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Replies 21-40
< replies 1-20 replies 41-60 >

21st REPLY

NAME: Anon

DATE: 29 November 2011

CONNECTION WITH QE: Concerned reader

Dear ex-parent [see reply 20], your comment of 24th November was extremely saddening to say the least.  I am also someone who agrees with what you have said and perhaps we can discuss and share information on cases.  Please feel free to contact me.

22nd REPLY

NAME: Stuart McLean

DATE: 05 December 2011

CONNECTION WITH QE: Current sixth-former

Having experienced life at QE for over 5 years now i could not disagree more with what has been said in this thread.  Staff do not bully pupils, every teacher i have been taught by has been friendly and approachable.  Yes some of the school's practices may be questionable, but surely if a parent isn't happy they would remove their child from the school.  Yet this doesn't happen as parents that send their sons to QE, are most interested in the results they come out with after 7 years, which are undoubtedly excellent.  I have not been manipulated by the school as some of you may think, the school has in fact taught me to think for myself and has been the best preparation for further education I could have had (bar paying £10000+ per term, which my parents do not have).

23rd REPLY

NAME: Anon

DATE: 06 December 2011

CONNECTION WITH QE: Concerned Reader and OE

Stuart, well done!  You're one of the lucky ones...  Bullying is commonplace in that school.  Yes, many parents don't take their children out.  Why?  Because the school bullies parents into keeping their child at the school, saying they won't get into uni anywhere decent unless they stay at QE as it would look bad.  You're a current sixth former, a prefect I presume?  Congrats on your role but take a minute to think abut your fellow pupils who are treated like dirt by some members of staff !!!

24th REPLY

NAME: Louis Newman

DATE: 09 July 2012


All you get is people moaning and whining about the school.  Man up!  You decide to come here, you conform with the expectations and the rules.  If you don't like it, not their problem.  If QE teach this way and you decide to enter the school, you have to accept it.  There is minute levels of bullying, teachers are on the same wavelength as boys, both want to be successful and if you are driven enough and willing to work you will get there.

25th REPLY

NAME: Stephen Giles  Stephen Giles

DATE: 16 July 2012

CONNECTION WITH QE: 1957-64 gang

There "ARE" minute levels of bullying, boy!!

26th REPLY

NAME: Vic Coughtrey  Vic CoughtreyThen & Now

DATE: 16 July 2012


Or perhaps better, "there are minutely low levels ..." , since I don't think a level can have size, unless it be a coal working, builder's tool or tract of flat land.

27th REPLY

NAME: Nigel Wood  Nigel Wood

DATE: 17 July 2012


A comment worthy of R M Cocks himself, making admirable use of the subjunctive...

28th REPLY

NAME: Anonymous

DATE: 08 August 2012

CONNECTION WITH QE: Current prefect

To Newman [reply 24]: you are being bribed by the school.  I have noticed that this school is one of the worst I've been to.  To the student who made the false statement a few posts up [presumably reply 22], QE is actually a congregation of arrogant and threatening people and even if you do work hard, various teachers feel the need to make you suffer.  One person in particular is only there to get paid, and is wasting the futures of potentially the brightest in the country.  I would think twice before praising the school.

29th REPLY

NAME: Vic Coughtrey  Vic CoughtreyThen & Now

DATE: 08 August 2012


But you're a prefect !  In my day, prefects were part of the establishment.  Do you mean to say you don't enjoy terrifying the lesser mortals and handing out punishments?  Or perhaps you don't have the power to punish these days ?

30th REPLY

NAME: Stephen Giles  Stephen Giles

DATE: 10 August 2012

CONNECTION WITH QE: Prefect basher 1957-64

Anonymous [reply 28] said "QE is actually a congregation of arrogant and threatening people".  Then it is an excellent preparation for the real world - sound training for telling peabrains at HM Revenue & Customs to get lost, and in my case telling the current Argentine ambassador that she talks too much - really !

31st REPLY

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

DATE: 15 August 2012


I am sure that the school generally is better than it was in my day and most of us battled through even then.  Much of this is possibly due to being a much larger school now with more sports and other activities.  In the case of Steven Giles and I am sure others in form 1B of 1957 they had some fun in school as well.  Most of my fun was outside lessons such as trainspotting and this included travelling from New Barnet to New Southgate with a fellow class pupil and watching the streak (A4 class engine) coming by on the "Talisman".  Some of us also enjoyed dinners on the respective House dining tables.  I even enjoyed larking around on the touchline with a fellow class pupil when being compelled several times a term to go and support the 1st XV on Stapylton Field. There are many other happy memories I can also recall.

32nd REPLY

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

DATE: 17 August 2012


There are many examples in literature, which puts QE in a favourable light even for our days.  I am currently reading a biography of CS Lewis (the writer of the Narnia books, Mere Christianity, Screwtape Letters etc.) by Michael White.  I refer to Wynyard House, one of the private schools attended and on page 23 he says  "The curriculum was ludicrously narrow and consisted of little more than mathematics."  Lewis claimed he learned almost nothing during his entire time at the school.  When he arrived there he knew a little Latin grammar and just before he left eighteen months later he was still covering the same material.  He gained nothing from the endless algebra and geometry lessons.  Geography, history, literature and science were never even mentioned.  The school was "filthy, unsanitary, freezing cold in winter and stiffingly hot in summer."  There is a lot more similar but he survived and eventually flourished.  We have much to be thankful for in our old school in comparison.

33rd REPLY

NAME: Alan Pyle  Alan Pyle

DATE: 23 May 2013

CONNECTION WITH QE: Pupil 1948-1953

QE was an aspiring Public School. See the school fixture list. We were day boys but we were treated as if we boarded. There was a full 6 days a week timetable. Compulsory Games to play on Saturday afternoons or to watch as Spectators who were booked in at the touchline or boundary by a duty prefect. We were conscripted into after school activities such as The Choir or The Orchestra. Then full homework assignments and positive sanctions against out of school control activity - EG. joining a local Scouts group. It was a closed system. I try to comprehend the scope of the assumptions which seem to have guided its operations. I did find some clues in fiction. For example in the speeches by the two headmasters in Alan Bennet's play Forty Years On and Bob Rose, in Thread 56 has already mentioned Lindsay Anderson's film - IF. What did this regime do for me? I struggled. I came to believe I was an indifferent scholar and a poor games player. I developed a very poor view of my abilities. In my time there were real games players and really gifted musicians and boys who glided effortlessly through the academic curriculum. Being indifferent was to be cast out of the stream. The endless school reports were useless and few opportunities were made to help our development. We were marked and ranked in every subject and in an overall form placing but given little or nothing about making progress except to "try harder". To fail was to be punished.

EHJ would visit an assembled form after the reports were out and give short and sarcastic remarks to pupils. In my form there was one boy who excelled in all academic subjects. (He is not a contributor to this site). The head's remark to him was - "Your woodwork is appalling". Woodwork was performed as a subject - Manual Training. Anon in reply 20 of this thread points out that the school selected for and trained for results which appear to count externally. It promoted high solo achievers. But what about those who did not meet these narrow criteria? Were we kept to maintain the headcount? Where was the welfare? A duty of care seemed to be missing. I did subsequently discover education. Learning for pleasure (and for profit) at evening classes, in my workplaces and at the Open University. As to the discipline, I joined the RAF for National Service. My fellow conscripts found it tough. I thought it was a mild regime in contrast. For we had recognition for work well done and our seniors seemed to care. I wonder if the the school's approach to discipline then actually led to our poor behaviour? "Give them an inch and...". I think of the hazing of masters who could not control their classes. Poor Mr Lant. Thirty Boys are not a Tea Party. Why were we not challenged about that rowdiness? Made to reflect on it, for example. Instead the master was to leave.

34th REPLY

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

DATE: 29 May 2012


Most of what you say, Alan, I would agree with. However on the point of EHJ's prejudice against boys joining the Scouts, EHJ in his book Elizabethan Headmaster 1930-1961 does in fact rebut this suggestion. He met the local Scout Commissioner who was a bit sniffy, as EHJ says, thinking this was the case and EHJ had to tell him it was not so. He did on the other hand state his dislike of youth clubs if they should compete with school activities and was against TV being watched generally. Perhaps even he may have allowed the odd instructive programme. These views did not stop my participation in joining the church youth club and indeed becoming a youth leader nor for that matter did it stop my joining the cubs/scouts and enjoying so many TV programmes, especially the comedies of the time such as The Army Game with Bootsie and Snudge. One of my Scout leaders was a sub-prefect or maybe even a prefect at QE's.

35th REPLY

NAME: Nick Dean  Nick Dean Nick Dean gallery

DATE: 30 May 2013


I think the reality is that, even for several years after Jenkins' departure, the particular arrangements at QE simply got in the way of some outside activities: principal among these were Saturday morning school (and yet I still have memories of Saturday Club), often followed by games, and, of course, Friday night homework. My scout troop (2nd Cockfosters) met on Friday and there was often weekend knot-tying and so forth, but while initially I felt disadvantaged, the more tedious I found scouts, the more I was able to find convenient excuses to disengage from it. When I first went to QE, my parents had put me down to learn the clarinet, but the lessons were on Friday evening and I couldn't do that and scouts. Stupidly, perhaps, I told Mr Fairbairn that I would have to opt for the latter (and that was accepted without a quibble). More generally - like most people, I suppose - I learnt to cut corners: most of my homework was done in front of the television or on the 'bus. In fact, in later years, as the '24/7' culture took hold, I found these skills quite transferable!

Steve Lucas' observation [thread 125] that England's quarter final match in 1966 coincided with the school fete reminded me that the semi final against Portugal clashed with an official visit to the 2nd Cockfosters by the late Duke of Gloucester. Posssibly alert to the situation, he rushed round the various displays and demos in double quick time, barely saying a word. He then waved a cheery "goodbye" and left us, as we thought, to dash home quickly. What we had not allowed for was one of those county commissioner types whose appearance suggested an unawareness that Mafeking had been relieved 66 years previously. He had us up on the stage of the church hall singing ridiculous rounds for what seemed an eternity: even today I cringe when I hear any reference to a campfire burning. My parents had helpfully arranged for us to go on holiday to Devon that Saturday and I heard some of the final on a fading transistor in a jam on the Honiton By-pass. At one point I assumed that England had won 2-1. (Some 20 years later my sister kindly made amends by giving me a video of the final for Christmas.) Q: What have Kenneth Wolstenholme and our own Gabby Hayes in common?

36th REPLY

NAME: Steve Lucas  Steve Lucas

DATE: 02 June 2013


DFC - although KW had DFC and bar I seem to recall - not sure whether Gabby did or not ...

NOTE FROM VIC: According to the London Gazette he got his DFC on 21st November 1944, so there wouldn't have been all that much of the war left in which to get a bar added.

37th REPLY

NAME: Roger Nolan  Roger Nolan

DATE: 03 June 2013

CONNECTION WITH QE: Pupil 1960 to 1967

According to your link to the London Gazette, Vic, Gabby was gazetted on 21st November 1944 with the suffix DFC which means he was already a holder. He was therefore being awarded a bar. The award was never given lightly which means to have had a DFC and bar, he must have completed two tours of operations if he was in Bomber Command or exceptional service against the enemy if he was in Fighter or Coastal Command. Also, the DFC was an award given to Officers. He deserves immense respect.

38th REPLY

NAME: Vic Coughtrey  Vic CoughtreyThen & Now

DATE: 03 June 2013


You're absolutely right of course, Roger. Many thanks for pointing out my howler and defending Gabby's memory. It's an object lesson in the desirability of checking carefully before flinging one's thoughts into cyberspace!

I must confess that ever since I first heard of his war record, I've had difficulty squaring ARW Hayes the war hero with my memory of a diffident, gap-toothd, somewhat disshevelled and even rather mousey Gabby of the 1950s. Partly a false memory and partly a simplistic preconception of what heroes are supposed to look like, I suppose.

39th REPLY

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

DATE: 03 June 2012


Your reply [35], Nick, reminds me how well I also managed a full list of school activities (even without being on the library committee or in a school play or learning a musical instrument/being in a rock group or having any prefect or sub-prefect duties or even being in any school team except for chess/athletics/cross-country), as well as many out of school activities. I did my homework in between table-tennis matches for Borehamwood Baptist youth club against others in the Barnet league or else whilst watching trains go by and cycle racing with others in the Borehamwood station trainspotting gang. I did leave the 1st Elstree scouts for these new worlds but never was able to master knot-tying or indeed get many badges in the scouts. I don't remember doing any homework on the bus but was often busy copying out lines on that blue paper, the standard form of punishment apart from the canings for real or imagined misdemeanours.

40th REPLY

NAME: Nick Dean  Nick Dean Nick Dean gallery

DATE: 05 June 2013


Here is an obituary of Gabby Hayes[see replies 35-37] from an OE newsletter dated August 1976. (A remarkable survival since I was never taught by him, but I imagine that I kept that edition because there was also a report of the previous year's Dinner-Debate in which, as an OE, I had apparently spoken against the motion that "this house would welcome a return to the first Elizabethan age". Proposing the motion was R C Pearce, who was at the school in my time, but some years senior.)
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