KBGS Old Boys' Forum

A place to discuss Keighley Boys' Grammar School. 

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KBGS Old Boys' Forum
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A KBGS legend (see dead thread of that name) was that the Head (Hind) used to start dictating his Henry VIII spiel half way down the corridor before arriving at the classroom and that students were expected to be taking notes. I had Hind one year for history and cannot confirm this was any more than a legend, but certainly he had the story off pat and older students assured us it was word for word the same every year. The Head was very relaxed in these lessons and even joked with us – the very opposite of his more public persona outside class, and my image of him wiping the board with his cloak and leaving the room looking somewhat dishevelled and covered in chalk dust, endeared him to me a little. But I do not recall any student participation or discussion. The class was one of pure narrative transmission from his mouth or the board to our history books. I am not sure how uniform this method of teaching history was in the School but this pure narrative style contrasts sharply with the impression I get from my children of the way it has been taught in schools in more recent years, with greater emphasis on the sources of history and the social and political background of events. If the study of history should aim at equipping us with the tools to distinguish facts from fiction, myth and ideology, surely it should start at school. But if Michael Gove has his way we will turn the clock back to the bad old days as I remember them. But is THIS story myth or history? Is there any truth in the legend about Hind’s teaching methods and if so how typical of history teaching in the whole School was it?

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1954-59

Current location (optional) Denholme garethwhittaker99@hotmail.com

Re: History

My recollection of Vince teaching History in the early '60s was exactly as described - he came in told us how it was and we wrote it down. He wrote 20 "facts" on the board for each topic we studied - one for each mark if it came up in the exam. It was so kind of all those kings and generals and revolutionaries and social reformers to make sure that they always did 20 important things - no more, no less.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1958-65

Current location (optional) Leeds

Re: History

Your account of the legend, Gareth, is hereby verified.

Nick would even start a test, with "Close all books, hurry up", 20 yards from the classroom, walking along a deserted corridor (because he was always 5-10 minutes late) and delivering "Question 3" as he entered the room.

He would joke with the class - but they were the jokes he had used with previous years. For example, "the battle of Old Nick's Cross - hem! hem!" for Neville's Cross. Hilarious!

That you found him relaxed may be down to the fact that my calculation suggests that he taught you in his retirement year at KBGS?

The method of teaching history used throughout the school, save some of the work for A Level, was purely didactic. Here's the facts; get 'em down and remember them.

Subsequent reform of these methods in history teaching came initially through:
the reforming curricula of the School's Council (representative of a cross-section of society but dissolved by Keith Joseph);
the CSE (a development of the Keighley !! Certificate introduced to validate competences of Keighley Sec Mod leavers) which, through its methods of assessment, precipitated the type of study of sources and evidence to which you refer;
the GCSE (initiated by Keith Joseph)produced national criteria for all history syllabuses requiring stringent assessment of truly historical objectives and skills;
the Secondary Examination Assessment Council (SEAC) which monitored - even policed - the syllabuses of the different boards and their assessment to ensure parity across the country. However, it was decided by Thatcher that these matters should not be entrusted to teachers and they were replaced on SEAC by her political appointees viz Letwynd et al.

Since then any purist attempts to validate history in secondary schools as a useful weapon in the skills armament of the young school leaver have been defeated by inappropriate systems of assessment, championed by the CRE (Campaign for Real (?)Education)which have discouraged the development and assessment of the valid historical skills and techniques which Gareth describes.

The end began with Baker and his National Curriculum - a licence thereafter for successive ministers to hack up education to their liking - possibly because these skills are dangerous in the wrong hands.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1952-60

Current location (optional) Lincoln

Re: History

I confirm Terry's account of Nick's entry to the classroom.
As to being relaxed, he would play the part of Elizabeth toying with the affections of Philip of Spain, playing the part by placing a finger under his chin and fluttering his eyelashes.
He had much on his mind often. Well there was a war on, you know. He would pause halfway through a sentence and gaze down into Alice Street and we would sit silent as mice until he turned and continued the sentence without loss of sense. These thoughtful moments lasted 5-10 minutes sometimes, or seemed to.
I liked the old bugger.He taught the Tudors and I have always enjoyed that part of History.