RETIREMENT The Holly Leaf (April 59)

Miss F. E. Foster - Retired 1958

The old Pupil teacher Centre underwent a transformation in 1930. It had been an institution designed solely for the training of teachers to serve in Sheffield schools. It had a staff of eleven (of whom two survive), and some one hundred and eighty students, of whom the bulk were Pupil Teachers and the rest were Probationers - preparing for acceptance as P.Ts. In 1920 it was given a new Head (Mr. J. Batey), its numbers of staff and pupils were doubled and its classes overflowed into other premises like Townhead Street, Carver Street and Arundel Street. Its character was beginning to change, for while it retained for many years its vocational bias, its courses and aims became "Secondary". The additional staff were selected from the teachers in other Sheffield schools and "translated" to Holly Street and its annexes. Among them were H. J. Callister and F E Foster who have faithfully served the school since then till their retirement in July last. They were then the last serving members of that expanded staff.

Miss Foster was typical of those hard-working, efficient teachers whose standards of service and co-operation did so much to establish the reputation of the school during the years between the wars. The sense of belonging which the pupils quickly acquired was equalled by the teamwork of the staff. Despite the sub-standard conditions in which work had to be done, there developed a friendly, loyal and confident spirit.

Miss Foster's work in the School was for many years confined to the junior classes and to History, English and Religious Education. Latterly she has been able to devote most of her time to Religious Education, for the teaching of which she had special interests and qualifications. She was energetic in seeking opportunities to increase peoples' knowledge and stimulating them to service for others. She was enthusiastic in her work for the S.C.M., and the interest which senior pupils showed in the Lunch-Hour Talks given in the Cathedral by members of its staff owed much to Miss Foster's encouragement.

Her former pupils will remember her regular, well-formed writing as it went slowly and erect across the page, with wide spaces between the words. They will not forget her equally unhurried speech - emphatic, vigorous, confident, with eloquent pauses pregnant with dramatic intensity. At the meeting of the Holly Guild in January last, when she was invited to make a few remarks she was provided with a microphone. "Take away that thing" she said: "I don't want that sort of help". (And she didn't).

Many of us have pictures of her enjoying herself at the Form I Christmas Party, or presiding over the ice-cream stall on Sports Day, or sharing out the strawberries at a Holly Guild Garden Party. She had a sense of fun and laughter: she liked people, and especially children: she had a gift of sympathy and was interested in the personal and family stories which were so often confided to her.

For many years until her retirement, she was the indefatigable Secretary of the Holly Guild and she greatly contributed to the success and efficiency of that association. During the war hears, she felt it to be her duty to keep in touch with as many of the Old Students as she could. As there was no Holly Leaf, news-letters were compiled, cyclostyled, and sent across the world. It was her boast that no letter was ever received by her from a former pupil without a personal reply. It must always be a great pleasure to her to know how much her services were valued.

All her friends from school-colleagues and pupils, past and present - unite in wishing her a long and happy retirement in the company of her sister.

Alan Goodfellow