Can it really be
well on the way to half a century, forty-two
years to be exact, since Prescot Girls' Grammar
School opened its doors to Its first intake of
pupils ? The time since then seems to have passed
by rapidly and to have brought about as many
changes, both in the educational world generally
and in the School itself.
The boys of Prescot and its
surrounding areas had for very many years enjoyed
the benefits and prestige of the old foundation
grammar school. The girls, however, had to travel
further afield to Widnes, St Helens or into
Liverpool to receive a similar education.
Lancashire County Council finally decided in the
early 1950s to build a new grammar school for
girls' school and land was duly purchased on the
fringe of Lord Derby's estate at the end of
Knowsley Park Lane.
Although not far from the busy main
road, this area was at that time a secluded and
peaceful spot. There was no by-pass cutting
through the land behind the school and the
attractive woodland of Knowsley Perk formed a
pleasant background to the new school building.
The sight of pheasants and hares in the school
grounds was in no way unusual. The school had
been scheduled to open at the beginning of the
Autumn term 1955, but its opening was in fact
delayed by about a fortnight because no furniture
had been delivered. I remember that someone in
County Hall had the bright idea that we could use
some surplus chairs and tables from an Infants'
School but that suggestion was quickly dropped !
Finally, the great day arrived and about a
hundred eager, bright-eyed, immaculately dressed
and impeccably behaved eleven-year-olds gathered
in the Hall for their first Assembly. Having
previously spent my teaching career in
co-educational and boys' schools, I was amazed at
how quiet the girls were. No doubt they were
somewhat over-awed by the occasion.
Originally, the School had been
planned as a two-form entry but in fact started
its life as a three-form and then quite soon
became a four-form entry. Inevitably, with the
increase in numbers, more accommodation was
required for both pupils and staff and we seemed
to spend several years with building works going
on around us. Fortunately, the site being a large
one, it was possible to extend the school by an
additional wing and also the inevitable
demountables without too much disruption.
The School was built up by an intake
year by year and I can well remember that there
was a strong conviction on the part of both staff
and girls, that the standards achieved in work
and behaviour during those early years, would set
the tone and ethos of the School for the future.
A feeling of achievement was evident as each year
passed, with every occasion being a 'First'. The
first Speech Day, the first play and concert, the
first 'O' Levels and, at last, the first'A'
Looking back to those days, I also
recollect clearly the friendly rivalry which
existed between the girls' and the boys' schools,
particularly with regard to examination results.
I always valued the courtesy and friendship of
the then headmaster, Mr Briggs. However, I was
well aware that he was immensely proud of his
School and his boys and that he found it
difficult to imagine that a newly established
girls' school would do equally as well and indeed
prove to be a worthy rival to his own School.
My recollections of the thirteen
years that I spent at Prescot Girls' Grammar
School are extremely happy ones. I always
appreciated the friendliness and keen-ness of the
teaching staff who were never stinting in their
efforts for the well-being and progress of the
School. I look back, too, with great affection to
the girls themselves who displayed a
responsibility beyond their years.
Since I left, the School has, I
know, gone through a number of changes. First,
the amalgamation of the boys' and girls' schools
into a co-educational grammar school and then its
reorganisation into an eleven-to-sixteen
comprehensive. I learn with interest that the
School again has a Headmistress, Mrs Heath. I
should like to wish her every success in her new
post and hope that she will find her time at
Prescot School as rewarding as I certainly found
mine at Prescot Girls' Grammar School.