Streaming - Chris Snuggs et al

Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65: Regarding A and B streams, does anyone remember HOW one was allocated? I do not remember doing a placement test on arrival, so either it was arbitrary in year 1 or they went on our school records, but I have no idea which.

One COULD be sure if one remembered whether all those in one's class (e.g. 1B with duffers like me) were of homogenous intellect and whether, for example, Terry Stancliffe was in 1A, but I don't - and there is not a single record of a classlist anywhere in the archives.

David Waight - Corners 65-72: Don’t think we were streamed in year one; seem to remember x and y and then assessment made for year two.

Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65: Thanks. Were you really x & y? I wonder what they had against A and B!!
Nobody thought of ALPHA and BETA, though that might have given some a complex! LIONS and TIGERS would have been psychologically sound, I guess!

I just don't remember, any more than I remember how one was chosen (or chose) between sailing and cricket, or between woodwork and metalwork. I do think it was a pity that if you chose either woodwork or cricket you NEVER got any experience of the other one .... but timetabling is complicated.

Brian Cooper - Corners 57-62: As part of the 1957 intake only streamed in second year. First year arbitrary.

Jon Kemp - Corners 73-80: In our year we were assessed during the first week but it was decided that there wasn't enough difference in the results to warrant streaming, so it was done alphabetically. Anisere to Kastley In X, Lee to Zeffort in Y, which left me on my own. I was then asked if I wanted to be in X or Y, I chose X. I often wonder how different my life might have been if I had chosen Y.

Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65: Thanks for adding to the sum of human WHS knowledge! I wonder if it was the same policy in 1958, but at the time we always felt we were inferior. Perhaps that was just an assumption - which is exactly whey using letters was not a great idea. I already felt inferior, so being in 1B made it worse. Later I was promoted to 3A, but obviously they were bound to make some mistakes now and then.

Your Y class had a psychological advantage as they were the ys - whereas anything x is always a bit dodgy ...... I still wonder why x and y, and not any other letters - z for example!

Jon Kemp - Corners 73-80: Not sure, I guess X and Y was less harsh than A and a B. When we arrived we wen to rooms A and B by the assembly hall and had to write an essay. It was was the "that's" and "what's" they used to 'judge' us on. That said, given that we had all passed the 11 plus, I'm not sure why they needed further grading.

Louis Parperis Orwell 63-70: On arrival my seven peers in Orwell found themselves placed in 1X while I was on my own in 1Y for the first term. Exams were held in a number of subjects in late November/early December and the composition of both sets was changed when we returned for our second term, when I went into 1X and Galpin and Mattey went into 1Y. Theoretically, the composition of the sets was reviewed each year after the Summer exams but I don’t recall any changes after the first year, though there was a streaming of another sort in the sets for Maths, where the group of the more able mathematicians was taught by Goetzee and the more reluctant participants such as myself were taught by Barker (there may even have been a third set). The fifth year also saw English split into two or three groups, with a smaller number taking the A/O paper in Further English while the remainder sat the O level in English Literature, which seemed to be more dedicated to learning speeches and poems by rote than the more expansive nature of what the A/O group did.

Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65: As Spock would have said: "Fascinating, Captain." As previously mentioned, timetabling is complicated. I was for better or worse in 5A, and most of the class skipped 'O' Level and were prepared by Mr Girling for something else - can't remember what, but obviously something between 'O' and 'A' level. So four of us in 5A sat at the back of the class and spent a year grinding through past 'O' Level papers. I can't remember who the other three were, but what is surreal about that is that in the end I got a '2' at 'O' Level, which meant I was officially as good at maths as I was at French ...

But joking apart, I applaud Girling's solution to the problem of a boy being pretty good in most subjects (and so in the A stream) but correspondingly useless at maths. He saved four of us from struggling miserably for a year trying to understand calculus .....

Barry Clark - Hansons 58-65: 'O' level in "Additional Maths" I think. Chris.

Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65: The bottom-line is, was streaming really necessary in a grammar school? Clearly, the school thought so at the time. Obviously, some boys were more able than others, but we had already been streamed from the general population by being grammar-school selected. I have a feeling that the benefits were minimal in our situation with only two classes in each year.

The other thing that has always puzzled me why are some people "good at maths" and others hopeless, even when they are manifestly of similar general intelligence. There's probably some literature on this somewhere on the internet; I must try to read up on it one day.

Jon Kemp - Corners 73-80: We took English O Level in the fourth form and the results of that decided which class we went into for English Lit; one lot did O Level, the others did the CSE.

Dennis Alexander - Orwell 57-64: In 1957 we went straight into 1A and 1B so there must have been preselection. I think movement between them was minimal if at all.

Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65: We had a fairly big movement at the end of the second year - at least, I think I wasn't the only one moved up, but to be honest I don't remember. I DO remember feeling quite chuffed to be in the same class as Terry Stancliffe, my academic idol!

Roger Friend - Johnstons 58-63: I achieved a level of stability. I was assigned 1b and stayed in b stream throughout. Considering the movement between the A and B streams during my tenure, as a middle of the table student, I probably would have been just as stable in the a stream. However, I have no legitimate regrets. If not academic achievements, I have much to thank WH for.

Andrew Bridges - Orwell 81-86: That was interesting. I remember seeing books in the library that had forms/classes with an x and y suffix on the checkout slip. Now I know why.
Joining in 1981, I don’t recall any assessment, but there was streaming into A, B or C sets. I guess this was done based on the tests we took just before we left primary school?

Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65: Lost in the mists of time I guess. Perhaps it was done on 11+ results? Did we even GET a grade? I have long lost my 11+ results slip, but maybe we didn't have one. I don't remember, but I assume my parents must have had formal notification, but it was surprising that the school told us kids before the parents.

I will never forget telling my Dad I had passed. We were told verbally in school one day and Dad picked me up as usual from Brunswick Park in Camberwell to go home to West Norwood. We had just entered the high street there when I said (no idea why I waited so long). "Oh, by the way, I passed the 11+".

He was so astonished that he turned round to look at me, the car swerved all over the road and we nearly crashed into a bus. So much for his confidence in me ......

Glynne Thomas - Halls 57-62: Preselection and subsequent on going assessment?

Charles Compton - Hansons 68-73: from my time ('68-'73) it was an aggregate from first-year exams, top half to 2A the other half to 2B the only main difference was in French 2A got Stretch Poole and 2B got Shakeshaft; 2B did German and 2A did Latin.

Harvey Angel - Hansons 64-71: We started with 1X and 1Y. After the first year it became 2A and 2B, up to the 5th year. In the 6th form we were split into Arts & Sciences. There was no facility for mixing them, so you couldn't, for example, do Maths and English. On the Sciences side, I think we were split into an A-stream and a B-stream. Whereas up to O-levels I'd been in the A-stream, in the 6th form I was (quite rightly) in the B-stream, because some of the guys in the A-stream were a lot better than me by then. I remember being taught Pure Maths by Bob Skailes in 6/1 and under his tuition doing very well (72% in end of year exam), but went downhill fast in 6/2 when a different master was assigned to our class. He went by the initials J.F.C.F. I haven't a clue who he was but clearly his teaching ability must have been a lot lower than Bob Skailes

Anybody got any idea who he was? Despite the doom and gloom from J.F.C.F., I still managed to pass the A-level, despite answering a Statistics question, (when that wasn't even on the syllabus), because I didn't know enough to answer the Pure Maths stuff.

Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65: Really good insight, Harvissimo ..... Bob Skailes is a member here, so if he sees this, well done, Sir ......

Harvey Angel - Hansons 64-71: Yes, well done indeed sir! He also taught me to swim when I first arrived at WH. Bloody freezing in that outdoor pool! By the second form Stan Goetzee was taking us to RHS Holbrook School's indoor swimming pool most weeks, and by then, one afternoon I was able to complete a mile. It's amazing what you can do when you have the enthusiasm. Remember, whereas most kids learn to swim when they're 5 or 6 years old, I'd only just learnt, so it was something new for me. I probably did more exercise in that pool than I did throughout the rugby season (running around the pitch after being sent off for non-participating)!
Mark Frost - Hansons 70-77: J.F.C.F. is James Fowler. I had him for maths for a year I think in about 1971.

Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65: The mixing of 'A' levels is interesting. As far as I recall, there were boys from 58-to 65 wno could do, for example, geography and a couple of sciences, but I think from a timetabling viewpoint it must have been a nightmare given the relatively small 6th form. Actually, the low numbers were I assume a deciding factor in the closure. You can't justify 6th form classes with just four or 5 pupils and there was no room on the site to increase the roll. There is a reason why IHS bus them in!