Kenneth was the first headteacher I worked for and his style was to let you get on with the job. He listened if you had problems, and suggested ways and means, but he never intruded. He was an educator; for him no youngster was beyond redemption. "All you have to do is to overcome the initial inertia," he said, "and you can achieve anything." He wanted his pupils to be fulfilled in their lives, which meant that academic success would not be bought at the expense of being unable to cope with the practicalities of daily life. Engineering and building for survival mattered, so did walking, climbing, music, painting and writing, for relaxation.
Things that were needed were made not bought; girls as well as boys learnt woodwork, metalwork and pottery as part of the curriculum. Everybody helped with the domestic chores, which ranged from laying the tables for meals and washing up afterwards to cleaning the baths and lavatories. Morning preparation of vegetables - freshly dug from the kitchen garden - was a reminder that to eat you had to work. Organisation of these rotas of jobs was the responsibility of the sixth formers.
Kenneth believed that good mental health stemmed from the right balance of intellectual and physical activities, so a school day balanced academic subjects, the arts, sport, and outdoor work - with staff and pupils mucking in. It was often difficult to tell which were staff and which were pupils. Certainly the school inspectors were impressed with the academic standards and soaked up the vigorous community spirit.
Morning assembly was a model of education by stealth. Readings and music were presented by different members of staff. It often appealed to those who found classroom lessons unpalatable; suddenly they discovered that there was something for them, and was often the beginning of a breakthrough for children whose backgrounds had resulted in their being sent to the school in the first place. I was fortunate to have been a teacher at Wennington. How I wish I could have been a pupil.

 

Additional information