Burnley Grammar School

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Burnley Grammar School
Burnley Grammar School
Year: 1959
Views: 1,409,691
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: Alan on 31st March 2024 at 10:59

Comment by: Janet on 31st March 2024 at 04:11

"....2. PE teachers are well within their rights to tell a class they want it done in bare chests."....



"...I was a physical education teacher for 19 years in the 70s, 80s and 90s, ... at secondary level and boys (11-15) were always asked under any teacher, either male or female like me to do so without a shirt inside the school sports hall in the secondary school I worked at from 1979 to 1987..."


Don't try to sugar the pill, Janet. They were TOLD, by your own admission, not "asked".

Honesty is the best policy

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Comment by: Janet on 31st March 2024 at 04:11

1. Bare chests in physical education classes are perfectly normal and okay.
2. PE teachers are well within their rights to tell a class they want it done in bare chests.
3. It's okay to feel a bit anxious but it doesn't mean you don't do something.
4. The more you do it the easier it gets, very quickly.


I was a physical education teacher for 19 years in the 70s, 80s and 90s, covering 1976-95. In that time I took boys and girls primary and secondary classes each week in the school sports hall with boys only, as well as girls only, at secondary level and boys (11-15) were always asked under any teacher, either male or female like me to do so without a shirt inside the school sports hall in the secondary school I worked at from 1979 to 1987.

Between 1976-79 I worked at a primary school and took boys PE, girls PE and mixed PE, once again boys (8-11) took much of the gym PE with a bare chest. In this school I also had access all areas when required. Both schools required showering after PE for everyone. Male teachers supervised boys at secondary, I was able to do so at primary. There were no complaints.

Protests were minimal on the subject of doing physical education classes in bare chests.

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Comment by: Alan on 31st March 2024 at 03:51

Comment by: Tony on 30th March 2024 at 21:23

"I was playing devil's advocate with my comment Alan, that's all."


OK, Tony - if you say so, only I bound to say it didn't read that way to me.

At least you didn't come out with quasi civil servant-ese about "safeguarding", which Tommy did - I was almost expecting other jargon like "best practice" which I always find especially otiose (does anybody advocate "worst practice"?) and of course when things do go wrong - as they invariably do - the classic "lessons will be learned". Except that they never are, because the same situations crop up with depressing regularity, especially in the area of child welfare. You only have to read national and local newspapers to see that every week.

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Comment by: Mike (lurker, not regular poster) on 30th March 2024 at 21:35

Re Kieran on 29th March 2024 at 22:15

"I used to go for walks bare chested... There was definitely something fun, earthy and a bit daring about doing so that I liked, plus the feel of it generally." - apologies if going too far off-topic but what made you stop?

I've also been following Craig's comments about the bareskin running group and more recently Jamie Pearson's on the 28th. All sound very positive. Tempted to give it a go myself as I'm guessing there's also benefits to confidence and mental health as well as physical.

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Comment by: Tony on 30th March 2024 at 21:23

Comment by: Alan on 30th March 2024 at 15:33
The old "discipline" argument, eh, Tony?, trotted out as an excuse for bare-chested P.E.



I was playing devil's advocate with my comment Alan, that's all.

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Comment by: Alan on 30th March 2024 at 20:40

Comment by: Tommy on 30th March 2024 at 15:15
Dear me, some dispiriting posts from someone on here. Suggesting that gay people shouldn't be PE teachers, and then PE teachers should only be married or cohabiting men. Implying of course that single men have some suspicion about them.

"As someone who has worked professionally in safeguarding,,,,,, the remedy is robust safeguarding procedures ...."

Problem is it doesn't always work does it, Tommy? Never mind, let's all think nice left wing thoughts and everything will just magically be perfect.

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Comment by: Alan on 30th March 2024 at 15:33

Comment by: Tony on 30th March 2024 at 12:54


The old "discipline" argument, eh, Tony?, trotted out as an excuse for bare-chested P.E. Tell me, did that stop Teddy boys, skinheads, glue-sniffers of the past, or today's epidemic of knife crime, and the need for metal detector barriers in schools (certainly in London) to prevent children, some as young as 10 or 11 taking blades into school?. Uniforms as a cure for violence and delinquency?. I think not.

Of course it didn't - and hasn't. Perhaps treat children like individuals and not herd them together like prisoners, and treat them as such, and they might actually enjoy school rather than resent it - and that is the heart of the matter - kids resent the way they are treated so they hit out - usually at the wrong targets.

I get sick of all the talk of "discipline", because it just doesn't work like that anymore - if it ever did. You might cower them into submission at school (possibly), but just wait till the bell goes.

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Comment by: Tommy on 30th March 2024 at 15:15

Dear me, some dispiriting posts from someone on here. Suggesting that gay people shouldn't be PE teachers, and then PE teachers should only be married or cohabiting men. Implying of course that single men have some suspicion about them.

As someone who has worked professionally in safeguarding as well as these views being repugnant stereotypes, they are also tosh. People to be concerned about come from all states of attachment, and the remedy is robust safeguarding procedures and not resorting to stereotyping from decades ago, that never worked anyway.

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Comment by: Arthur on 30th March 2024 at 14:12

Comment by: Alan on 30th March 2024 at 05:27
"I totally agree with you, Kieran, and have been saying this for years."


Maybe if you were as persistent with your PE teachers at school as you are on this website over the issues you dislike you might have managed to bore them into submission and got your way.

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Comment by: Tony on 30th March 2024 at 12:54

Logic says that it should make no difference if someone is wearing a red shirt, someone else is in a blue vest and another is in a bare chest, but I think getting everyone just the same, such as in the picture depicting this forum here, is that it promotes a disciplined and well managed approach where nobody stands out as better or worse than the others and is simply a case of a level playing field, literally as far as school attire is concerned. It was rarely any different in my school PE gym.

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Comment by: Alan on 30th March 2024 at 05:27

Comment by: Kieran on 29th March 2024 at 22:15
In response to Craig and also Jamie.

"...When I saw the recent survey from Nathan Hind on here I just wondered why make such a fuss in the first place, as the easiest thing would surely be to let those who like doing PE in bare chests to do so if they want and those who don't like baring their chests just stick the school vest or tshirt on top and cover up, keeping everyone happy. Why does everyone in a PE lesson have to look the same as each other?"

I totally agree with you, Kieran, and have been saying this for years.

We are constantly told that this is the era of the individualist, yet the backwards education system in this tight little island continues to want to turn out a human conveyor belt of identical human beings. We are not identical, we are all individuals.

A few weeks ago somebody posted a piece of video from the early 1980s from an American school, some were STTW some had shirts, some had singlets, but there was no great variation in performance and the teacher seemed quite laid back about it,. Time Britain entered the 21st century, and catch up with that American school of over 40 years ago.

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Comment by: Kieran on 29th March 2024 at 22:15

In response to Craig and also Jamie.

I used to go for walks bare chested. I used to leave my home, usually around 8:30-9 am weekends and walk for about 3 miles from my home. The total walk was about 60 minutes or so. Sometimes, I would walk down the middle of the street past my neighbours like it on a frosty morning. I would wear walking shoes so I could move fast. Many times I would do this in quite cold weather. It was great. I had a lady friend that was eccentric and a bit older than me and we would walk some days together. She knew I liked doing this. Sometimes, I would take the Tshirt incase I wanted it on along the way but mostly I never took anything with me to put on my chest. She would chuckle at me sometimes while we walked. I would sometimes drive to Starbucks when it opened at 5am wearing no tshirt and then go for a run like that before the working day if it was warm then sit outside and sip my moca shirtless. There was definitely something fun, earthy and a bit daring about doing so that I liked, plus the feel of it generally.

I think it helped with my own inherent shyness I suffered at school on the issue. I determined to overcome being weird about going bare chested. I was only early 20's when I was doing this in the late 90's long before this current bareskin craze got going. By the time I'd got to my early twenties I really regretted being so shy and awkward in school over things to do with PE like having to remove my shirt for the teacher and be a bare chested skin during PE.

I think there are a lot of shy and awkward teenagers in school out there and were in the past like me who a few years later ended up completely different to their school days once they were behind them.

When I saw the recent survey from Nathan Hind on here I just wondered why make such a fuss in the first place, as the easiest thing would surely be to let those who like doing PE in bare chests to do so if they want and those who don't like baring their chests just stick the school vest or tshirt on top and cover up, keeping everyone happy. Why does everyone in a PE lesson have to look the same as each other?

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Comment by: Alan on 29th March 2024 at 05:05

Comment by: Neil on 28th March 2024 at 23:41


Serious question, Neil: Do you think we should just forget about what these men did?. It was a long time ago - let's forget all about it. It couldn't happen now, - could it?

The sad fact is, it probably does happen now - it is just that many people affected by it do not speak up about it while it is happening out of embarrassment, or feeling they will be seen as weak or fear they won't be believed. There also seems to be a view that boys are fair game - there would be howls of outrage if male teachers did what they did to girls. There would certainly be harsher prison sentences meeted out.

We hear of Nicky Campbell and Earl Spencer because they are well known. It happened - and probably still happens to people we have never heard of.

Sweeping it under the carpet, or wishing it would go away is not an adequate answer.

As we have seen, even when some of these old monsters do get caught, the punishments - assuming there is one - are woefully inadequate for all the damage they have done. Pleading old age for something you did when you were not old and frail is the refuge of the coward and it is noticeable they do not even show contrition.

What is your answer, Neil?.

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Comment by: Neil on 28th March 2024 at 23:41

Alan, I plead with you to stop repeating the exact same argument on here on the abuse issue.

Why are you unable to let go of it?

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Comment by: Stephen on 28th March 2024 at 23:35

Comment by: Jamie Pearson on 28th March 2024 at 17:27
I've been lurking reading this thread and reading your comments with great interest Craig for the past few months.

Your hugely impressive and positive sounding posts have inspired me to set up my own little bareskin group too with a pair of friends, so we have three in our group set up a couple of weeks ago and one of them has decided to look into doing a social media group maybe on facebook with it too, but I set up our little one on Whatsapp like you have done, with a view to doing some of this throughout the hopefully decent summer ahead.




I agree it's good to read some positive comment around the whole issue of physical exercise even with adults and how wonderful you feel inspired and inclined to give bare chested running a go considering your own admission of feeling nervous as a schoolboy at the prospect. In the end it's down to not being scared of your own self and body isn't it. It does nobody any good to be overly cossetted from such things in school in my opinion, you learn nothing about yourself and will never break free of fears if you are.

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Comment by: Terry on 28th March 2024 at 23:12

Comment by: Tanya on 27th March 2024
I don't agree with the title of the article, which is ridiculous - "Swimming In Gym Class Is A Terrible Idea. Let's Stop Forcing Kids To Do It".



I really did dislike the headline on the article here. Swimming in PE is not a terrible idea at all. It's a very good idea and the younger the better. I often wonder why I was eleven years old before I even got my first chance to go swimming in school. We should be getting taken to the pool to swim and learn within our first couple of years in school shouldn't we? There should not be 14 year olds in school going to the pool who still cannot swim at least a couple of lengths of breast stroke easily. I don't think anybody should be given a get out from going swimming at school.

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Comment by: Jamie Pearson on 28th March 2024 at 17:27

Comment by: Craig on 26th March 2024 at 23:37
I've got another two men ask to join our bareskin running whatsapp group over the last weekend, taking our count to 32 now, and we are at 22 takers for our Easter Monday run next week as things stand tonight. Both our latest ones to join are quite young, just middle 20s.




I've been lurking reading this thread and reading your comments with great interest Craig for the past few months.

Your hugely impressive and positive sounding posts have inspired me to set up my own little bareskin group too with a pair of friends, so we have three in our group set up a couple of weeks ago and one of them has decided to look into doing a social media group maybe on facebook with it too, but I set up our little one on Whatsapp like you have done, with a view to doing some of this throughout the hopefully decent summer ahead. All three of us took our first run together last Sunday afternoon in a quiet area and found it to be quite an exhilarating experience. I'm 38, the others are 41 and 45 and have been 'normal' runners for a while already. Now we've done it once it has made me wonder why it took so long to discover this possibility.

I used to get a bit nervous in school when I had to take my shirt off sometimes for PE lessons like shirts v skins and waiting to discover which you would end up being, or the teacher just deciding all the class goes shirtless sometimes.

I live in Shepton Mallet in Somerset which has some great running opportunities locally to go running like this off the beaten track.

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Comment by: Alan on 28th March 2024 at 15:38

Comment by: Ethan on 28th March 2024 at 13:16


I am not Jewish myself, but I believe one of the tenets of Judaism is "an eye for an eye".

These three, now elderly men, in their heyday inflicted unimaginable physical and mental pain on boys as young as 10 to young men of 17, two of them ran away to South Africa to evade justice and are intent on fighting extradition to Scotland, by the courts of that country, and no doubt imagine and hope that death gets them before the law does. This to me, confirms their guilt. The one found guilty yesterday, might not have even been in court to hear the judges remarks, hiding behind the age old excuse of infirmity.

Remember Ernest Saunders, found guilty of criminal activities in the Guiness scandal in the 1990s?. He was sentenced to a modest term of imprisonment, but got away with it by claiming that he had Alzheimers Disease. A normally fatal and incurable illness, of which he was miraculously "cured" months after his conviction. He laughed in the courts face.

Saunders, spent a weekend in Ford open prison, but these three revolting teachers have never served a day behind bars, even though they should have done.

Given all the distress and pain they caused they should have served at least a few months inside to at least partly atone for their crimes, at least as a token punishment..

Mr Campbell himself, now 62, says he constantly recalls his days from 10 up to the age of 17, and it causes him great distress, to the point where he remembers being 10 and cries on front of his wife. We hear of his case because he is famous - what about all the lads who didn't become famous, and what might have happened to them?. We will never know.

That is why I say justice has not been done.

If we are too squeamish to put old men in prison for their wrongdoing, and people like Saunders are deemed "too rich and important" to languish in prison, perhaps the answer is to make sure they get a really good thrashing in front of the people they hurt. They enjoyed dishing it out, let's see how well they can take it, even in their dotage.

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Comment by: Ethan on 28th March 2024 at 13:16

Comment by: Alan today.

I think some people do like jobs that give them self importance and an ability to show it off. I'm Jewish. Nothing showed this off better this week than the two Israeli's who survived 7th October and were heroes saving lives who on entering this country were met by an officious and antisemitic border force officer who accused them of having attitude while displaying bags of it himself and prejudice and then told them - we are the bosses here. Actually they are not the bosses, they are the servants, the public servants and they seemed to forget it.

But there's bad eggs in every profession who let the side down in a big way. I think the victims in the Campbell story are best placed to decide whether they accept the outcome in that case and if they do then that's all well and good, I don't think there is any need for those not affected to decide that it's not good enough on their behalf.

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Comment by: Alan on 28th March 2024 at 04:07

Comment by: Vaughan Williams on 27th March 2024 at 16:59
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-68679000

Thanks for publishing that VW - I saw it yesterday and was minded to do so myself, but as you might have seen, when I publish anything which suggests that not all teachers are the saints they like to pretend to be, som HW readers come down on me like a ton of bricks.

It is worth pointing out that this old wreck, "unfit to plead" (though he will probably get his telegram from the King in 11 years time) is one of three at Mr. Campbell's school, the other two (PE Masters as it goes) are in hiding in South Africa and have resisted every attempt to have them stand trial in Scotland. I think their motives for so doing are obvious.

The victims feel that "justice has been done". I am afraid I don't.

Like the redneck swimming coach, some people should just not be in the teaching profession. It is less a case they want to pass on their knowledge - such as it is, - but they want to dominate children (presumably because they haven't got the guts to do it to grown men). The selection process should be much stricter to weed out undesirables like this.

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Comment by: Orson on 27th March 2024 at 23:37

I also noticed the swimming teacher trying to throw the girl in the pool looked a bit like he needed to lose a few pounds too. I wonder what the outcome was of all that, as that was in 2014. He didn't look much like he wanted to be in the pool either did he. He wasn't dressed to be in the water and any self respecting swimming teacher should be in the water with them, not standing at the side looking down, so he was just as bad as the girl, who should of course gone into the pool when told to do so, but that didn't give the teacher any right to drag her into it.

The teacher apparently had a good record but that way of treating people is about more than just having a bad day at work I think.

When I went swimming at school everyone was always so keen to do it and I do believe everyone should be taking swim classes at some stage in school.

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Comment by: Adam B on 27th March 2024 at 18:22

Comment by: Terry on 26th March 2024 at 22:27
I believe you once said your school still takes showers after PE so I just wonder what your expectation would be for any result on that issue if you were to hold a similar survey on attitudes to that, and would you ever consider such a survey in future in that regard?




When I was in secondary school in the early 1970's the boys always had to shower together with each other after every PE lesson, in my case for my first couple of years I had three lessons each week, two gym ones in the mornings on Tuesday and Thursdays and another on a Friday afternoon outside.

Showering was a given. Boys often got sent back "to have another go" if too quick. Showers at school were nothing more than hot water, in and out. But we had a couple of boys in my class who brought soap bars in one day and asked to use them and were allowed but rapidly disallowed because they were taking too long about it with soap. So we had the quite hilarious spectacle of some boys getting sent back in to shower again because they were too quick and boys that wanted a proper shower with soap and some time to do so being told they couldn't because it was wasting time and too much hot water. You couldn't make it up really.

Now it might seem quite an incredible thing to say but remember this was now more than fifty years ago, but once in a while on Friday afternoons at the end of the week the PE teacher would jump into the shower alongside us, starkers like the rest of us when we were older boys. Nobody seemed to make a thing about it. It was obviously allowed at the time. Did anyone else have this?

Although showers in school didn't bother me too greatly, or even the teacher sharing, I certainly do remember a feeling of shock the first time I did it when I was 12 and finding myself surrounded by so many naked boys just like me and sneaking looks and comparing, it's unavoidable really. Does that initial feeling sound familiar to anyone else? But within a few goes it all becomes normalised for most.

The two gym lessons in the mornings were always taken by the same pair of teachers and the school uniform in the gym was listed as boys being a bare chest in there and so we knew where we stood on that issue from the very start and just changed into shorts and went off for PE. Many times we would wait outside the gym door waiting for a PE teacher to come along and unlock it to let us in, and stand around looking and feeling rather awkward. The gym doors were always kept locked when not in use and nobody was ever trusted to just go in there without a teacher being present. I never really understood this or the locking of the doors during the school day. Sometimes the relevant teacher could be up to ten minutes late.

In the gym we were all expected to be able to climb ropes and touch the ceiling within a certain time limit. We were also expected to be able to cartwheel and stand on our heads and all kinds of things, and jump over the horse and clear it easily, hang onto wall bars, somersault on the trampolines and be able to walk along thin wooden beams three feet off the ground without looking down at our feet and just feeling our way along with our bared feet. We also did sudden running bursts from side to side touching the walls and back again until completely exhausted with a last boy still doing so who would be the winner. That was quite competitive. Boys were very tactile in the gym lessons and often grouped or paired in to tasks involving direct contact with each other, pulling, lifting, holding, you name it. We had to learn how to easily pick someone else up and hold him across our shoulders at one point, and some smaller boys had to do this with some bigger boys. Our teacher showed us the technique. We had a lesson where we circled the gym and did a lap with half the boys holding the other half, lifted up. It might have been good practice for anyone considering becoming a fireman.

When we played games against each other like basketball there was a blue or red ribbon you got to hand diagonally across your chest over one shoulder and down across the bare chest to signify your team.

Outside we did cross country all year round. I have no idea how far we ran on these, but they took up most of the hour or so at steady pace but we always broke up into smaller groups and separated along the route. It was never compulsory to run the cross country without a vest on but we were allowed to remove them if we wanted to and by the time we got back into school and ran past the PE teacher shouting out times at us as we went past often many of the boys were in bare chests on the warmer days. It is a nice feeling to run outdoors without a top and I willingly chose to do so sometimes. Once somebody removed the top along the run it had a quick knock on effect and others would follow. The gentleman on here who now does this with a group has clearly discovered and hit on a desire to do this with some people and I can understand this.

I wouldn't want to go back and change any of it much. The PE teachers would have their wilder moments with us but when it came down to it were all pretty decent guys doing their job.

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Comment by: Alan on 27th March 2024 at 17:30

Comment by: Lloyd on 27th March 2024 at 15:00


Apart from being a bully, and inflicting physical assault on the girl, he seems to be somewhat obese - he looks as if he is wearing Diane Abbott's shorts. Hardly an advertisement for the "benefits" of physical education.

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Comment by: Vaughan Williams on 27th March 2024 at 16:59

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-68679000

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Comment by: Lloyd on 27th March 2024 at 15:00

Tanya.

There's an even better news story on that here that gives more detail and opinion.

I do agree with you that swimming should not be taken out of the school curriculum, that's mad. But you don't behave like the teacher here trying to persuade someone to jump in the pool. It's worrying that someone does that with so many witnesses.

https://youtu.be/HLSgi3o6Ejw?feature=shared

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Comment by: Tanya on 27th March 2024 at 13:12

Quite something here. Two points to the ten year old article, whether to have swimming as part of school gym/PE classes and also whether the teacher in the video was guilty of abuse in forcing a girl who didn't want to go swimming, into the water. It's from a female viewpoint.

https://slate.com/culture/2014/11/swimming-in-gym-class-is-the-worst-gym-teacher-forces-student-into-pool-is-charged-with-abuse-video.html


I don't agree with the title of the article, which is ridiculous - "Swimming In Gym Class Is A Terrible Idea. Let's Stop Forcing Kids To Do It". We all did swimming at school, it's the only time many get the chance.

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Comment by: Andrew on 27th March 2024 at 02:14

Competition swimmers do not have to wear shirts so I cannot see why shirts are required for gymnastics at all. Today’s society tries hard to stop men being men, more people within gymnastics need to challenge the totally unnecessary rules which require athletes to wear vests and shirts.

Concerning male young adult gymnasts, if you watch them in training, nearly all of them don't wear a shirt or vest, even in warm up for competition they have their costumes rolled down and their upper body free. Only in the moment of competition the vests come up. So why not have male gymnasts shirtless for competition with long gym pants for highbar, parallel bars, pommel horse and rings and short shorts for floor and jump. Most adult gymnasts in competition actually want to be shirtless but are not allowed.

All PE gym lessons should be shirtless in schools. It's a positive thing and the male bare chest, adult or schoolboy, in the gym environment is meant to be seen.

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Comment by: Craig on 26th March 2024 at 23:37

I've got another two men ask to join our bareskin running whatsapp group over the last weekend, taking our count to 32 now, and we are at 22 takers for our Easter Monday run next week as things stand tonight. Both our latest ones to join are quite young, just middle 20s.

While I'm here and as I've just seen Nathan asked a question, as you have made quite the issue about bare chested PE recently and finding out views on the subject. Would you for example ever consider encouraging your own to go doing the school cross country bareskins or setting up a school club for that purpose for volunteers. I am not advocating should be made to do so against their will, only volunteers, like our group. Do you think such a thing at your school would ever gain traction if you suggested it, either as part of a regular bit of PE or set aside as a school club pastime? The health benefits are definitely there to be had.

The notable thing about our bareskins running is that nobody has joined and then gone on a run and then decided that they made a mistake doing so, everyone has done at least two or three so far.

I am aiming to get 50 members by Christmas, so have 9 months to get another 18 joining us.

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Comment by: Terry on 26th March 2024 at 22:27

You have said that the results of your recent shirtless survey were in line with your expectations Nathan. I believe you once said your school still takes showers after PE so I just wonder what your expectation would be for any result on that issue if you were to hold a similar survey on attitudes to that, and would you ever consider such a survey in future in that regard?

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Comment by: Alan on 26th March 2024 at 03:57

Comment by: Neil on 25th March 2024 at 21:10


"...Alan may disagree with my view but when you are saying that gay men and women should not be doing certain jobs such as teaching because their sexuality means they cannot be trusted to conduct themselves appropriately, .."


Neil, I think you have misread what I said. I have said several times that I have no problem with homosexual teachers per se, just NOT employing them in P.E. departments. At my school there were always rumours that our art master was homosexual, for instance, but that didn't bother me - then or now - the art teacher can't see you and watch you having a shower or taking your clothes off. That was my problem with our PE teacher, who spent far too much time in the locker and shower room, especially as you got older.

I won't rehearse my arguments for taking a hard line on this matter, nor will I apologise for it.

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