The Prescotian Webzine


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' Levels.

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.

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