Oral History Recordings

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Oral History Recordings

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Oral History Recordings

5 Catalogue Description results for Oral History Recordings

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Elias Kulukundis

Timestamp Index:

Background and family in Greece. [2:55] Relations with boys in his house. Conditions for boarders. More Spartan than might be normal today. [4:50] The ‘60s. Changing times and changing teaching styles at Westminster. [7:06] Portraits of specific teachers. Several intellectuals who had left Europe before WWII. [9:40] He didn’t engage very much in extra-curricular activities. Cross-country running in Grove Park. [11:55] Commute to school with chauffeur. [12:48] No discussion of homosexuality at Westminster in the ‘60s. No homophobic bullying. Atmosphere of unspoken tolerance. [16:15] Lack of awareness about changing legislation around homosexuality. Coming out to his parents and father’s concern for his future. [19:55] Less involved in societies because of being a day boy. [20:32] Tolerance of religious minorities at the school. Perhaps partly due to European teachers. [22:30] John Carleton, Head Master, a remote figure for most boys. [23.53] More open-minded teaching than in some other public schools. [25:14] Factory visits during a harsh winter when sport was not possible. [25:47] Fewer social relationships outside Rigaud’s. Social life tended to be contained within your house. [26:49] Discipline and changing relationship to senior boys during the ‘60s. [28:28] Reaction to a serious misdemeanour surprisingly lenient and understanding. [29:57] Involvement of parents in school life. Parents’ evenings. [31.29] Alexander, friend and future partner, and Richard McKenna, a group of three close friends. [33:15] Tinned food at school. Unpleasant but edible. [33:56] Friendship with Alex. [34:44] Alex’s friendship with Theo Zinn, Classics Master. [33:58] Life after Westminster. [37:00] A favourite memory of Westminster: visiting Fortnum and Mason’s with Alex.

Gavin Griffiths

No strong impulse to go to Westminster. Serendipity rather than conscious plan. Just wanted to leave his school in Wimbledon. [2:07] Sees teaching as a job rather than a career. Accommodation at school meant he had a better lifestyle than he would otherwise have been able to afford, so unable to leave Westminster. [3:50] Enjoyed all his roles in the school. Attempts to prevent him from being Head of English. Without an SMT, it was easier for elderly teachers to put pressure on Head Masters than it is now. [7:05] Ashburnham House Master. Great job. Its location meant it was difficult to get people over there. Supervision of the house had not previously been very thorough. [8:31] Grant’s was fun but very tiring, since it was a boarding house and therefore very long hours. This improved after another boarding house master had a nervous breakdown. [10:18] Far greater parental involvement than before. Can make it more difficult for the children. [12:17] Westminster looks after children better than it used to. More involvement and pastoral support from the House Master now. [13:26] Change in the texts studied. Othello and Lolita now no longer on the syllabus. [18:33] Teachers’ tendency to perform. Used to being the centre of attention. [19:13] Big figures in the Common Room. Ernest Sanger, an Austrian Jew who left Europe before the outbreak of war. Should have been an academic. Theo Zinn, an enormous influence. [21:47] Inspirational teachers can often be the bully as well. [22:29] Common Room 30 years ago. All men apart from one teacher. Smoking and conspiring. An example of plotting against the Head Master, John Rae. [24:21] Improvements to Common Room photocopying during his time as Common Room President. Also finding a helpful Common Room secretary. [27:47] Computers have made some tasks easier but have created more work. Enjoyed teaching in different classrooms when there was more pressure for space. [31:14] Introduction of girls to the school. Frances Holland School didn’t have laboratories, so girls came for the science lessons. It began as an informal arrangement. [32:57] The introduction of girls meant there was more socialising in Yard. House differences became less important. [35:24] Much harder to get into Oxbridge than it used to be. [38:21] The importance of straightforward criticism. [41:24] Theory of the developing intellect. [42:01] Negative effects of child protection policies. More cumbersome now and instructs children to distrust all adults. Morally offensive. [45:20] Miss the 7th term for Oxbridge, when the most difficult topics were tackled, but otherwise the intellectual element of teaching is just as challenging. [46:49] Teachers that he particularly remembers. Russell Dudley-Smith, a polymath. Richard Jacobs, an inspiration as an English teacher. [48:58] The predominance of Maths, the only subject with no moral content. On whether this will continue. [51:43] Advice to teachers joining Westminster. Advice to pupils at Westminster. [54:51] The virtues of conformity or independent thinking. [55:41] Will miss having an audience when he leaves. [56:50] An anecdote about a pupil’s late prep. [58:22] Unsure what he will do after Westminster. Perhaps writing. [1:00:19] Preventing the stripper-gram from accosting John Rae.

George Law

Busy life at Westminster. Cliques and the effect of the arrival of girls in sixth form. [4.09] Stayed in touch with surprisingly few Westminster schoolmates. [6.21] PHAB. How it has changed over the years. His work gave it more stability, health and safety clearance and financial stability. [10.54] PHAB’s expansion over the years, and possible reasons for its growth. [13.54] Difference between his school days and time as a teacher. School now seems better able to help pupils who are less academically gifted than the others. School takes part in more outreach and charity work. School facilities much better. The Manoukian Music Centre, Millicent Fawcett Hall [theatre], Weston’s [classrooms] and Lawrence Hall [sports centre] were all acquired after his schooldays. [16.20] Difficult to tell if there’s been a change in ethos. Still promotes individuality. [18.07] Effects of internet. [19.25] Effects of increased numbers of pupils. [21.28] How his experience of the school has changed now he’s a teacher. [23.06] Will miss colleagues and pupils, but not the physical place. [26.12] His future plans. His move to the London Academy of Excellence. Potential to make a difference to social mobility. How he will interpret the role. [31.11] Proud moments as a pupil. [33.22] Proud moments as a teacher. The changed atmosphere in Ashburnham. The house publication The Ash Tree and house concerts and plays. The house has become a community. Has enjoyed his time as a teacher.

Rodney Harris

Timestamp index:

Background. Grew up in Bromley and went to St Dunstan’s College. Enjoyed school. Teachers who made an impression. [2:10] Cambridge application process and the seventh term, to revise for the Oxbridge exam. [4:06] Teaching at a school in Beckenham between school and Cambridge. Assisting the owner of the school with his historical research. Life at Cambridge. [5:47] First posting was at Marlborough, his first experience of a boarding school. Always something to do. Changes at Marlborough over the 9 years he was there. [8:08] Being headhunted by Jim Cogan, Deputy Head, at Westminster. Long notice period requested, to prepare to change the Geography department at Westminster. [9.53] Problems with the Geography department’s teaching. Disappointing exam results. [11:06] Returning to London. [12:00] Perceptions of Geography by other Masters, and how this changed over the years. [13:13] Head of Department meetings. Much more combative than today. [15:24] Met Debbie, future wife, at Marlborough. She moved to London with him. [16:57] The founding of Purcell’s, the new girls’ boarding house. [19:42] Living at Purcell’s with Debbie, now Mistress in charge of girls at Westminster, and their children. [22:22] Changes to girls’ experience of Westminster over the years. Increasing focus on grades. [23:38] Parents becoming more involved. [25:13] Specific challenges with girls – discipline and pastoral. Often more easily upset. More focused. [27:50] The selection process. [29:00] His changing roles. [31:15] Head Masters’ different leadership styles. David Summerscale, Tristram Jones-Parry and Stephen Spurr. [33:51] Becoming Director of Studies. The importance of seeing people in their own classroom and space. [37:18] Quieter tone of Heads of Departments meetings today. Importance of autonomy for departments at Westminster. [40:20] Changes to school life. More societies, music and sport. [43:43] China project. Development of the project. Lessons learnt. Different working styles in China. [51:29] Decision to become the Head Master there. [53:02] Learning from previous Head Masters. Empowering those beneath you. [54:32] The privilege of living in London, at the heart of it all. Being close to theatres, cinemas, cricket.

Tristram Jones-Parry

Schooldays at Westminster. [2:05] Memorable teachers. A Maths Master who left Germany just before WWII. Stephen Lushington, English Master. [2:45] Time in Wren’s. House Master, Charles Keeley, a History Master: difficult to get to know, no pastoral care, but great teacher. [3:54] Shooting at the leader of the Combined Cadet Force. [6:29] Involvement in drama at school. [7:13] Closed exhibition to Christ Church, Cambridge, to read Mathematics. Involvement with drama. College life. [9:44] First job, working for Coal Board. Computers still new. [10:38] Unpopularity when visiting mines, since visiting to see if the mine should be closed. Difficult. Resigned after a year. [11:18] Decision to become a teacher. Computing. [12:12] Head of Maths at Westminster at 25 years old. Enjoyed teaching. [14:00] Enjoyed his time at Westminster. Pupils were beginning to think for themselves. [14:49] School had become more academic, partly due to John Rae’s Head Mastership. [16:05] Being House Master of Busby’s. Drugs. [17:46] Called by Scotland Yard when boys climbing Foreign Office. Similar things happened frequently - more relaxed then. Girls began boarding in Busby’s in his last year as House Master. [19:07] Became Under Master. Reputation for being fierce. Governing Body complaints about pupil behaviour. [23:23] Pushing pupils to work hard. Maths is exciting. [25:43] Left Westminster for Emmanuel School in Battersea. Started to take in girls while he was there. [27:53] Importance of co-education. [29:28] Head Mastership of Westminster came up. Asked to apply. [29:50] Giving thought-provoking sermons. [32:28] Talking to pupils but also support staff. [33:03] Advantages of Westminster. Pupils feel part of the life of the country, for example taking part in the Iraq War demonstrations, and yet in tranquil and beautiful surroundings. [43:08] Receiving pupils whose parents wouldn’t be able to afford fees. [36:00] Didn’t get Abbey involved in School as much as wanted. [36:34] Proposal to set up school in China rejected by Governing Body. Proposal to have underground gym in Dean’s Yard. [37:26] Disney payment for rights to Winnie the Pooh. Other donations to the School. [40:27] Giving pupils expelled from other schools a second chance. [41:03] Pupil perceptions of his toughness. [42:52] Retired early at 58. [43:23] Teaching Maths at state schools in his retirement. [44:38] Changing the timings of the school day at Hampton Court School to complement teenagers’ circadian rhythms. [47:46] Pupils at Westminster very varied. Advice to Andrew Lloyd-Webber that musicals aren’t profitable. [49:31] Sense of social responsibility. Could cause discomfort when teaching at Westminster. [50:52] Exciting the difference you can make at a state school. [51:36] Discussing his trips to Communist countries with pupils. [53:29] Advantages of Buddhism. Everyone should attend Abbey. [55:25] School exhibitions to Skye and elsewhere. Pupil mislaid on a mountain. More Health and Safety now. [57:19] Expeditions were run by staff who were following their passions. [59:09] Effects of new technology in schools. Programming. Cyberbullying. Pornography online. [1:01:50] Increasing number of women teachers. [1:04:16] Changes in the value of grades. [1:06:36] The beauty of an elliptical flowerbed.