Why Exactly did WHS Close? - CS et al on Facebook

Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65: There are some interesting things in the GUESTBOOK, for example:
29/06/2013 - Eugene Albert - ealbert@hotmail.co.ukd:

"I attended Woolverstone hall between 1984-89. I have to say the newspaper coverage at the time was tainted and unjustly pernicious.Top teachers, facilities and always aspiring for the best is how I remember WHS. Closed because Conservatives don't want education of that standard to be for people from all walks of life. It was the most unique and inspiring place to go to school and will always be remembered for this."

Mark Dempsey - Hansons 64-72: I thought it closed because Labour politicians thought it was elitist!

David Waterhouse - Corners 58-61: Well, the ILEA was Labour-led from about 1970 until its demise in the 90s, so it's a more probable explanation than Eugene Albert's.

Louis Parperis - Orwell 63-70: Effectively there was a prolonged two-prong attack, but the hard left faction in the ILEA was a toothless dog once its budgetary capability was eroded to meaninglessness by central government in the mid-80s, prefacing the bizarre Tebbit-Heseltine alliance which brought about the abolition of the ILEA in 1988 with a two year rundown period. As with every major issue, you have to follow the money which was controlled ultimately by the Cuntservatives.

It was always the Tories that tried to close it down. Many questions by right wing MPs The final straw came with the abolition of The ILEA which made education the responsibility of each borough. Labour Islington applied to keep WH open, with the support of Southwark and Lambeth, both Labour, they wanted to accept the same intake, but Heseltine and Thatcher insisted that if any borough took over WH they could only provide education for students from their own borough, because that is what their council tax paid for.

I shall never forget Sir Gerald Nabarro in parliament saying that "it costs more to send these sweepings from the streets of the slums of London, than it does to send my son to Harrow"
That was when we became "The poor boy's Eton".

This got worse, and racist when the school became Comprehensive. "The black sweepings from the slums of Brixton" was the phrase used. Not by a Labour politician.

Michael Handley - Hansons 51-56: Having lived in NZ since 1974, I was unaware of these comments regarding WH particularly the one from Gerald Navarro. What a disgusting thing to say about ordinary boys whose circumstances were irrelevant and not only that but untrue. I'm proud to be an old boy of WH and believe that my time there made me better understand the things that were and still are wrong with our society. Go WH!

Barry Clark - Hansons 58-65: It went when the ILEA as abolished by Thatcher: a two-pronged attack as Mark Dempsey correctly says.

Chris Snuggs: Thank you Louis: information I will recycle. But I have one question: Once it became comprehensive, was it in any way economically viable as an 11 to 18 school give its size and the impossibility of enlarging it? By "economically viable" I mean not exaggeratedly more expensive per boy than the average school.

Incidentally, I have always been interested as to why Wymondham College has survived and we not. It is I believe a boarding school though may have day-pupils, too. However, it is today much bigger than we ever were, but I am not sure about 40 years ago. According to Wiki there are 1,262 pupils currently. IHS seems to have 450 pupils at present, though of course it is a different animal and only viable because they bus their kids in.

I don't dispute the nastiness of many Tories (or their idiocy), but that does not mean that ALL their arguments were wrong. Had WHS been financed in a way to enable it to continue, what would have been the cost per pupil compared to the average?

David Waterhouse: Has to have been the evil Tory Scum - they eat babies, you know . . .

Chris Snuggs: "The Spectator", but you have to subscribe:

Perhaps it is time to draw together all the evidence and provide a definitive answer to this. As far as I know - which could well be false:

1) As far as I know ILEA was run at the end of the 80s by Labour.

2) The whole thing was in flux as ILEA was about to be abolished ....

3) The then ruling party had an ideological objection to grammar schools and forced WHS to go comprehensive in I forget when and haven't time just now to look it up.

4) This was a huge change and indeed shock for the school and there seem to have been increased problems of discipline and bullying at the school.

5) The costings are unclear. On the one hand the size of the school and its comprehensive nature meant it was impossible to have an economically viable 6th form. That was probably true even earlier: my 6th form classes in 1964/1965 had no more than 4 or 5 boys in them.

6) On the other hand, many of the boys who left when it closed had to go into care, which is also very expensive

I haven't personally gone into this in depth to reach an objective conclusion; perhaps someone else would like to

Ray Brady - Orwell 79-83: And if you notice, education has been dumbed down - cannot understand why grammar schools were scrapped for the masses, no disrespect meant to the last years of old boys, but the school was labeled as dumping ground, which was a shame. Between the Tories and Labour they ruined what was a fantastic opportunity for lads who couldn't get an Eton type education. Saying that my experience at Woolvo was shite, but the education I got there - and not just academic - has got me through life at difficult times. The governments of the 70's and 80's and up to now are all fuckwits. Shame Mr Richardson’s replacement couldn't keep up with his standards; personally, I blame the downfall on WH down to the board of governors and Richard Woollett; they allowed the dictates of the majority to be the downfall for the minority. What Woolvo produced over the years was a success for the minority which was taken away by the 1% ers.

Chris Snuggs: Some good points, but I don't think Dick Woollett could have done anything about it, and am absolutely certain that he would have tried everything he could think of to save the school. As far as I can see, this would be a precis of the reasons for closure:

1) Labour hated it because they saw it as elitist, so they forced it to go comprehensive.
2) This made it completely non-viable as an 11-18 school and thus ...
3) ..... once the ILEA was abolished gave the Tories the chance to close it on the grounds that it was non-viable at any reasonable price.

Seems to me that both Dinosaur parties share the blame for the closure of WHS - as for much else.

Gerry Warren - Berners 65-72: I think that about sums it up;the school was a victim of its own success. It was disliked by both left and right for their own reasons.

Chris Snuggs: The years just after the war saw more optimism, vision and political decency it seems to me (WHS and Smitherman were symbols of that ...). Possibly natural. In the war we really were "all in this together", but that gradually gave way to political and social division. But that's just my impression!

Robin Sullivan - Hansons 50-55: Must agree with Michael, WS was fantastic, both educationally and sportive.

Michael Handley: School isn't just to prepare for work but to give a perspective on the world and help understand that no matter how different we are outwardly we all have the same needs and desires.

Chris Snuggs: The heavy emphasis on teamwork was a huge part of it, and not just in sport. The point we also grasped (even if half consciously) was that while there might be stars, everyone's part was vital, no matter how humble. One teacher I appreciated more after school than while there was Ernie Green, the art master from 58 to 65. He was very modest and self-effacing, a kind and gentle chap, but the work he did on music and drama sets was astonishing - and kind of taken for granted.

"The Day that WHS Died"