The death of Skerton School – I write this letter with a tear in my eye and a heavy heart. The letter from a fellow pupil of the school was true and to the point, the school was, the two grammar schools apart, the top school in the area so much so that its reputation spread beyond Lancaster.
I was from Heysham, a million miles from Lancaster in the 1950s, and some of my fellow pupils were from Westmorland and the West Riding of Yorkshire.
Within the school punishment was swift and severe but it had the desired effect upon the onlookers as it was carried out in front of the whole school.
One day a runner came into our class after which the teacher told us to form a queue for assembly. As we stood in the corridor (open air at that time) I asked what was going on to be told that a misdemeanour had happened and the culprit had not come forward so the whole school was being punished.
It was not long before the culprit stepped up as he knew the punishment that he would get from his peers would be more severe than the six of the best from the headmaster Mr Weaver.
Mr Weaver had ambitions to transfer the school over to Ryelands Park. With hindsight it may have been a smart move as there was room to expand so there would have been no reason to build Central High south of the river or the other primary schools in the district.
The decline of Skerton School has been slowly taking place since the 1970s. In the 1950s all the staff had degrees and were highly qualified in their own fields. It was also a boys only school, one of the reasons my parents enrolled me as one of 120 boys in 1952-53 year.
You would have to look at the staff’s performances since the 70s and the politics within the education committees to see where the decline came from. Certainly not many years ago it was almost at the foot of the league table.
I feel the managers of the school, governors, etc, did not have the drive and ambition of the people in the 1950-60s. Even at sport we ruled the roost, we were almost impossible to beat.
This feeling of confidence was carried on after school into the work place as I know several pupils from the 1950s went on to set up their own businesses and become millionaires. Others have reached the pinnacle of their chosen careers.
I say rest in peace Skerton School but I know the ghosts of your glorious past will not.
J B Catlow