Bolton School Former Pupils

Chrissy McCann (Former GD Staff)

 Chrissy, having recently retired, shares her fond memories of Bolton School and how it has changed throughout her time here.

“My first memory is of the Great Hall as I walked through it towards my interview, a bit awe-inspiring.  Then the girls: bright, eager and intelligent, a joy to teach.  Then colleagues – a better bunch of mismatched intellectuals you would not hope to meet.

"Lunches play a big part in my memory.  There were originally three dining rooms, two where the Art rooms are now for Years 10 and 11 and the Sixth Form, and the big one downstairs for the younger girls.  We started with family service – ten girls and a teacher at the head of the table, a member of staff ringing a hand bell and then saying grace.  I tried to become an expert at dividing a tray of crumble into eleven equal portions – no way; I soon learned just to divide it into twelve and sell the spare!  We learned proper table manners, including how to eat soup tilting your bowl and spoon in the correct direction and dealing with fruit using cutlery.  Every day some poor staff members were invited to eat on High Table with the then Headmistress, Mrs Spurr … God forbid if you really got engrossed in a conversation and put your elbow on the table!

"Then we moved on to cafeteria service and the dreadful aeroplane trays.  Although, again, something which will always be with me is the memory of a Beech House child, a boy, with the most ecstatic grin on his face as he picked up a chip, dipped it in his custard and ate it.

"We started with dinner tickets, a different number for each day, but these proved too expensive, so I am sorry to admit it, we moved on to ID cards – all my fault!

"Where the Technology rooms are now we had cloakrooms, where the girls changed into their Jesus sandals and left their coats and hats.  The then Head of Science introduced the teaching of Technology and cloakrooms disappeared, along with cloakroom duty!

"Education has also changed. When I started it was O Levels and A Levels, then came the big dumb-down to GCSE, and the dreaded ISAs or ‘get the teachers to mark more’.  We used to have time to revise at the end of the course, now we struggle to get to the end of the spec.

"Then came the opportunity to work on the timetable.  Just how different can two people be?  Me and Ro Artley – some people thought it would be a disaster, but we were so different we worked together really well, and, I’d like to think we came up with some good timetables, although it never ceased to amaze me that the first things that went in were the swimming pool and sports hall.  Then we had staff shared between Beech House, the Junior School and the main School, all of which worked on different period lengths, different numbers of periods in the day and who shared the Senior School gym and music rooms."