Burnley Grammar School

Childhood > Schools


Burnley Grammar School
Burnley Grammar School
Year: 1959
Views: 1,440,346
Item #: 1607
There's pleny of room in the modern-styled gymnasium for muscle developing, where the boys are supervised by Mr. R. Parry, the physical education instruction.
Source: Lancashire Life Magazine, December 1959

Comment by: Nathan Hind on 28th May 2024 at 22:48

I do not agree with the concept of forced national service. Most school leavers at eighteen are not the feckless youth some media commentators have been portraying these past few days. I would agree and be enthusiastic for a doubling of PE tuition in all schools though. That would be a very clear net positive. I think we can safely leave the government out of micro managing the kit and wash requirements though, although there are many jokes going around at the moment.

Now for something interesting. I've been told that someone has been in touch with my school repeating comments I have made on this discussion and being critical of me by name and of the school's policies on physical education and implementation just because I have admitted we do PE in the ways we do it on the shirtless issue and also showering. I was told this today even though I am on half term this week. I was told a physical letter was sent and signed off with a deliberately unreadable signature and no clear address either. I have no proof of who sent this and who has attempted to create an issue surrounding me or my job or the school in general.

But tonight when coming on here to report this I have just seen the return after a very long time of 'Mr Dando' and his demands being laid out on how schools conduct themselves. This seems a bit coincidental in my opinion, especially considering Mr Dando singled my school out on the Fulwoord thread in early April 2022 over showering issues and PE kit and my first comment on this site was to admonish him over that.

I have the full support of my colleagues and the letter is being treated with no real seriousness as it clearly comes from someone not connected to the school in any way, but in being open and honest on this forum I have not expected such behaviour to intrude on my work life as a PE teacher directly.

Therefore I see no point in further comment and have decided to leave this discussion for good.

Thankyou for reading over the past year or two.

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Comment by: Zack on 28th May 2024 at 21:40

Comment by: Sean on 26th May 2024 at 17:51
Prepare for the next bombshell for the young from the Tories.
Tomorrow Gillian Keegan (Education Sec - I think she is) will be announcing it will be mandatory for all schools to reintroduce forcing PE showers on everyone from September if they get back in, and all boys will have to permanently do PE without ever being allowed to put a shirt on!

This sounds just like my own school in the past anyway. I strongly disliked being told to do both. I remember getting this really deflated feeling come over me when the PE teachers insisted we must remove all our tops and take the class bare chested and knowing I had no choice but to comply immediately with the order. It gives an instant sense of vulnerability.

I've overcome this as an adult and was interested in what Craig wrote about some of his group because I can relate to some there as being a less body confident person and if asked I would be prepared to give such a bare chest run a go to see how it affected me as an adult, as I do jog short distances a couple of times a week, with a top.

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Comment by: Anthony on 28th May 2024 at 20:49

I broadly agree with the others here before me on the ill thought out national service suggestion by the oddly autocratic Sunak who seems to want levels of control over other peoples lives in everything he does, national service, buying fags, and even his furlough was a form of control and nanny statism. The Conservatives have given us no security, no liberty and no improvements, other than for themselves at the top.

On this national service thing, presumably on reporting for national service all these eighteen year olds will be 'processed' in the time honoured fashion for such things which means everyone told to strip and line up naked for instrusive medical inspection and dehumanised on state orders. Can't we just do this to the current cabinet instead. They really are acting like they are our keepers, our nanny, our masters, and not our public servants.

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Comment by: Jason S on 28th May 2024 at 14:57

Mr Dando my son left school just last year and took PE showers because he had to. I wasn't bothered by it, so why are you?

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Comment by: Mr Dando on 28th May 2024 at 11:40

To Mr Sunak it is time you realised there will be no return to the National Service forced shower culture of the 1950´s. The same must be true of schools today as we respect the privacy of muslims and those who have come to the UK on boats to avoid conscription in their own country including Syria, Iran and Turkey.

Even as we look to our own educational institutions there are still some schools that Mandate showers after physical education. It must be the duty of an incoming labour Government to ensure there is a complete ban on showering in schools and a permanent end to the possibility of being drafted into the army.

Here is an example of a "Voluntary" Catholic academy which still compels showering in school. https://www.stphiliphowardglossop.srscmat.co.uk/information/dress-code-and-equipment/#1650982764984-8eef839e-ebac

P.E. KIT – The Essentials
Black or white approved Polo shirt with school crest.
Plain black PE shorts.
Trainers or plimsolls.
Black socks.
Optional approved sweatshirt with school crest.
P.E. Kit – Additional
A plain black track-suit where P.E. staff say it is appropriate for winter – no logos or designer outfits.
Ties, jumper with school crest and all items of P.E. kit can be purchased from school.

A current price list is included.

Physical Education is a National Curriculum subject and all students are required to participate in the course

All students are required to shower unless there is a confirmed medical reason for not doing so.

“Pupils’ behaviour is a strength. They show consideration to others and have a strong sense of right and wrong. They are enthusiastic in supporting fundraising campaigns for a range of local and national causes.” – DCI Report, 2018

Sir Keir Starmer please make it a manifesto commitment to end showering in all schools just as Tony Blair mandated the end of Corporal Punishment in private schools after winning the 1997 General election.

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Comment by: Duncan on 27th May 2024 at 22:39

Pierre comment on 25th May about your special runs in boarding school.

I was full time at boarding school in Lanarkshire in the 70's Pierre and I can well believe the description you give. We had a head of house who made lots of boys stand by their beds naked in the mornings for muster. Slaps across the side of the head were common but one day he grabbed a lad between the legs in anger and made him scream for the benefit of the rest of us as an example. When I say grabbed between the legs, I actually do mean grabbing the private parts while exposed. This is the kind of thing that took place daily in boarding schools tucked out the way from serious external scrutiny at the time and many boys have similar stories to tell for themselves or what they witnessed, although this is an extreme example of what I witnessed. Much of the time it was low level beatings and slappings but there was undoubtedly a sexual element in a number of cases such as the one I describe which has never left me since the day I saw it in 1971, and that Pierre is at the same time as your own school time.

I liked doing shirtless PE by the way, which was a good job because the majority of school PE required it with most masters we had, and you wouldn't have got a polite hearing if you'd tried to make a case for avoiding going shirtless in a PE lesson. I think most boys would have opted to go shirtless anyway. The thing about being in boarding school is you lose all your privacy anyway and can never get away from the other boys or the teachers very easily through the week. We had to shower most mornings together so PE showering was rather academic anyway and just more of the same. We sometimes were allowed to use the school baths, four large baths that held room for eight boys each.

The Sunak scheme of national service is crass. Why not just pay to raise a bigger professional army. His explanation that forcing 18 year olds into national service will strengthen the security of the UK is preposterous and he knows it. I'm a Scottish Tory and off to Reform and have no time for this policy at all.

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Comment by: ALAN GILES on 27th May 2024 at 18:19

Comment by: Claire on 27th May 2024 at 15:41

There won't be any, because Sunak won't be in power to enact his "plan". It is a back of an envelope idea, probably designed to mollify right-wingers who might otherwise vote for Reform. It will lose him more votes that it gains him.

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Comment by: Mickey on 27th May 2024 at 17:56

This national service "policy" announcement probably has two purposes.

They think it will appeal to reactionary, bitter Daily-Mail believing Reform voters.

They also want something massive to stop people reflecting on their appalling record. The infamous "dead cat" strategy. Working very well.

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Comment by: Claire on 27th May 2024 at 15:41

"National Service" might be "mandatory", but that doesn't mean that the penalty for non-participation is necessarily imprisonment. How many indoor-smoking infringers or over-the-limit speeding drivers get put inside? And there will only be 30,000 places in the forces anyway.

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Comment by: Neil on 27th May 2024 at 11:46

Comment by: Alan on 27th May 2024 at 10:54
Also how can you make an idea "mandatory" (I loathe that word) when it has already been made clear no 18 year old will go to prison for dis-obeying it.
With his out of touch ideas, old-fashioned views, and apparent contempt of young men, if Mr Sunak is looking for a new job in July, he might well consider becoming a school teacher!

Well aren't this lot actually trying to throw serious criminals out of jail early because there's no space inside or trying to prevent judges sending more there in the first place, plus encouraging police to make fewer arrests too. So obviously it stands to reason they'll start threatening and sending to jail thousands of innocent youngsters instead under the increasingly warped values this country now has developed under this regime.

Seen written yesterday elsewhere online was a great comment - 'at this rate Sunak will be forcing the reintroduction of the rotary dial telephone'. Sunak is so deeply out of touch perhaps the phone is the only thing he will be able to connect because he is hopeless with the electorate and hasn't got a clue about anything in the very real world we all inhabit.

I've also read that they also want to 'prescribe' fishing for lonely kids too, according to today's papers. Fishing is a lonely activity that most men like doing sat by themselves to get away from others and have some peace to themselves for an hour or five!

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Comment by: Alan on 27th May 2024 at 10:54

To all those worried about the reintroduction of National Service - -please don't be. Mr Sunak has become so desperate that he will now "promise" (or threaten) anything, because he knows, just like the LibDems, he can promise anything under the son, knowing that he won't be there to deliver it.

You have to wonder why he has suddenly latched on to this idea when so many top military men have often rejected it and still do.

Also how can you make an idea "mandatory" (I loathe that word) when it has already been made clear no 18 year old will go to prison for dis-obeying it.

With his out of touch ideas, old-fashioned views, and apparent contempt of young men, if Mr Sunak is looking for a new job in July, he might well consider becoming a school teacher!

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Comment by: Stephen on 26th May 2024 at 22:51

Here is the Tory Party’s own summary: “The Conservatives are today announcing mandatory National Service for every eighteen year old – they will be able to choose between a full-time placement over 12 months in the armed forces or one weekend per month for a year volunteering in their community.”

Doesn't that choice strike you as a bit strange and unequal. On one hand they demand a full year in the military. On the other it's 12 weekends doing something community based. Hardly a like for like choice is it, one is far more commitment than the other and more drastic.

How does something like this as a serious prospect just pop out of a clear blue sky without any previous debate or suggestion it was coming? Not only are the youth not going to stand for it, neither are their parents.

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Comment by: Ross on 26th May 2024 at 22:43

Comment by: Neil on 26th May 2024.

Many journalists bigger than me are pointing thism out tonight Neil, and what's worse is that tonight they are saying that this was not a last minute rushed out idea but something that they've been thinking about for weeks and that the PM first got into the idea last August, so 9 months ago. So in that case why was the defence minister saying those words quite clearly only 3 days ago? It raises many serious questions.

Still, those boys that I discovered really were running shirtless from the Queensbury Academy last winter after an observation on here by Bill will be fit and ready for their calling soon.

I think all this chatter about national service is a quiet admission that that our democracies expect Ukraine to fall soon and then who knows what. Some serious and disturbing intelligence info must be passing across the desks of our leaders at the moment. I wish some would come across my desk for a scoop.

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Comment by: Russ on 26th May 2024 at 22:27

Sunak believed his own hype and has been found out for what he is. I can't believe they've started the campaign by suggesting an 18 year old round up and off to national service. All this has done is now ensure the youth vote gets out to the polls in bigger numbers and they are not voting for Sunak, the Tories or his national service anytime soon.

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Comment by: Terry on 26th May 2024 at 18:03

Comment by: Neil on 26th May 2024 at 13:55

That's incredible Neil, that they could say that on Thursday so assertively and then row back on it totally with just 72 hours, and just look at the explanation for why it's not a good idea out of their own mouths, and then as if by magic it becomes a good idea after all, 'just like that' as Tommy Cooper would have said. Breathtaking incompetence.

Worrying signs they may be looking for future young expendable cannon fodder here and nothing more.

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Comment by: Sean on 26th May 2024 at 17:51

Prepare for the next bombshell for the young from the Tories.

Tomorrow Gillian Keegan (Education Sec - I think she is) will be announcing it will be mandatory for all schools to reintroduce forcing PE showers on everyone from September if they get back in, and all boys will have to permanently do PE without ever being allowed to put a shirt on!

Well you've got to laugh haven't you.

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Comment by: Mike on 26th May 2024 at 17:45

Pierre Harrison - As there is renewed 'military' talk today, I couldn't help but think your PE teacher thought he was training raw recruits into the SAS rather than a bunch of school lads a simple PE lesson. An extraordinary way to behave, even if the lads are seeing each other in the changing room anyway with nothing on. I would not have had any respect for a teacher of mine doing that, and if that was designed to get respect in some way I can't see how it works behaving like that. That's obvious humiliation for the sake of it. Boarding schools have always been a bit different and I noticed how you played on the part where you could leave at the end of the day.

Just a word on what everyone else is talking about today. I get the feeling that this terminal Tory administration is now just end of term couldn't care less anymore and is talking any old nonsense. They now sound like a fringe party to me, and that's just what they might be about to become in a few weeks for real.

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Comment by: Paul G on 26th May 2024 at 17:23

Comment by: Stephen on 25th May 2024 at 22:41
Sunak wants to bring back national military service, forcing all 18 year olds to be conscripted for a year - Jesus wept!

Quote - "It will be compulsory to volunteer".

This actually came out of the mouth of a conservative politician serving in one of the four biggest offices of state this afternoon.

Roll on 4th July.

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Comment by: James N on 26th May 2024 at 16:38

Comment by: Nick on 1st May 2024 at 02:44

I've also got some school class photographs taken at PE just like the one you have shown here. Mine were taken in 1981 and 1982 with the boys in my PE class in the front two rows barechested with the girls behind us in the next row. In my case one of them is the school gym team and another is the school swimming team, I was on both at one point, although not at the same time. There was always an eagerness to get a group photo to show off the school. I'm barechested in both the gym and the swim photo's I have which showcase all boys this way and girls in relevant t-shirts and costumes. I was 13 in one and 14 in another.

The boys regular gym at school was taken barechested and those of us who took part in the school gym team activities out of school would also continue to do gym this way and this included when we visited another school sometimes in cross school competition which took place once a month over the year I was on the school gym team before giving it up. We turned up at another Leeds secondary school one day and changed under our own teachers supervision one end of their changing room and that school gym team was all wearing tops and we were not, and we were not allowed to either even as visitors like that. Other schools we visited had the boys gym team the same as us though. It was mostly barechested boys for gym in many schools then that I saw.

I don't have the means to leave a link to my photos because I'm not on facebook or any other means to leave a link but I appreciated being able to see yours from a few years before mine, which are in colour. I suppose what it means is that boys in school then were not meant to look upon being barechested as any issue whatsoever, even if some quietly did. If I had been bothered I'd not have joined the school gym team and volunteered to do extra.

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Comment by: Malcolm on 26th May 2024 at 15:56

I know this site and forum is not really designated for politics but I think we can make a brief exception at this point in time after this hairbrained proposal came along today out of nowhere. What are they playing at? In the context of PE discussion which has previously veered into military based terminology I think it's not unreasonable to comment on. This will certainly fire up the emotions in Alan.

I am deeply unimpressed and I was considering still giving them my vote but that's it for me if this is what they see fit to begin an election campaign on when this lot have screwed the professional army down to the bone despite being told not to. I'm appalled.

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Comment by: Declan on 26th May 2024 at 15:22

It's the Tories living in their own bubble, not the youth!


Jesus wept indeed Stephen.

A privileged rich bloke with two teenage girls wants those of us with teenage sons to have them conscripted, or is he going after the girls too with this madcap nonsense?

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Comment by: Neil on 26th May 2024 at 13:55

Comment by: Stephen on 25th May 2024 at 22:41
Sunak wants to bring back national military service,

Funny that. Because only THREE DAYS AGO on 23rd May 2024, the day after the election was called, a defence minister and this wretched government actually said the following quite clearly and unambiguously;

"The government has no current plans to introduce national service. Since 1963 when the last national servicemen were discharged, it has been the policy of successive governments that the best way of providing for the defence of our country is by maintaining professional armed forces staffed by volunteers. The demanding, increasingly technical, nature of defence today is such that we require highly trained professional men and women in our regular and reserve armed forces fully committed too giving their best in defending our country and its allies.
If potentially unwilling national service recruits were obliged to serve alongside the professional men and women of our armed forces it could damage morale, recruitment and retention and would consume professional military and naval resources. If, on the other hand, national service recruits were kept in separate units, it would be difficult to find a proper and meaningful role for them, potentially harming motivation and discipline. For all these reasons there are no plans for the restoration of any kind of national service."

Said by Andrew Murrison - Tory MP and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence People and Families.

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Comment by: Tony on 26th May 2024 at 11:56

There is now more common sense coming out of the Monster Raving Loony Party.


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Comment by: Alan on 26th May 2024 at 03:13

Comment by: Stephen on 25th May 2024 at 22:41

If Sunak hadn't lost the election by this time yesterday, he sure as hell has today. I bet this will only be for males as well. The girls, just like schoolgirls, will be spared the indignities. It is almost as if he wants to lose the election. Conscription in this country ended in 1960, and should remain in the past. Nearly 65 years in the past.

Comment by: Pierre Harrison on 25th May 2024 at 15:19

I think boarding schools, like single sex schools were, and probably still are, sadly, a magnet for paedos. I won't rehearse what I have said before (I don't want Sue to scream again), but let is hope that Chitters and the rest of the staff who encouraged him, are now safely six feet under in wooden overcoats. I can only repeat again, WHY did parents so readily accept abuse?. Were they really that naive.

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Comment by: Stephen on 25th May 2024 at 22:41

Sunak wants to bring back national military service, forcing all 18 year olds to be conscripted for a year - Jesus wept!

Better get some extra PE lessons in at school then and fast.

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Comment by: Pierre Harrison on 25th May 2024 at 15:19

Isn't it interesting Craig how the simple art of running without a top on is given such a pedestal to be put upon as a thing. I did a lot of this at school.

But what you are saying is something I can outdo for you so try this out for size. You could call it 'ultimate bareskin running' if you like, or most commonly known in the 1970s as streaking.

I was a day boarder at school from 1969 - 1975 and shared with other boys who were full time boarders. I was thankful for the chance to be collected and go home at the end of the school day. Much as I'd like to name the school and the headteacher and the PE teacher, I don't think that would be sensible as they both have quite unusual surnames and the school I went to did have a raised profile a few years ago over what I will simply describe as 'issues'. I have no idea if those people are still alive or not but I don't fancy them or anyone connected to them to see this and attempt to sue the site here or find me via it, unlikely as that might be.

I'll use our PE teachers nickname in this case, 'Chitters'. A PE teacher who let's say was not in the first flush of youth and near the end of his PE teaching career when I had him, a tall and imposing character who rarely cracked any kind of smile. Many will know the kind I'm talking about in their own schools I am sure. Now I have no intention of turning this into another anecdote about abuse, that's not my aim here and I can see how badly that has gone down with others. But I will just tell it as it was in my school and what I saw first hand and also was involved with. Others here can then draw their own conclusions.

'Chitters' was fond of giving boys in his classes what became known as 'a special run'. This was not just what the boys called it but what the teacher himself called it and it was done with the full approval of the headmaster because one of the boys it happened to was taken to the headmasters office with me where I heard 'Chitters' use the term 'special run' directly to the headmaster who told him to go ahead and deal with it.

'A special run' was the forcing of boys to run laps around the school field with nothing on. I mean absolutely nothing as well. Naked as the day we were all born. It was often done for perceived insolence or a whole lot less. Many times just done individually with the rest watching awkwardly and very nervous laughter but sometimes in a large group of boys and it could take place in any weather. 'Chitters' gave me one of his 'special runs' on a couple of occasions during PE lessons, in a group of boys situation, not alone. Many of those this happened to were in their very early teens but many were also quite a bit older and developed as well.

I remember 'Chitters' as one of those teachers who made your heart sink a little when he came into the room or on to the field with you. The amount of times I've told this story to friends and acquantances over the years since about how my PE teacher 'Chitters' made boys from eleven to sixteen like me run around the boarding school grounds completely naked for silly reasons and been met with bemused and almost disbelieving faces looking back at me, I've lost count. Perhaps the thing about this that also sticks in my mind is how none of us confronted the practice and obliged it without question, and my parents got told by me and acted like it was quite a normal thing to do, probably because we were boys at an all boys school. If my two sisters had been taught similarly by their female teachers one imagines the reaction might have been somewhat different if they'd had 'special runs' at their girls school.

I saw the comment about surnames a few comments back. I can confirm that I was only ever known by my surname 'Harrison' at school by all the teachers and my forename was rarely heard out loud and never out the mouth of 'Chitters'. Rather than building you up I think the 'Chitters' of this life set out to reduce people and diminish them. He failed in most cases including with me.

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Comment by: Craig on 24th May 2024 at 18:47

Hi Claire.

If you look back through this thread sometime earlier in the year I actually remember saying that a couple of partners of the men had asked to join us on one of the runs we did bareskins. We were okay with that and they did indeed step up to the spirit of it as decent as they could do and run along as you mentioned. It was one of our larger runs with us they did it on and I know they enjoyed themselves.

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Comment by: Claire on 24th May 2024 at 10:22


Have you ever thought of inviting females to join your group, provided of course that they remove their shirts and run in just sports bras. Now that the weather has turned warmer, there are a number of girls/young women around here running in the bare minimum.

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Comment by: Claire on 24th May 2024 at 08:10

Alan, Neil, Tony

Nothing to do with banning anybody! Just pointing out that while the site is more than adequate for its original purpose of presenting an excellent archive of photographs, adverts etc , representing 20th century English life, it is not suited for the type of threaded discussion that a small number of its exhibits has attracted over the years, leading to the extensive level of quoting and re-quoting now experienced

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Comment by: Alan on 23rd May 2024 at 16:55

Comment by: Neil on 23rd May 2024 at 01:00

"Following Tony's points earlier, what exactly are you driving at with your criticism Claire, because it's not exactly as clear to me what you are trying to say here."

I suspect what Claire wants, Neil, is for me to be banned, but she didn't quite have the courage to come out with it directly!

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