Mr A B Turner

Last updated: 3 Apr 09

“Joe”
Mathematics
1927-1959

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~1929: Blackcountryman

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School Photo 1956

Appointed in 1927, a graduate of Bristol University, Mr Turner taught Mathematics, and eventually became Careers Master. He spent his entire teaching career at WBHS and retired in 1959.


1953: A.B.Turner (Joe) was a Mathematics master and careers adviser. Metallurgy was his answer to most questions on careers. His wife would teach occasionally when there were staff shortages.

Peter Whitehouse


In June 1977, ABT wrote to John Clifford with some recollections, especially about the time he felt a class got the better of him:

“First comes the memory of my appointment by the Headmaster. The noteworthy point about this was that it was his individual choice — no LEA representative, no governor, just CSK. He was a natural autocrat.

“Secondly my abiding experience was of the total and invariable friendliness of every boy I ever met. I’ve told you all of the time when I lost control of a 4th form for most of the Spring Term. I have no idea how it began or why except that it was in the early days of World War II. But I am sure there was no element of enmity from beginning to end on the part of the boys or of myself. They just found out that they could just gossip as they liked, and that is what they did. Not one of them made any attack, verbal or otherwise on me. I just tried every way I could think of to get their attention. I remember that one week I announced that whatever occurred I would keep no-one in after school and set no imposition; a ploy which made no difference at all. Throughout I had no feeling of bitterness — in their place I’d have just done as they did when I was a boy. CSK must have known of the situation but he didn’t say a word, and just left it to me to cope as best I could.

“I have put this episode at some length because I reckon it could never recur in such a fashion today. I only add that after Easter the lads settled down to preparations for the July exams and produced results the following year in School Cert well up to the usual standard.

“Another incident sticks in my memory. I was reffing a House match, and after an attack at one end there was a long clearance up the field. One player in colours was clearly offside as he moved to take it so I blew the whistle. To my surprise he placed the ball and took the kick, being one of the backs! I had not yet, so early in the match, mastered which way the colours and whites were playing. The point of this is clearly the instant acceptance of the ref’s decision however nonsensical it might be.

“Through the 30s and up to the end of the War relationships in the Staff Room were just about perfect too. We were so fond of School that we used to meet there once a week, or fortnight, for tennis in the Summer and for debates and discussions in the Winter. The games players were often on the premises till 5 o’clock, carrying on with games, in the cricket nets and on the football field. Only the last period was allotted for games (3:20 to 4) which after changing meant at the very best, 3:30 to 4. So at football a second half was apt to be played 4-4:30, and cricket had to continue to 5 if any sort of a game was played.

“After the War the Staff Room harmony was to some extent modified by the Butler Education Act which said, in essence, all teachers do the same work so they must all be paid equally. It didn’t take long for it to be discovered that grammar school work was not the same as that of the secondary moderns and primary schools. But there were worse effects in the grammar schools when, to provide for this, the authorities started dishing out extra pay for special responsibilities. Which were special and which weren’t? And amongst the specials were the English and Maths worth more than the Latin and where did Physics stand? In the good old days all were equal and the Head was “Primus inter Pares”. Later the question arose as to whether the senior English master in a school of 600 was worth more than his equal in a school of 300? Inevitably all this led to jealousies and uneasiness, and to more changes in the staff as the more unfortunate financially sought to improve their position. WBHS was fortunate to retain the same basic nucleus of staff through to the early 60s.”


 

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