The thoughts and conclusions shown below have occurred to me. I for one would love to hear the opinions of those who actually lived through the last 10 years of WHS. Please add comments to the guestbook to give us a clearer picture.
- Dick Woollett had a lot of guts to take on the challenge in 1979. The school was already a comprehensive of a size which effectively meant it would never have a viable 6th form, which is absolutely essential to a successful school. This along with the political and financial climate meant the school was almost certainly doomed from the moment it went comprehensive, whatever Head, parents, governors or boys did.
- Given the problems facing the school the efforts of all the above-mentioned were heroic, but Mr Woollett was in effect fighting to save a school that few of us who left prior to the change of category would have recognized. I was quite moved to read the accounts of the heroic defence of the school that he and others made.
- One has to admire the stickability not only of Mr Woollett but of most of the staff who stayed at the school after it became comprehensive. For most of the teachers we knew it was a totally different and formidable challenge and the fact that they stayed and tried to make it work showed the great love they had for the school.
- As one who was not there it is not easy to get a handle on exactly what the school was like in the early 80s, but from a grammar school it seemed to go to something not far short of a remand home, with a majority of pupils from broken homes or otherwise seriously disadvantaged.
- The point is well made by Mr Woollett and others that since most of the pupils in the 80s were "difficult" and disadvantaged kids the probable cost of dealing with them back on the streets of London most likely more than made up for the simplistic and headline-grabbing "WHS costs more than Eton" headlines that must have so impacted on the ILEA.
- Finally, if I hear or read one more time that WHS was "the cockney's Eton" I think I'll throw up. I was at WHS for 6 years and never met anyone with a cockney accent. Were they all disguising it?
- Ditto "Poor Man's Eton". First, not all of us were poor. Secondly, we always thought we were better than the spoiled big-girls'-blouse toffs who went to Eton. It was a great pity we never had the opportunity to thrash them at rugby for a start.