- Page 74 - Sep 2013 thru Feb 2014 -
- Page 74 - Sep 2013 thru Feb 2014 -
Lack of space prevents our including the following
items on the main News Page, but here are some interesting
events/comments from the past several months.
Grant Harrison (JRGS 1959-66) reports the sad death of alumnus Derek Smith...
have just heard of the tragic suicide of Derek Smith (JRGS
1959-65) - pictured right - who died on a Dorset beach on the
9th of December. Here is an
online report posted four days later. Click on the thumbnail to view
a larger image of Derek playing one of his "unusual" instruments.
ML adds: The online news item reads as follows:
The Amazing Mr. Smith dies - Musical comic found at foot of cliffs.
Eccentric musical comedian The Amazing Mr. Smith has been found dead on
a Dorset beach.
I recall that Derek secured three A-Levels
in Chemistry, Zoology and Physics, and won an Advance Level Prize in
Chemistry during the September 1965 Speech Day. He went on to secure a BSc degree in biochemistry
with second-class honors from The University of Bristol in 1970, and became a
biochemist at the Wellcome Foundation in Beckenham, Kent. He was married
to Vivian (Viva) until her death in 2009; the couple had one daughter.
John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) adds:
Very sad news. Derek was a funny and serious chap at the same time. His
wit and wisdom kept many of us amused in the long hours of battling the
likes of Mr. Rees and Mr. Cornwell, two teachers
diametrically opposed in their behaviour but united in their desire to
torture us in Latin lessons. He knew how to get the "best" out of the
latter and was adept at remembering some of the
expressions used by Mr. Cornwell. So much so that he kept a record
of them, ably assisted by the likes of Grant Harrison and Paul Graham.
Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) adds:
I'll really shocked. Derek was a great guy and I can only echo all that
Grant has said. I'm glad I took the opportunity to see him and speak to
him after a Windsor gig - the first time for nearly 40 years.
Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) adds: On 20 February, The Bournemouth Echo reported that an inquest had recorded an open verdict regarding the death of Derek Smith. The inquest heard that Derek had a history of depression and had been suffering severe pain following dental surgery. The assistant coroner for Dorset, Stephen Nicholls, said: "Having looked at the evidence in this case, I am going to return an open verdict because I am not satisfied on the evidence I have before me that Mr. Smith intended to take his own life." Derek's daughter Rosie said she would be making further enquiries as to why no evidence was presented about the drugs prescribed to her father, including one with known links to suicide.
Russell Ead (JRGS 1959-66) celebrated his 66th Birthday in mid-January...
Russell Ead, Marple, Stockport, Cheshire, February 2014 Email.
Dave Anderson (JRGS 1964-71) discovers two videos about The Windmill...
A belated Happy New Year to The Alumni from a very
wet (saturated) Hampshire. So much rain and it's not stopping anytime
I wonder how did the
photographer get these shots? A hot-air balloon, or maybe a drone?
David Anderson, Southampton, Hants, February 2014 Email.
Paul Graham (JRGS 1959-66) shares images from his recent wedding to Jane...
Paul Graham, Iver, Bucks, December 2013 Email.
Anne Smith (JRHS/JRC teacher/principal 1970-99) reads Ofsted Report on College...
A recent report from
Ofsted - the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and
Skills, which inspects and regulates services that care for children and
young people - was favourably disposed to John Ruskin College.
(By the way, I am now the College's Vice-Chair and Safeguarding Governor.)
The 12-page report lists several attributes, including:
● The college’s overall success rates have improved rapidly and are significantly higher than the national average for similar colleges.
● Learners make good, and often excellent, progress from mostly low starting points.
● Learners develop a positive attitude to learning. They are consistently punctual for lessons, attendance rates are high and behaviour is consistently very good.
● Teaching, learning and assessment are excellent. Teachers focus well on the needs of individual learners and are highly effective in motivating them to achieve their potential.
● The development of learners’ knowledge and skills is outstanding as reflected in the high quality of their written work, well developed practical skills, their competent use of specialist vocabulary and ability to work independently.
● Support and guidance are excellent and are valued by learners who consequently make good, and often excellent, progress.
● The promotion of equality and diversity is highly effective, resulting in an inclusive learning environment which supports individual learners’ needs exceptionally well. Achievements gaps have been eliminated.
● The effectiveness of leadership and management is outstanding at all levels and has transformed the college, providing excellent opportunities for learners to achieve.
● The Principal and senior leaders maintain a constant focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning. Curriculum managers and teachers work together very well and are highly proactive in finding solutions to bring about improvements.
● Quality assurance arrangements are rigorous and performance management is highly effective in raising standards.
● The Principal and managers actively seek the views of learners to inform developments and regularly involve learners in decision making.
In terms of possible improvements, the report suggests further developing learners’ skills in English and mathematics, and ensuring that learners gain qualifications, as well as continuing to share good practice to ensure that the quality of teaching, learning and assessment is consistently of a high standard and meets the needs of all learners on all programmes. Finally, the report suggests developing links with employers to maximise opportunities for learning and for developing learners’ employability skills.
Overall, the College's effectiveness of leadership and management is described as "Outstanding."
John Ruskin College, located in the former John Newnham Selective School's premises in Selsdon, Surrey, is a sixth-form college that offers only vocational programmes, with approximately 760 full-time and 157 part-time learners; the current principal/CEO is Tim Eyton-Jones. So if any alumni are local employers, and would like to find out more about the college and what they may be able to do in partnership, do contact the principal.
Anne Smith, Croydon, Surrey November 2013 Email
Graham Browne (JRGS 1955-58) recalls school life & teachers in the late-Fifties...
I recently stumbled
across the web site and was delighted to see the pictures of the
masters. (I was
at JR from 1955 to 1958.)
Graham Browne, Cranage, Cheshire, November 2013 Email
ML adds: Maybe Neville Graham, who trained at Loughborough College, and joined JRGS in September 1957 from St. Aidan's Grammar School, Sunderland, was Mr. S.E. Murray's replacement as PE teacher?
Ian Macdonald (JRGS 1958-65) updates plans for a JRGS Reunion later this month...
Further to a recent
on The Mill about renovations to The Surprise pub on Upper
Shirley Road, which has now opened as a fish & chips restaurant, I am
willing to co-ordinate a small reunion there on Saturday, 28th of
September. My wife and I live down the road from The Surprise,
and so are easy to reach.
Ian Macdonald, Shirley, Surrey, September 2013 Email
A full list of archived News/Events Pages can be found here.
The content of this web site is provided for informational purposes only, and is subject to change without notice. The JRGS Alumni Society makes no representation about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the content of this web site, nor the results to be obtained from using any part of such content.
Please send any messages and memorabilia to
©2021 JRGS Alumni Society. All Rights Reserved. Last revised: 01.01.21