Staff Memories

On this page you can read memories of and thoughts about Meadway School written by ex-members of staff. Some were written at the request of the school and given by Trevor Smith whilst others were written specially for this website. My thanks go to all who have contributed directly or indirectly to this page. If you are an ex-teacher and would like your memories of the school posted here email me and, once verified, I will add them to the site.

Mrs Sue Adkin, 1972 - 1973
Home Economics, Deputy Head Of Year (Pastoral) 3rd Year

I taught Home Economics (with Angela Finch) at The Meadway from 1972-73 and was Deputy Head (Pastoral) of the 3rd Year. I left to take 2 years off but spent the time outside teaching in the Civil Service! I returned to teach in The Home & Hospital Teaching Service (which has changed its name several times over the years) and ended as Teacher in Charge of Highways Pru, retiring in January 2003. I found this site interesting - it was good to take a trip down memory lane.

Janette M Berry, 1972 - 1980
Head of Geography, Deputy Head of Humanities, Head of Humanities

My memories (getting very hazy now) are of the challenges of the early days of amalgamation of two established secondary schools into one "comprehensive" school.

We were trying to mould together, not only pupils from the two previous schools and a new First year (ie. Year 7) intake, but more seriously, the staff from the former Battle and Wilson, as well as a good handful of new staff. Many of the new staff were seen with great suspicion and were generously labelled as "whiz-kids" (which, of course, they mainly were).

Making a team from these groupings, with all their various "baggages" was very interesting! It was also very difficult and exhausting.

I hope that these memories are not too honest. I enjoyed my years at Meadway, but it was never an easy job, not least because I had a young family as well as a responsible job at school to combine. However, I look back with fondness, particularly of the staff who worked in Humanities, if not so much of the many rogues we had ranged in front of us to teach.

Colin Bound, 1972 - 1976
Deputy Head (Academic)

I became Deputy Head (Academic) of the new Meadway School in 1972. I was responsible for the curriculum (No National Curriculum in those days!), timetable, etc. It was very exciting. We had many young and idealistic staff, and we jumped in at the deep end, enthusiastic but naïve!

One good thing to remember was our attempt to build a complete curriculum from first principles - for example, the use of Italian as the first foreign language, a decision made on educational criteria, which quickly came under fire from those who could not understand why we did not use French like every other school. In the end we obtained O level passes, not only in Italian and French, but also in Serbo-Croat and German, and (I think) in Chinese and Swahili.

The school also worked hard, under Gwynn Williams' leadership, on developing a pastoral structure to deal with every pupil, whatever his or her problems.

Very stimulating was the school's multi-ethnic nature, something which led to my visiting our feeder schools in Barbados and St Vincent. Almost all our non-English pupils were immigrants themselves, not the children or grand children of immigrants.

A huge difficulty was coping with the two sites, largely because teachers did not want to spend all their time in just one site, but then grumbled about the time involved in travelling between the two. Partly to get round this, but also for other educationally valid reasons, I devised a timetable in which the week was divided into 100 modules of fifteen minutes each - I don't think this arrangement survived my departure!

Sadly there were divisions in the staff: some were very traditional, and could not accept that the days of secondary moderns were over, and that our brief was to look for and develop latent ability in all pupils; on the other side, the reformers failed to see that they would have made more progress if they had allowed the new to evolve gradually from the old, instead of trying to sweep away all that had gone before.

And there was then, as often, a teacher shortage. One often did not know where the next Maths teacher was coming from - it is remarkable that so many talented teachers (like the pupils, from all over the world) joined us and did good work. Sadly, I have lost touch with most of them.

Please pass on my best wishes to any teachers or pupils who remember me.

Chas Cheetham, 1983 - 1990 / 1998

The great sponsored walks to Pangbourne and back.

Dennis Berry (Berrie?)!!!.

Christian McArdle - a great mathematician.

Guiseppina Dubois, 19?? - 19??

My memory of Meadway School has been a happy one.

At the beginning of my teaching Italian there, we were six Italian teachers with Demis Deveraux as Head of the Department (Italian and French).

A great united and friendly department which I will always treasure the memory.

Anna Greaves (formerly McEvoy), 1973 - 2001
Languages (French & Italian)

I am very proud of having known so many nice people, both amongst pupils and Staff. I have very fond memories of loads of great kids such as all my pupils in Stuart Eagles' and Robert Clifford's year groups, as well as the likes of Ken Branagh, Simone Jacobs, Allen Sinclair, Richard Thompson, Sara Northey, Deon Burton, Jess Patey and Kelly Smith. I will not mention other individuals, as the list would be very long, but I would like to stress that I feel privileged to have had the chance to come across so many well-balanced, well-motivated, well-mannered young people. I will always be proud of my 28 years spent at the Meadway school.

I would like to say thank you to all my past pupils, in particular to Oliver Hunter for putting together this fantastic website which will ensure that the Meadway school will not be easily forgotten!

Jim Morrison, 197? - 2000

  1. Kenneth Branagh leaping onto the "stage" as Toad in "Toad of Toad Hall".
  2. The sports days when the sun actually came out.
  3. The odd year, now and then, when the pupils doing English exams did well (e.g. 1995).
  4. The gaining of Bs. As and A*s by pupils who'd worked hard for it.
  5. Mr Millard, the maths teacher, who knocked himself out playing the part of Bill Sykes too enthusiastically in "Oliver".
  6. The sponsored walks - Caversham to Pangbourne - that always took place the Friday before Whit half-term.
  7. The (sometimes) amusing idiosyncrasies of various colleagues.
  8. The great gale of January 1990 when the ceilings rippled during a staff meeting.
  9. The "Academic Board" for its first six years; thereafter it became repetitive.
  10. A good day's work or real teaching......somewhat rare from the mid 90s.

Camilla Sheppeard, 19?? - ????
History, Head of 6th Form

I enjoyed twenty years working at Meadway and the primary memory is of the happy and suportive relationships among the staff even when there were differences of approach.

Also my time at the school was enlivened by some rich and varied characters on the staff and by a number of inspirational teachers.

There was always a real dedication to the education and welfare of the pupils.

Peter Stockbridge, 19?? - 1994, (d.1996)
Art / Art Appreciation

TAC Week.

Tac Weeks usually give rise to some unintended visible act or comment.

Last year it was Ashley Sloan beginning a presentation before the representatives of local industry with the immortal lines: "This morning we have been masturbating in the library". A short pause followed whilst Ashley strove to tippex his tongue and with careful enunciation begin again: "This morning we have been maths-debating in the library".

This year, this week somebody stole £1,000 worth of speakers from the main assembly hall because the scaffolding used to adjust the stage lighting and not been dismantled. This enabled the entrepreneurial audiophiles to remove with ease what might normally only have been accomplished by an Orang Utan or troupe of trained Gibbons.

However, this was no more than a divertissement, a prelude to the Week of the Chessmen..

Spurred on by the schools' victories over Eton and other premier academic establishements, Dave decided it would be a good idea to mark out a chessboard on the paved area outside the main hall and persuaded Malcolm to oversee a team of trainee technologists make a set of giant-sized chess pieces from plywood. The group worked well and apart from Dave breaking the two band-saw blades and producing a pawn shorter than all the rest there were no mishaps.

The Head was impressed, paying regular visits to the workshop as the idea of photographic publicity germinated in his mind. Carried away he began to envisage the possibilities of producing Chess sets on a commercial basis, "You're gonna love this", Mal told me, "Guess what materials he suggested". Figuring that since we had recently got rid of all of the heavy workshop machinery the better to facilitate Micky Mouse Tech, it would be something no longer feasible, I said "Sheet Metal". Mal looked impressed by my perspicacity! "Close", he said, "Try again - something solid". "Concrete?" I said. "You've got it", he cried and we both fell about laughing at the concept of hernia- stricken twelve year olds hefting concrete Bishops round the playground or leading them onto the school bus for away matches.

Halfway through Friday morning Mal came in and said "Come and see what Dave's doing to the Knights and don't say anything for God's sake, he's painting eyes and manes on them. They look like bloody Dobbins". Sure enough the chaste, clean uncluttered lines of the knights were being ruined by the application of blobby noses, running eyes and dribbling manes. The two forces of black and white were being transformed into the only piebald set of chess pieces in Berkshire. Having to no avail, tried tactfully to suggest to Dave that his artistic inadequaces were ruining the whole project, Mal resorted to dropping hints in the Head's ear that all was not well and that he disclaimed all responsibility for what was happening. The Head who has precious little knowledge of Art has never the less sense of publicity. His immediate reaction was "My God - the photographers haven't been yet, have they?" "Yes", said Malcolm savouring the moment of consternation reflected in the Head's eyes before adding that only the pristine pieces had been used. "Thank God", he gasped, embracing Mal "You've actually done something right for once!"

I said to Mal that it was a bloody good job he never bothered to ask about the ETHOS box we made for DIGITAL.

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