

One thing never changes at Bilborough. The College has a unique and very friendly atmosphere. I think it must be something to do with its size. Walk down the corridors and you will receive smiles and hellos from the students and staff. The College is a supportive environment, and I have fond memories of the support students have given me. I had only been the College Librarian for 3 months when I had my 27th birthday. This day sticks in my mind because we had a lively group of students in the Library who did not want to go home. I was very patient with them, but eventually thought it was time to ask them to leave. I was completely taken back however when they stepped forward with a bunch of flowers, a box of chocolates and an enormous card. I had been accepted into the Bilborough crowd.

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A few months later I was asked to stand up in assembly and promote the Library workshop course. I had only ever spoken to groups of 30 students or less. My self-consciousness was obvious and I blushed with embarrassment. I reached the last sentence of my talk and received applause from a small group of male students. They came up to me later that afternoon and said, ''We thought you needed a little support, you looked lonely up there.''

So how has the Library changed? Within the first year I had purchased our first IBM compatible computer with CD-ROM. I had two discs ECCTIS a careers package and the Guardian newspaper. Computers in those days did not arrive with all the software installed, and I had to load everything from scratch. This was a nerve-racking time for me, and the moment I typed in the installation command and pressed return an electrician arrived asking if he could switch everything off. Looking back on those days seems very strange. Our provision compared to today's standards seems very modest although at the time we were leading in technology. We are about to receive a suite of 10 computers with CD-ROM drives and the Internet. We have also built up a large library of discs ranging from Encylopædias, to Atlases and newspapers in French. Perhaps in another ten years this provision will seem modest.

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My next purchase was a computerised library system. Not only did this package help me keep tabs on who had borrowed what, but it also acted as an electronic catalogue. Every resource in the Library had to be painstakingly put onto the database and there were approximately 12,000 resources in those days. This meant that I had the unenviable task of producing a list of topics for each book. The biggest hurdle was to the put them onto the database. By luck a local training agency phoned me at this crucial stage to ask if I would like to take on a trainee who needed lots of IT experience. I felt like shouting, ''Eureka!''. The timing could not have been better. Poor Nick the trainee ploughed through the entire stock until it was all on the database. Today's students really do owe a great deal to the dedication of dependable Nick.

A more recent development has been the introduction of a Security System. It left quite an impression on one student who forgot we had security gates and walked straight into them chipping his tooth. Fortunately, he saw the funny side of it. Even after all this time the students are fascinated by the security system. Year 13 students still plead with me to let them run through the gates with a book on their last day. Students still laugh wildly if staff set the alarms off, and I am sure the designers never anticipated that students would activate the alarm through carrying CD-walkmans and mobile phones.

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I can finally conclude that one thing seems certain at Bilborough. Although educational goal posts are constantly moving the college itself remains a special place to work. Our students start year 12 as rather shy 16 year olds and leave with confidence to take on the world. Sometimes I turn on the radio or pick up a newspaper to find somebody criticising today's young people. This makes me angry. Whilst working at Bilborough I have discovered that these youngsters really are special. When studying becomes hard or life is touched with sadness these students rally round to support their less fortunate friends. During charity events such as Red Nose Day they work incredibly hard to raise money for others. One memory in particular haunts me. When Diana, Princess of Wales, died in 1997 we opened a book of condolence in the Library. Students patiently waited in line to sign this book. Their words were both beautiful and moving. So just remember when you hear somebody criticising the youth of today that the new Millennium should be a time of hope based on the achievements of these young people.

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Reprographics

Hands up all those who remember the Banda spirit-duplicator - now look at your hands . . . are they still covered in blue ink? No? Then you were one of the few who learned how to operate it properly, obtaining dry-ish copies carrying legible print. For a while, the machine lived in one of the aforementioned cubby-holes in the staff-room, sited on a desk under which stood spare gallon cans of spirit (the H&S at Work Act did not make an appearance till 1973!) Examination papers and bulk numbers of circulars, letters for parents for example, were reproduced using a stencil duplicator, the stencils being cut on a typewriter. In due course, an electrostatic stencil cutting machine was acquired and housed in the metalwork room under Norman Kirton's watchful eye. Norman also operated a cold metal letter press used for printing tickets and programmes. During the transition from school to college, the metalwork room was refurbished for use by the Art department (and designated Art 2) and the reprographic facilities were concentrated in room 0.2 which, for a while, also housed a few of the specialist drawing tables removed from room 1.6. Charles Martin brought his experience in the field to bear, and, using 'new' money made available on his appointment, negotiated the purchase of an off-set lithographic process which was capable of generating good quality plates from which printed copies could be made. David Furse brought his expertise to the post of Reprographics Technician for five years to August, 1987, and quoted in Appendix S is one of the Treasure Hunts which he devised for the amusement and confusion of staff. A major development in Roy Butlin's tenure of office came with the renting of a volume copier, thus enhancing the pace of production of increasing quantities of paperwork. An even busier, more sophisticated replacement was installed in June, 1997.

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Premises & Caretaking

The premises, according to the programme for the official opening of the school, provided the following accommodation.

Assembly Hall.
Gymnasium and changing rooms.
Library.
Five Science Laboratories and Preparation Rooms.
Housecraft Room and Needlework Room.
Ten Classrooms and History, Geography, Music and Art specialist rooms.
Four Division Rooms.
Metalwork and Technical Drawing Office.
Administration and Staff Rooms.
Ancillary spaces, including School Meals Scullery.
It is expected that in due course the number of pupils will exceed 550, including 90 Sixth Form pupils.

Furniture, Apparatus and Equipment

An initial expenditure of £21,300, including £1,500 for library books, was approved by the City Council and the Minister of Education. Worthy of special mention are the fittings of the Science Laboratories and the associated Metalwork Room and Drawing Office, the Library and the Gymnasium.

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Of the above facilities, the School Meals Scullery became defunct with the opening of the dining room and kitchen in January, 1967, and many areas, both classrooms and ancillary spaces, were modified from the mid 1970s on. Indeed, there are examples of walls being demolished only to be rebuilt and of partitions being inserted only to be removed at a later date. An attempt has been made to document (and date, albeit, sometimes approximately) the major examples of these modifications in Appendix T.

We have seen how five laboratories became six in 1960, accommodating the separate sciences, biology, chemistry and physics. In January, 1979, B2 and C1 were 'interchanged' (becoming C3 and B2 respectively) allowing the two chemistry laboratories to be serviced more effectively (and vastly more safely) from the one preparation room and easing the load of fetching and carrying for the technicians. P1 was used increasingly as a base for the rapidly expanding psychology department in the mid '90s. Music was displaced from the large sunny room at the rear of the hall (0.9) by the installation of a 30-seater language laboratory. Some 20 years later, in 1976, a new 14-booth Tandberg language laboratory was built in room 601 and language teaching generally was centralised in rooms 602 and 605 with the adjacent rooms 603, 604, 606 and 607, used variously as offices, oral examination preparation rooms and for the storage of audio-visual materials and machines. A new state-of-the-art language laboratory was acquired in 1995 and 601 had to be knocked through into 607 to create the appropriate space. Music occupied the A-block until the latter was loaned to William Sharp in 1974. Its retrieval was the subject of protracted negotiations, and a compromise was reached in 1981 with Bilborough having use of the block for the morning sessions and William Sharp for the afternoons. The following year, it was taken over full-time by the Geography department and in 1993 the block was given a very substantial (and long overdue) refit. The music department, evacuated for a second time, found a new home, initially in rooms 608 and 609, and from 1987 in 0.3. A facility in the sixth-form centre not mentioned earlier was the sports changing accommodation, which was used for the purpose intended until the late '70s. At this time, with the swelling numbers of music students, the first floor of the block was converted into practice rooms; in 1998, the ground floor also was 'restructured', to incorporate a music teaching room, storage space and an office.

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Extra accommodation for the Art department was initially provided in room 2.4 for three years before room 0.1 was knocked through into the original art room and provided with a short flight of steps in 1976. Room 0.1 was retrieved as a classroom in 1983 and greater use was made of Art 2, the re-furbished craft-room. Drama was accommodated in rooms 600 and 0.3 before being sited in the hall, designated the Arts Centre, in 1987. The teaching of typing, shorthand and office skills was introduced in 1979 with the appointment of Hilary Jones, and accommodated in room 0.9 for four years before being resited in H1 for the same period of time. H1 proved to be an attraction for vandals and the department was moved to room 0.3 for one year and then, in 1988, to its current home, room 1.3. Since that time, all the typewriters have disappeared and their place taken by successive generations of word processors.

Staff facilities were improved enormously when in early 1984, the staff-room was knocked through into 0.9, the gents cloakroom being retained. The stock room built into 0.9 was provided with a serving hatch and fitted out as a kitchen, with tea urn, refrigerator, gas stove and, on Tony Goodchild's retirement in December, 1988, a microwave oven. The idea that the extension into 0.9 should be used by staff as a quiet, preparation-cum-marking room and the original staffroom for its social amenities never really caught on. Sad to say, and in a sense ironic, as students numbers increased in the mid to late 1990s from 600 towards 900 the number of staff actually declined and 0.9 was recreated, although in a slightly diminished form, the kitchen facilities being retained.

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Extensive improvements to the premises were carried out under the general heading of 'fire precaution works' which were started in January, 1990, and completed 11 months later. Escape routes in the form of external spiral staircases were installed to allow rapid egress from C3 and the landing giving access to rooms 611-617. More difficult for the former grammar school pupil to visualise, parts of the side walls of the School Meals Scullery were demolished to allow those students hastening down the front stairs to continue in a bee-line onto the rear playground. The now-reduced scullery became the new home of reprographics (including the volume copier acquired a year earlier) and room 0.2, thus vacated, was conjoined with the library. The outer office - the one in the entrance hall - was enlarged and properly fitted out and equipped and, in further building work in 1998, linked to room 0.3, the extension accommodating the examinations officer and Management Information Systems officer, amongst others. Much thought had been given to the provision of social facilities for students and various rooms, including 600, 0.3, H1 and the entrance hall, at some stage or another, had been used as a base. Under the fire precaution work, room 600 was knocked through into the dining room and refurnished, thus encouraging students to move away from the entrance hall, leaving it a more welcoming place for visitors. In 1985 the County Catering Service had taken over from the students the management of the entrance hall coffee bar and in the course of the work in 1990 the facility was moved to room 600. The opportunity was also taken to build a lighting and sound booth at the rear of the Arts Centre, the structure incorporating space for the storage of costumes and properties used by the Theatre Studies department. During the summer of 1999, the library area was extensively re-vamped. The old - 1957 - library (see the illustration on page 89) was knocked through into the new - 1966 - library, and the lower library - originally room 0.2 - was refurnished, with modern carrels, as the 'quiet library'. In the same period, services were installed in readiness for the foundation, on the top tennis / netball courts, of Portakabin City - a six class-room block - due 'on stream' in October. An extension to the canteen has been planned.

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Where there are premises care must be taken of them and the first Caretaker was Mr S Hodges followed from July, 1959, till his retirement in November, 1973, by Mr Harry Beadsworth. A short, broad, work-worn looking man, Harry's bark was far worse than his bite. That said, those juniors detected by him taking a short cut from the entrance hall across the immaculately polished stage to the changing rooms beyond must have felt they had walked into an invisible wall when he bellowed at them - and staff were not always immune either. His successor was another Harry, Mr Harry Upton, but the name was all they had in common - they were as different as chalk and cheese. Harry Upton was a shy, quietly spoken man but still, when the occasion demanded, capable of being firm. He was always very fair in his dealings with his team of lady cleaners, many of whom showed remarkable loyalty to the establishment. Irene Gilbert started on the cleaning staff when the grammar school opened and Sylvia Walters joined soon afterwards and both also served behind the counter of the entrance hall coffee bar until it was taken over by the County in 1985. In December, 1989, the Evening Post was invited to record the story in pictures of the retirement of Sylvia and her erstwhile friend Lucy Gladwin who between them had given over 50 years of cleaning service. Edna Browning came on to the cleaning staff in 1971 and also contributed to the running of the coffee bar, and even today she continues to prepare and serve 'elevenses' in the staff-room. Another of the long-serving ancillary staff, Mary Wallace, retired in November, 1992, after 22 years service with the Dinner Ladies. Harry Upton was greatly touched by the presentation made by the staff on his retirement in October, 1987. Dave Eastwood held sway for one year before Alan Ward was appointed senior Caretaker, overseeing, amongst others, his son Matthew who had come as assistant 14 months earlier. In a role reversal in Summer, 1998, Matthew took over the senior position and his father became assistant.

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Timetables

The first sixth-formers, in 1960, operating on a 7-period day, 6-day cycle were timetabled for 30 periods of science, or 27 of arts, together with four periods of PE/Games, one RI, two Use of English with the balance given over to private study. On the revised 7-period day 10-day cycle introduced in 1974 for three years, the sixth had 24 periods of science, or 21 arts, the remainder made up with common studies, games and private study time. This was the last timetable based on 40-minute periods, for in September, 1977, the pattern changed to a 4-period day, with two 90-minute periods either side of morning break and two 60-minute periods in the afternoon. For four years, the Common Studies was blocked in twice per week, on Monday and Friday mornings, and Activities on Wednesday afternoons. The four-block timetable (with blocks designated 1-4 for two years and P-S for a further two years) allowed for both A-level and O-level classes to have five hours per week teaching, the latter courses being of one-year duration only. Contact time averaged 80 % excluding tutor group periods. As student numbers rose towards 600 and demand for teaching rooms increased, it became essential to maximise the use of the buildings, and so in 1981 there was introduced a 5-block, 5 hours per block, timetable with Common Studies, now titled Associate Studies, and Activities spread throughout the week, though team games continued on Wednesday afternoons. A minor change in designation of the blocks occurred in 1985 producing a certain pleasing symmetry in the pattern which was to be maintained unchanged in its essential features for nine years. In the next change, 18 months after Incorporation, A-level classes continued to receive five hours tuition (in blocks P-T), but GCSE-level classes received only four hours (in blocks J-N, and W), and the timetables for the two groups operated concurrently though in a way which still allowed students to select subjects at both levels. An attempt has been made in Appendix U to summarise timetable changes.

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Thanks for the Memories

Jean Gregory (Librarian, 1973-90)

To be involved in the whole life of a school is the normal experience of the Librarian. Drama productions, both formal and informal, occurred regularly at Bilborough. Help was always needed and the search for detail often began in the library. Admitting to Marion England and Cynthia Allsop of the wardrobe team that I could sew a straight seam drew me rapidly into the action of Orpheus in the Underworld being produced by Cyril Jacob. In a flight of fancy he handed me photographs from the Covent Garden production of the lavish and extravagant costumes with the obvious expectation of the same - followed swiftly by the instruction to 'keep it all under £60'!

I remember curling endless paper petals through the night for a hundred roses needed by the bride and bridesmaids of Trial by Jury, and consoling each other that at least they could form permanent stock for future productions. Alas! On the final performance, whether from excitement or sheer relief that it was over, Marion England tossed her bouquet into the applauding audience, whereupon all the bridesmaids in total delight followed suit! So much for our permanent stock of roses! I remember Gilly Archer's production of Salad Days with vivid flash-backs of George Coombs in the fashion salon and Viveen - glorious as Cleopatra's night-club singer. It was all so wonderfully supported by Margaret Watkinson and Simon Fricker at two pianos.

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I remember Tony Goodchild singing with Rachel Sherry in Bastien und Bastienne wearing a revamped black overcoat from lost property and looking splendid, in spite of his earlier twenty minute struggle with his tights - and that was only one leg! I remember working with Ann Tribble of the Home Economics department, efficiency personified, to create costumes for Gilly's production of The Edwardians at the Theatre Royal. Of the thousand separate pieces of costume, we lost only one!

There were so many productions but Gilly Archer's The Mikado still stands out as a wonderful experience. Margaret Watkinson was responsible for the music and Pauline Walters from the Art department used the designs of the sets and costumes as part of an A-level art project. Much research took place through the library and the students visited the V and A museum with Pauline to study Japanese design and textiles. The final designs for all the sets and costumes were chosen from students' work. Material was silk-printed in the art room and together with Celia Towndrow and the Home Economics students we made the costumes and head-dresses. The cast included both students and staff - it was truly a whole college production.

Finally, mention must be made of the hilarious versions of 'folk dances of the world' organised by Martyn Offord and members of the male staff to be performed at the end-of-term concerts. I am certainly not alone in remembering the enjoyment of teams working together with the drama and music departments to produce such wonderful performances over the years. Thanks for the memories!

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Mike Robinson
18th September, 1999

URL: http://bilboroughgrammar.tripod.com/1957-2000/part_v.htm