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Replies 21-34
< replies 1-20

21st REPLY

NAME: Bob Long

DATE: 17 February 2010

CONNECTION WITH QE: Potential pupil

I am keeping my real name a secret till further info, however, I have some queries. I am a potential pupil of QE's. But from what I'm reading here, I'm getting more and more anxious.  Is it really that bad? I want a serious, non-biased answer.

22nd REPLY

NAME: Vic Coughtrey  Vic CoughtreyThen & Now

DATE: 17 February 2010


Well, Bob, the majority of comments on this site are from people who were at the school a very long time ago, and they are talking about what it was like then, not now.  It's true that a few current pupils have been critical (for reasons very different from the ones that fueled the comments of us old-timers), but there have been messages from current pupils (in other threads) praising and defending the school.  One thing that is beyond dispute is that the academic record has been very good in recent times (actually, it was always pretty good).  I hope that more current pupils - and not just the disgruntled ones - will come forward with comments, but in the meantime, have a look at this OFSTED report for 2008.  

23rd REPLY

NAME: Stephen Giles  Stephen Giles

DATE: 21 February 2010

CONNECTION WITH QE: Inmate 1957-64

I have no recollection of any visit from HM School Inspectors from 1957-64.  One of my clients is an Ofsted Inspector.  Next time I see her I'll describe a typical Sam Cocks geography lesson!

24th REPLY

NNAME: Vic Coughtrey  Vic CoughtreyThen & Now

DATE: 21 February 2010


Yes, and Frosty Winter, etc.  And yet, as I remember, what the boys (NOT including me) achieved despite the teaching standards of some of the staff was always quite impressive.  We shouldn't confuse academic achievement with standards of teaching!  Is the family background of the pupils (pretty much middle class in those days) an important factor when the quality of the teaching is poor?

25th REPLY

NAME: Nigel Wood  Nigel Wood

DATE: 25 February 2010


Having served my time in the trade, I've often tried to assess the quality of teaching I experienced as a boy at QE.  [No relevance to the quality now!].  On balance QE comes out pretty well.  For a start, I can't think of any teacher whose subject-knowledge was suspect.  And, setting aside the two men already cited on this thread, most teachers made an effort.  [I'd rate Messrs Dilly, Alford and Townsend (in his maths role) especially highly].  There were, though, some sloppy practices, such as marking or writing reports during lessons or leaving classes for many minutes, while we 'worked' on our own.  And we weren't always pushed hard enough: even Gabby Hayes, for whom I still have enormous respect, can't have marked more than six pieces of homework over my two years of A-level Physics.

All in all, despite some shortcomings, QE set me up very well indeed - at least for a life in the foothills of academia.  Maybe I was lucky with the teachers I was assigned.  I was certainly lucky to come from a home where education was prized (father had had to leave school young but studied at night-school), and I was always willing chalk-fodder - when not acting the fool.

26rd REPLY

NAME: Stephen Giles  Stephen Giles

DATE: 12 March 2010

CONNECTION WITH QE: Inmate 1957-64

I'm inclined to agree with you Nigel, I think that knowledge of their subjects was never a problem, and of course some made their subject considerably more interesting than others.  By the time that I had Mr Dilly for Geography, any glimmer of a spark that I may have had for the subject was completely removed by Sam Cocks' methods.  I always had the greatest of respect for Messrs Townsend and Wakelyn, who possessed remarkable powers of teaching.

27th REPLY

NAME: 'Rob'

DATE: 20 March 2010

CONNECTION WITH QE: Current pupil (since 2007)

I'm staying 'hidden' for now as I have no idea who the two pupils above [replies 13 & 19] could be.  I also have no idea as to why you find this school literally 'rubbish'.  I for one think that this school meets all requirements for being a perfectly good school apart from a few idiots who somehow make it in.  In my opinion, racism does not actually occur that often (or am i just different?) and bullying isn't really that problematic.  The year heads do actually sort out problems even if its simply two people having a fight over a football.  Pupils have been expelled for some serious racism if you haven't noticed.  I seriously do not know why you find QE so awful, really i am confused...


NAME: Bob Ross

DATE: 24 May 2010


Anyone familiar with the superb Lindsay Anderson film If.... will easily guess the manner in which I would like to have concluded my own seven year ordeal in that 'miserable hole'.

29th REPLY


DATE: 21 August 2010

CONNECTION WITH QE: Pupil 1999-2006

As far as the criticisms from more recent pupils are concerned, I really do think accusations of heavy-handedness are misplaced.  Whilst QE may still be a lot stricter than other schools in the state sector, it really is objectively rather tame.  I've worked in other Barnet schools and have had the misfortune of seeing months of teaching time lost to bad behaviour and failure to complete work.  The fear of winding up in Houston's office for incomplete homework, mucking about, whatever, kept the vast majority of boys on the straight and narrow, and that can only be a good thing.  Do not think of it as a coincidence that QE enforces proper discipline and the majority end up in top universities!

30th REPLY

NAME: Adam Lines  Adam LinesThen & Now

DATE: 02 September 2010


Hmmm... A worrying response from (presumably) a teacher at QE.  I have always believed that it is character that gets you out of bed, commitment that moves you into action, and self discipline that enables you to achieve one's aims in life.  For myself I always found the threat of third party or imposed discipline counter productive.

31st REPLY

NAME: Simon Andrews nee Swies

DATE: 15 September 2010

CONNECTION WITH QE: Inmate 1965-72

For my entire life so far I have never had any doubt that the worst years of my life were at this institution.  Not only that but those years served no use in my future life with the exception of a good vocabulary in French thanks to Mrs Vaughan-Thomas, a dedicated teacher, one of the few at that school.  (I later lived in France for two years).  My feeling is that the school had access to the brightest pupils in the catchment area and so it is hardly suprising that it would have the best results of any school in the area.  Most of the teachers took great pleasure in making the lives of the pupils miserable.  Unlike most of the former pupils I never had the inclination to go on to university and the school was not interested in anyone taking any alternative route.  If I have to single out the worst examples of useless teachers, high up there would be Mr Morris, the history teacher who just recited his notes for up to 90 minutes and would not tolerate any interruptions, and Mr Williams - an unashamed sadist who once sent me half way up a mountain to retrieve an orange peel I had buried in the ground.  (Well I suppose he was the teacher of geography and not biology, it could have just been ignorance in his case, but I doubt it.

32nd REPLY

NAME: Stephen Giles  Stephen Giles

DATE: 16 September 2010

CONNECTION WITH QE: Inmate 1957-64

Morris must have been on the same course as Sam C0cks!!

33rd REPLY

NAME: James (Jas) Cowen  James & Ayleen Cowen James Cowen galleryThen & Now

DATE: 12 August 2014


References have ben made in this thread to QEs Combined Cadet Force [replies 2,3,7,13]. I am indebted to the latest Founder's Day Fete brochure for keeping me up to speed with the current state of the CCF in the article 'On Exercise with the CCF.' Apparently it was re-established in 1992 and there is a CCF Camp, Parades and Personal Development opportunities. A small number of QE cadets have apparently also gone on to join the regular or reserve British Army. The MOD funds much of the activity and equipment. Teachers associated with the CCF are also mentioned (Messrs Arnon, Howe, Cavill, Scally and Fisher) as well as Mr Anderson, the regular caretaker.

34th REPLY

NAME: Nick Dean  Nick Dean Nick Dean gallery

DATE: 15 August 2014


The latest post from Jas drew me to the much earlier one from Simon Swies [reply 31]. I realise these things tend to be subjective, but I have to disagree that Morris and Williams were useless; in fact, I only did geography at A-level after establishing that the the latter, rather than C0cks, would be i/c (not saying much I suppose!) However, it may well be that a majority of masters are remembered more for their eccentricities or for negative things than for the quality or otherwise of their teaching. On reflection, I can think of perhaps five (Colin Carter, Finnett, Morris, Alford and, oddly enough, Timson) whom I would say were both effective teachers and, in my case, had some appreciable influence. I came to regard two others (Ken Carter and G L Smith) as wise counsellors and Martin Gould would also be on the list for his teaching, but unfortunately took all the subjects for which I had least affinity. Even so, his introduction to trigonometry (signs of happiness come after having tankards of ale) remains with me, as (mentioned elsewhere) does the music of Debussy and Ravel via David Patrick's musical appreciation set in the L6.

The locum Lewis [thread 93/10], who went on to be headmaster of Eton, was probably, in the round, the most talented teacher I came across, but his tenure was short to be much of an influence. Probably only fair to add that, at the other end of the spectrum, I can think of only one master about whom, against the tide of opinion, I formed a truly, madly, deep and no doubt disproportionate aversion. However, as happily he's still with us, I doubt I should heighten speculation further ...

See 8/1
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