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When Lynne Jones asked me to write something for the Old Girls' Newsletter, when we both retired last year (August 2013), I felt I couldn't as emotions were still raw and I had been asked to do some relief teaching just before Christmas. After a year and having had time to reflect on my eight years at the Girls' High and forty years in teaching, I feel I am in a better position to contribute.

I started my full time teaching Career at Bilston Girls' High School as it morphed into Bilston Sixth Form Centre (I was trained for Further Education). When I visited the school, before taking up the post, I attended a school assembly. The girls were told that "next term they should wear jumpers as men would be teaching them"! At the end of the assembly a group of girls were told to kneel down to see if their skirts touched the floor! The Headteacher at the time was Miss Mottershead who later became Headteacher at Wolverhampton Girls' High when she left Bilston.

I later moved to The Regis School in Tettenhall Wolverhampton and worked my way to be Head of Science. When Regis became Kings School I was made an offer I could not refuse and took Early Retirement. From then I worked, part time, in various schools in Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton Grammar being the first and the Wolverhampton Girls' High the last. The number of times I have heard teachers leaving the school say "it has been an honour and a privilege to work here", I am pleased to say that I was lucky enough to be one of the number. What impressed me most about the school was the way the senior girls looked after the lower school girls. They organised sports teams, house events including drama and debating, mentoring, quizzes and clubs with the help of staff. I believe in the education of the whole person not just preparing students to pass exams, important as they are (qualifications don't guarantee a good career but they do give more opportunity and choice). The school is a good example of that ideal. Not only does this give the opportunity of learning leadership skills by the girls and giving them confidence in their abilities but also gives the lower school girls role models and people they can turn to for advice other than members of staff. Thus is the ethos of the school passed on and improved through the generations as I am sure many of you can confirm who were students at the school and have had your own children attending the school.

I also enjoyed taking part in extra-curricular activities. I still have the scars from the first event I took part in. I had forgotten that in netball, unlike basketball, you can't move with the ball. When I was reminded in the game my legs stopped running but the rest of my body carried on, resulting in my scraping my elbow along the tarmac. Blood everywhere! Many concerned girls ran out with paper towels to try to stem the flow of blood! I also enjoyed taking part in the science department Christmas pantomimes, as part of the Christmas Review, where students saw staff in a different light. In one they saw more of me than anticipated when, as an Ugly Sister, I tried to fit my ample frame into my slim daughter's prom dress! I played "Stannous" the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz ( I must get some Chemistry in somewhere!). Oh what joy when all five feet seven of me played the giant in "Jack and the Beanstalk" and I made the girls yell out at the top of their voices "Fee- fi-fo-fum, I smell"! One of the things I will miss most from teaching, apart from the staff and students, is the "wow factor" when doing a demonstration or practical with a class, especially the "whizz- bang" type ( The Thermit reaction in the dark was one of my favourites). I did some of those on my last day but that is another story!

I would like the Girls to follow the advice from the end of "Desiderata" - click on the link if you haven't read it - "Strive to be happy".

I wish you luck (when opportunity meets preparedness) in your future. Have fun and thanks for the memories.

Dr Philip Stanley (2014)

The staff netball match 2005 with me nursing my injury mentioned in my newsletter!
The Chemists in 2013 when I retired (minus Mr Barton!)
2014 leavers.


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