1952 - 1967 continued

Extracted from "A Century of Schooling" by Donald Woodhead
- Page Four -

A particularly interesting visitor was Miss Gladys Aylward, the missionary from China, who brought with her Gordon, a little Chinese boy who had been abandoned as a baby and left outside her orphanage. The whole school listened with great interest as Miss Aylward spoke about her life and work.

From 1965, the school held a Speech Day, which, among other things, enabled G.C.E. and U.L.C.I. candidates to receive their certificates. At the first one, in January, Forms 5E and 4E, Prizewinners and Certificate winners, prefects, parents of 5E and prizewinners, choir and recording groups made up the audience. The hall, filled with seats, could hold no more. The Chairman was Mr. E. Power (District Inspector). Mrs Power presented the certificates and prizes and Alderman Leslie Lever was Guest Speaker. The Head Girl, Ann Booth, who proposed a vote of thanks, received the Head Teacher's prize. Other prizes were the Ovenden Prize for Artistic Merit, subject prizes and prizes for endeavour for Form 5E; Form and progress prizes for each form in the school, and attendance prizes. Following this successful event, late autumn became the preferred time, and in November 1964, the Guest Speaker was Miss M. Allen, Principal of Elizabeth Gaskell Teacher Training College,with Mr. E. Power again in the chair. In December 1965, Mr. E. Bowyer, the first male member of staff took the chair, with Mrs E.G. Moore, former member of staff as Guest. In November 1966, the last Speech Day, Mr. E. Power again took the chair, and Miss A. Wright, M.E.C. Inspectorate and Domestic Subjects Adviser, a frequent visitor to the school, was Guest Speaker and presented the prizes.

On leaving school, the majority of girls went into shops, offices or local works, although some, especially from the 5th year, went into Further Education. An effective biased commercial course for a special group was begun in 1963 and th is broadened the range of opportunity. The Youth Employment Bureau officers, Mrs McLeod to 1955, Miss S. Duerden to 1958; Miss Higgins to 1963; then Miss Newell and Mrs Lemoine and finally Mrs Robinson all gave invaluable guidance and assistance. A Joint careers convention with Nicholls Boys School was held in Nicholls Hall in March 1965, and in April 1967,15 girls from the 4th year took part in a works experience exercise. The M.E.C. Leavers' Service at the Cathedral was always well supported by the school.

Medical and Dental inspections took place regularly, and one healthy and educative feature in the early days of the school was the fortnightly visit on Thursday mornings of a mobile shower unit, with 8 cubicles, which was set up in the yard. The influenza epidemic of September 1957 hit the school badly. On the 16th, the attendance was 63%, dropping to 54% on the 19th and 42% on the 20th. By September 27th,202 girls were still absent, and the return to average attendance was slow.

Miss McKaig left in August 1965, to take up an appointment as a member of H.M. Inspectorate, and Miss K. Irlam became temporary Headmistress until re-organisation, with Mrs B. Goddard as Deputy. One interesting appointment in September 1965 was that of Miss A. McGinty, to teach children whose first language was not English. By this time, many girls were from the West Indies or Pakistan and needed special help, and the Education Committee was active in providing the necessary support to certain schools on either a full time or part-time basis. These "immigrant" groups were given individual help initially and then gradually integrated into normal teaching units as soon as possible.

As the discussions on Secondary School re-organisation continued from the early 1960's, the future of the school remained in doubt. Indeed, closure of the school was contemplated in 1961, and the legal notice of closure was displayed on the notice board from 23rd February to 23rd April. As discussions proceeded, plans were changed, but, in pursuance of the final decision to re-organise from September 1967, the school closed as a separate unit on 20th July, 1967, forming with two other schools Nicholls Ardwick High School from 1st September 1967, with staff either joining the new school or taking other posts. Thus after 15 years comparatively short period an interesting experiment in Secondary schooling in a changing urban central area ended. The school had done much to commend itself, not least of all by providing incentive and stimulus through creative work and involvement in educative outside activities, and much credit should be given to the devoted and untiring work of the Head Teacher and members of staff.