Grangefield Grammar School Rules

t14831Comments have been made in several previous posts regarding the dress code and discipline in Stockton schools in the ‘Fifties’. These ‘School Rules’, given to me when I first attended Grangefield Grammar School c1956, may shed some light on this.

Image and details courtesy of Malcolm Dunn.

13 thoughts on “Grangefield Grammar School Rules

  1. Derek and Frank.

    I was in the same class as Derek Graham. I agree with him that although there was much more physical punishment and detentions than would be acceptable today, it was obviously looser than in Frank Mee’s time. I thought that by and large the rules were sensible, although as I have remarked there were a couple of teachers who resorted to the slipper with enthusiasm.

    If I recollect it was “No snowballing outside of Ropner Park!”, through which most of us would go after school dinners come summer or winter.

    I know the snowballing rule for a fact, since on one occasion, I came out of the gates of Ropner Park, with a snowball in my hand. It just so happened that Mr Rosser, the headmaster, in his black trilby, tartan scarf, and khaki rain coat, was on his way back to school. Even now , I cannot understand why I just didn’t drop the snowball , but instead threw it in a half hearted fashion.

    So the orders were “See me Starr. At my study”.

    I have to say that Mr Rosser was a great man. Determined to get the best out of his lads. All the time working with real difficulties in getting decent staff for a school that taught up to “O” level but did not have the kudos of a Sixth Form (or taught Latin!). He was one of the unsung heroes of the British Education Systems in the post WWII era.


    • Fred “O” levels? we had T1 and 2 S1and 2 which led with night school to City and Guilds then on to National certificates about the highest we could go, College was not for us and I never knew anyone who went to college. All further education was down to individuals people like me took full advantage of the possibilities arising both the Army and ICI were very good at providing that.
      We had three Headmasters at R.H.S, Mr Webster a wonderful kindly man retired around nine months after I started, then Mr Rawlings for a couple of years he seemed to understand boys could be free spirited and guided them into sports that built character and gave discipline at the same time, he handed out punishment of course. Then came Mr Rosser, we never seem to hit it off it could well have been his first appointment and he was on a learning curve, I do not know for sure, more like a mutual dislike, in such cases you just get on with things and not let it get to you.
      My first year we did Latin and French then I moved to the newly formed “T” classes and we only did French with Maths where there had been Latin, it was heavy in Maths and in our class of 18 pupils you would have thought we were hand picked we all did well at all the disciplines, English being another good subject for me..
      No Teacher punished you, we were sent to the headmaster though Mr Plummer was handy with the board rubber and Sandy Dobing good at nipping your ear as if by accident.
      My Daughter Margaret was in at the breakup of R.H.S going on to sixth form then local college also doing well for herself she said it was a good school even in her time having heard me singing its praises.
      Rules to me were for the timid, if you broke them and got caught then you deserved to be punished, neither school nor the army tamed me, I made it to WO1 probably because they never caught me at it enough for a Courts Martial.
      We must have had widely differing experiences at RH though one certainty was they produced some brilliant people at the end of it all.


  2. Colin Thompson’s comments about DG Bell reminded me of the time someone wrote on his blackboard ‘Ding dong est bete’ and he went spare; but he never did find out who the miscreant was. Happy days


    • Hi Garth, I remember when Bell was our form master, when he had a desk inspection we had our desk lids up, with our hands gripping the front edge of the desk. If your desk didn’t pass muster he slammed the lid down on your hands.
      I thought he was a nasty piece of work (me and most of our form)


  3. Every School had its rules, the Richard Hind to me were draconian or so I thought as I broke them and suffered for it, walking along Stockton High Street with my tie in my pocket, six of the best, taking my cap off on the school bus another six, eating an apple in the street in uniform, it was endless. We had to learn them by heart, Head Master, Why are you here, Sir I took my cap off on the school bus against the rules, bend over. You never lied or made an excuse you were breaking the rules take it like a man.
    We also had to learn the school poem by heart which was also the school Motto written large in the entrance hall Play up play up and play the game, though I think more than one school had the same motto from the poem by Sir Henry Newbolt, “Vitai Lampada” “The Torch of Life” we also had to learn that by heart did the same rules apply when Fred was at the RHS.

    Sir Henry Newbolt.

    “Vitai Lampada”
    “the Torch of Life”

    There’s a breathless hush in the close tonight
    ten to make and the match to win
    A bumping pitch and a blinding light
    An hour to play and the last man in.
    And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat
    Or the selfish hope of a seasons fame
    But his captains hand on his shoulder smote
    “Play up play up and play the game.

    I remember that verse though the second about the Desert running red escapes me although in later years I was in those lands where the battle of Abu Klea was fought, in fact where many battles of that time were fought.
    The school rules gave us young ne’er do wells discipline we needed for the hard times our betters knew we would face and let’s face it they knew what they did it mainly worked.
    Lots of those R.H. boys did well in life.


    • I attended RHS from ’54 to ’59. I don’t remember having a poem to learn but I remember rules such as no snowballing (was caned for that) and no talking in classroom unless spoken to by the teacher, although not all teachers enforced it. The one thing we did have to learn was the school hymn, “All the past we leave behind” I believe was the first line. As for Grangefield I only attended the 6th Form so there was much more informality, as the rules state. I still remember trying to learn the Latin school song “Vivat Schola Stocktonensis” (spelling may be wrong!) Mind all the rules didn’t stop the usual tricks that boys got up to in school.


      • Derek, I was long before your time leaving R.H.S just before Christmas 1945, old style Teachers old style rules. Do not remember the Hymn you mention though we had Assembly every morning with Prayers and a Hymn different one each day but being a bit of a poetry buff I believe the Hymn you mention was called the Pioneer song by an American poet, it mentioned guns knives and axes so I may be wrong.
        Assembly was the way the Headmaster announced the news and being wartime that was often included, you were never late for that, when the school bus stopped and unloaded us all in the Town because of a bomb in Yarm Lane we literally ran the one minute mile to get in right on time otherwise it was a good showing up in front of those assembled plus the cane.
        We could not talk in the corridor as we changed class rooms never mind in class and never run in the corridor, snowballing was allowed, a chance to get our own back on the Teacher doing play ground duty.
        Our Bane was Prefects they seemed to be everywhere including school buses and walking the Town, you could not relax. Came the day I reached the dizzy heights and one day a fortnight controlled the bell for class changes as well as being the Headmasters runner. Our daily duties were patrolling corridors plus the outside area’s we were told we were never off duty, my way was not reporting them but a clip on the ear, allowed in those days and accepted as better than six of the best.
        We piled off the school buses back home on Norton Green tore off our uniforms, every school was represented and then relaxed into our chores then games, free as the birds until next morning when once more the burden of the rules descended on our heads.
        I suppose as the young Teachers came back from the war or through the Teacher training it all changed, not much as education never ended for me, Night School then the Army followed by ICI, they sent me back to college and I am still learning, will it never end I ask, right bend over, “oh no” not again?


  4. I recall that the requirement to hand write out a copy of the school rules was a common punishment dished out by prefects to us miscreants , although for less serious demeanours a mere half copy would suffice . There was, apparently, a cottage industry in selling already written copies to those that both had the cash and couldn’t be pestered to spend the time .

    I can still hear a certain chemistry teacher shrieking ” keep to the right ! ” as we moved en mass around the corridors.

    Surely the person that thought up the amazing imaginary boundary line between the boys school and girls school must have previously had a successful career in carving up our African colonial territories ?


  5. I attended this notorious establishment from 1960-65 and believe that every pupil was meant to learn the School Rules “off by heart”. (My copy was similar.) Some swots even did – they must surely have gone on to Oxford, Cambridge or King’s. The Head Boy (one Charlie Gillett) made me stand up in Assembly on my first-ever morning (for talking – the first breach of very many!) Arriving tie-less meant an awful day. In early years, running along corridors was good if you could get away with it. (Tip: run VERY fast.) R.E.B. would sternly rebuke for talking between those forbidding doors either side of his office and the ‘Front Door’. One occasion spent In Detention was certainly enough for me (although I’m willing to bet those lippy ‘wasters’ are millionaires by now?). Some of us used to trespass on and cross the railway almost with impunity, e.g. to put cutlery and rubbers on the rails and alternatively toss clods of earth onto loco boilers from the bridge. However, once when taking a shortcut during a cross-country run I was nearly mown down by a coal train. Sooo very close… and we laughed. I may even possess a French book never returned to D.G. Bell. Ha-hah!


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