The Principal's Report.
Written in 1937

As the Principal's Report deals with a special phase in the history of the School we are publishing it in full.  We also take this opportunity of expressing our appreciation of the Provost's Address which was, in words of one qualified to judge, "the sort of talk needed on an occasion like this."

The Principal's Report.

"Mr. Chairman, Dr. Jarvis, Ladies and Gentlemen and - Citizens, - Since our last Speech Day we have experienced a Rebirth and a Visitation.  On August 1st, 1936, the Sheffield Pupil Teacher Centre became the City Secondary School.  I know that many friends of the School view the loss of the old name with regret and as this is the last report relating to the Pupil Teacher Centre I wish to spend a few moments in tracing the history of the School in order to show that the change in the name is but the last incident in a metamorphosis which has been proceeding for some years.

In 1896 - forty-one years ago - the Centre was established in temporary accommodation.  Three years later, with about 500 students it removed into new buildings in Holly Street.  In those days the students served an apprenticeship for four years and at the end of that period, with hundreds of other pupil teachers all over the country, they sat the Queen's Scholarship Examination.  From the beginning the Sheffield Centre distinguished itself in scholarship for, in 1900, its pupils obtained a number of high places in the examination list, including the first place in all England.  Again, two years later, of the 19 girls from all parts of England and Wales  who were placed in Division I, no less than four were students of the Sheffield Pupil Teacher Centre.

It is worth recalling that in 1906 the Centre broke new ground by sending thirteen students abroad to take vacation courses at a continental university.  From that year until the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, parties of boys and girls went every year to spend a month in various university centres in France and Switzerland.  Evidence of academic success during this time is afforded from the fact that, over a period of ten years, no fewer than 134 former students of the Centre gained degrees at various universities and that, during a period of six years, they gained no less than 26 out of a possible 46 open scholarships at the Sheffield University.  It was during the same period that the Centre's hockey club had a remarkable record.  In 1913-14, the 1st XI played 16 matches, won 16 and scored 112 goals against 10:  their opponents including the first team of the University and of the Training College.

A change introduced in 1920 appears to have been the first step towards converting the old Pupil Teacher Centre into the Secondary School which takes its place to-day.  In that year the age limit on entry was extended downwards and for the first time pupils were admitted at the age of eleven years.

Insert From the Holly Leaf dated July 1920 :--------  On May 31st. the Centre entered upon a new stage of it's existence, and we hope, began a new era of usefulness, when nearly three hundred girls and sixty boys between the ages of eleven and fourteen were admitted to form the ten preparatory classes. Six of these occupy the old class rooms in Holly Street, the remaining four with the present pupil teachers and probationers being accommodated in the Carver Street School. We give a hearty greeting to the new comers whose bright little faces promise well for future service in the great army of teachers.

The old buildings were now quite inadequate and the 700 students were housed in various buildings in Carver Street, in Arundel Street and in Townhead Street.  In 1933 nearly all the classes were collected into the present building which was received from the Central School in exchange for the playing field which the Centre had used for twenty-eight years.

During the early years, the parents of students attending the Centre were asked to sign an agreement in which they undertook to present their sons or daughters for appointment as Pupil Teachers in due course.  When this condition was abolished, the distinction between the Pupil Teacher Centre and other secondary schools had practically vanished.  For several years, the function organisation and curriculum of the Centre were of the usual secondary school type.  But in the performance of its new role the Centre suffered under certain disabilities.  (To take but one instance:  students of the Centre could not compete for State and Lancasterian Scholarships).  These restrictions could only be removed by securing for the Centre complete recognition as a secondary school.  This final step was taken a year ago.  It involved, as a necessary condition, the loss of the old name.

In tracing the development of the School I have had a second object in mind:  to show that in the fields of scholarship and of sport, the old Pupil Teacher Centre has set examples for us to emulate.  That its standards where high in the moral and spiritual spheres I have found plenty of proof within the School and without.  There is much evidence of the existence in those days of a fine spirit of service.  We have shed the old forms, we have discarded the old name, but we have emerged "trailing clouds of glory," surrounded by splendid traditions and high ideals.  We are "citizens of no mean City."

I spoke earlier of a visitation.  Last October the School was invaded by a band of His Majesty's Inspectors who, for the greater part of a week, probed into holes and corners.

At last, with a sigh, we saw them depart.  They had found some pleasing things to say about us, and they had confirmed our suspicion that we were not faultless.  Their criticism had been kindly and their advice helpful.  And now, while we in the School, are doing our best to profit from the experience we hope that in another quarter their words may bear early fruit.  For the subject of "buildings" was not overlooked.

At the risk of being a little out of fashion, I want to say a word about the examination results of the last year.  The School Certificate results reached the usual high level.  Details are given in your programmes.  Of the 121 candidates, 94 were successful.  For the first time, pupils of the School were eligible for Lancasterian Scholarships which were awarded on the results of the School Certificate Examination.  The School signalised its entry into this field by gaining no fewer than five of the Scholarships.  The successful candidates were:- Josephine W Abraham, Rosa M. Pullon, Elizabeth H. Davies, Winifred Ashby, Marjorie Thompson.  You will notice that they are all girls.  Perhaps our boys are successful only in odd years.

In the Higher School Certificate Examination, eight of our seventeen candidates were awarded the Certificate.  This result appears to be fairly satisfactory, when it is remembered that no one of the candidates had taken the examination before.  At the same time 31 students gained altogether 95 passes out of a possible 121 at the subsidiary standard of the Higher School Certificate.  During the present year 33 of our pupils have been accepted for admission into Training Colleges in the autumn and four will proceed to the Teachers' Training Department of the Sheffield University.  Three of the latter group have won open scholarships:  Gee and Ruby Thompson - our Head Boy and our Head Girl - have won Trown Trust Scholarships of £50 a year for 4 years and Ruby Rumley, a Firth Scholarship of £20 per annum.

There has been the customary activity on the social and recreative side.  Bad weather during the winter seriously handicapped the games, one Form failing to make a single attendance at the field throughout the season.  The lack of practice perhaps accounts to some extend for the very moderate success which the School teams experienced.  Roughly, there has been an even record of victories and losses which does at any rate show that the teams and their opponents have been fairly well matched.

At Easter 25 girls, accompanied by four of the Staff, spend nearly a week in Paris, and at Whitsuntide, with equal zest, eighteen boys and two masters explored Belgium in the company of a party of Belgian schoolboys.

The Dramatic Society is now in a flourishing condition.  In March it gave three performances of the play "Tobias and the Angel."  Less prejudice critics than I thought they were very good:  I thought that they were excellent.

The Latin Society once more this year delighted as with two of its short plays in Latin.  These plays - dramatised versions of classical myths and legends, written by the Staff, produced by the Sixth Form and acted by the Latin students of Forms II and III - are an obvious source of pleasure to the cast and they are of inestimable value in vitalising the study of the language.  (By the way, the arch-conspirator, Mr. Dudley, is also an amateur cinematographer, so that the actors afterwards - with mixed feelings - see themselves as others saw them).

If I say nothing of the various other Societies, it is not because there is nothing to report but rather because there is too much and I must make a selection.  The work of these Societies, the social evenings at Christmas time and the less spectacular daily care for the welfare of the students, as well as the examination success, afford abundant proof of the zeal and enthusiasm of the Staff.

During the present year I have been able to extend the teaching of domestic subjects.  The girls of the Second Year have had fortnightly lessons in cookery which they have obviously enjoyed.  Also during this year we have had the use of a few periods each week of the Swimming Baths at King Edward VII School and certain Forms have had regular instruction in swimming.  Our only regret is that our opportunities of this kind are very limited and we look forward to the time when these facilities will be available for every boy and girl in the School.

Mr. Stephen Northeast 1937

Mr. Stephen Northeast - RETIREMENT ARTICLE