Stoke Secondary Modern School for Girls. Briton Road, Coventry
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School Cloth Badge.
Briton Road (date of picture unknown) The wall and front of the school are visible.
Jan 10th 1876 Stoke Board School, Briton Road, Coventry was opened.
Stoke Board School 1897
1908 Stoke district was giving concern with 3,563 places available in schools (Elementary, Senior etc) serving the area but with 3,785 children on the register. The addition of a third department at Stoke Council School was approved and to give a small measure of relief, the Sunday school room at the Congregational Church in Walsgrave Road was hired for school purposes in 1909.
1911 Stoke Senior School had accommodation for 364. On register 423
1912 Stoke school was enlarged with an additional department- this gave 793 new places
1931 On January 1st Stoke was reorganized into Infants, Junior, Senior Boys and Senior Girls. At the time there were 492 girls on the roll of the Senior Girls’ School. Some pupils were accommodated in Army huts.
1947 There were 844 children on the roll of Ravensdale School so the school was split into separate Junior and Infant departments. Numbers continued to grow and in 1951 there were 761 Juniors and 509 Infants. This expansion put strong pressure on Stoke Secondary Schools only eased by the opening of Lyng Hall Comprehensive in 1956.
1966 Stoke Secondary Girls’ and Boys’ Schools were merged and called Stoke Secondary School. Miss D.M. Parncutt resigned her position as head of the Girls’ School and became headmistress of the new Abbey High School, Kenilworth. The headmaster of the Boys’ school, Mr. S.H.Bonham
1972 It was estimated that only 8% of the secondary population would be attending secondary modern schools it was decided to close Stoke and several other schools their buildings used as annexes to some of the comprehensive schools.
1975 Almost on its 100th anniversary the Infants’ School moved into the former secondary school buildings nearby.
from School Logbook
(Researched by Anne Scotcher at Coventry History Centre)
December 2nd 1912 Stoke Council Girls’ School opened as a separate department. Ada J. Walsgrove- headteacher. Misses Hockney, Hardwick, Sidwell, Foster, Fallows, Bailey, Wyles as staff. Number of girls-384.
September 29th 1925 There followed a list of teachers who had to administer corporal punishment if absolutely necessary.
January 7th 1931 The school itself was reorganised, it became the Senior Girls’ Department, Stoke Council School. Annie F. Hodierne became headmistress. 354 girls present.
October 1st 1936 Miss Hodierne retired. Miss Hilda Peek became headmistress (she was previously head of Wheatley Street School).
September 1st 1939 All mistresses recalled from their holidays. They had to evacuate on Sunday September 3rd. The 72 evacuated girls were divided into two groups. The larger group went to Fenny Compton and the smaller group to North End, Burton Dassett. Both are villages near Southam in Warwickshire, approximately 8 miles north of Banbury. Gradually they drifted back to Coventry. The children who stayed had to enrol on a voluntary basis. Part of the school site became an air raid shelter.
April 21st 1944 The school sent a telegram to Princess Elizabeth to congratulate her on her 18th birthday.
August 14th 1944 15 evacuees from London and the south of England were admitted to the school.
September 5th 1950 Miss Dorothy M. Parncutt became headmistress (510 girls on roll at that time). On retiring, Miss Peek expressed a wish that Miss Parncutt would be as happy as she herself had been in the post.
April 9th 1965 Miss Parncutt left the school to become headmistress of Abbey high School, Kenilworth. The girls presented her with a picnic basket. Mrs McDermott became acting head.
1st September 1966 to 13th July 1972 Transition period for closure of the school and the transition of staff and pupils to Ernsford Grange Comprehensive School.
Miss D M Parncutt (Headteacher)
Miss Parncutt was appointed head of Stoke Girls’ in July 1952. She had been at Churchfield High School for the previous three years. Her father, Mr J. Parncutt was the former head teacher of Binley Junior School.
She resigned her position in 1965 when the Boys’ and Girls’ schools merged and became head of the new Abbey High School, Kenilworth.
An article in the Coventry Telegraph in 2002 mentioned Miss Parncutt, then aged 86, living in Ford’s Hospital (a historic alms house founded in 1592 for ‘older retired persons, living in Coventry and of limited income’).
She died in 2006.
She was one of the ‘five inspirational Coventry teachers who helped shaped education in the city’ in a Coventry Evening Telegraph article in 2015. Read the article.
‘Who’s Who’ from Coventry Evening Telegraph 1960s
Members of Staff
Staff of June 1962
Back row-L to R Mr Griffiths Miss Fielding? Mrs Hill Mr Longman Mrs Butcher Miss Harris Miss Woodford Mrs Smith
Middle row- L to R Mrs Law ? Mrs Frank Miss Jones Miss Rose Mrs Adams ? Mrs Williams ? Mr Tingle
Front row L to R Miss Mansfield ? Mrs Green Mrs Clarke Miss Abbot Miss Parncutt Mrs Hutton Miss Barker ? Mrs Hanney
Staff of 1965
2008 Interview with Mr Griffiths (Geography) and Miss Harris (Music) (now Mrs Griffiths)
Mr Griffiths taught Geography at Stoke until the school amalgamated with the boys’ school in 1966. He described his time at Stoke as happy because he met his wife there and he enjoyed working for Miss Parncutt. After one term at the new ‘mixed’ school, he left to become Head of Geography at Coundon Court School. He retired in 1986. He is still active, playing badminton several times a week and enjoying good holidays in their caravan.
Mrs Griffiths (formerly Miss Harris) ran the choir at Stoke and in retirement is still very active in the music sphere. She accompanies a number of choirs, a Women’s institute Choir and has also played for the Coventry Male Voice Choir.
Mrs Myers (Physical Education) also went to Coundon Court School in 1966. She left there after a while to become a Deputy Head.
Miss Rose (Religious Studies 1958-1964
Miss Margaret Rose was a pupil at Stoke Girls’ from 1948-1956, becoming Head Girl. She was the first pupil to go on to teacher training. This was made possible by Miss Parncutt who introduced the opportunity for pupils to stay on and take G.C.E. courses.
After leaving Stoke she became Head of Religious Studies at Barker Butts School which eventually became a mixed school. She describes teaching boys for the first time as ‘quite an experience’ but very rewarding.
She continued to teach in Coventry through all the transition into the Comprehensive system, a traumatic time for staff and pupils.
She took early retirement in 1993 and has been a churchwarden for ten years. She has also fulfilled a long-held ambition to study art and now runs two art classes for the older generation.
She is still in contact with teachers from Stoke, Norma Law and Anita Jones.
She looks forward to meeting everyone at any future reunions.
Marguerite Green later Morgan (English)
A personal tribute to the work of this lady at Stoke School appears later in this document but a detailed history of her life can be found in her biography ‘Part of the Main’ published in 1990.
In a self-published pamphlet ‘An education for the Future’ she advocated a holistic approach to teaching and learning, one which defies compartmentalisation and inspires a unity of knowledge. She held out the imagination as the prime tool for learning, seeing the work of the classroom as 'adventures in discovery’. This ethos underpinned all her teaching and one from which all of us at Stoke benefitted.
Marguerite was an active member of the Communist Party and became a member of the Coventry Peace Council. In 1964, after her teaching career in Britain ended, she moved to the German Democratic Republic to train teachers of English.
A complete biography of Marguerite by her son Graham Stevenson can be found here. This biography tells us that Marguerite was born in Streatham, London in 1915 and died in Tywyn, Wales in 2001. Her first teaching appointment was at Stoke and before her arrival, Miss Parncutt had all the staff together and warned them that a Communist was arriving to join the staff and they should beware her influence! There is much more detail about her life on the web-site address given above.
Miss Doreen Woodford
The Coventry Telegraph for 10th December 2020 contained an obituary for Miss Doreen Woodford who was a long-standing teacher at Stoke School. She was 93 years of age.
Stoke Secondary Modern School 1924 (probably the whole school)
BACK ROW L to R Sonia Churchill Janet Stevens Sandra Davies Wendy Prothero Dilys Roberts Linda Reeves Heather Jessop Susan Cater Pat Naul Pamela Colclough Janet Thomas Dianne Tippen Christine Follows Annette Greatorex Marsha Godwin Jennifer Perring Sandra Morgan Glenys Pountney Diane Millard Julie Smallwood Sylvia Swann Joy Girling Suzanne Hopkins Linda Simpson Susan Peters Vivian Nelmes Lena Boundy Jane Hammon
FRONT ROW L to R Marlene Tyrell Myra Webster (form prefect) Wendy Barfoot Valerie Clamp Denise Francis (vice form prefect) Sheila Jeynes
1960 (4th year Commercial)
Badminton Club 1961
Centre standing Jill Hewitt
Front row L to R:
Pat Morgan Myra Webster Wendy Prothero Brenda Morgan Julie Walker Susan Corden
Many girls enjoyed a few days at Lilleshall, Shropshire (now the National Sports Centre) playing hockey and netball.
Coventry Evening Telegraph 1958
Lilleshall Sports Trip 1959/60
CLASS OF 1962
In 1962 a group of girls from Stoke Secondary Modern School, Briton Road, Coventry took their ‘O’ Levels and left school. They owed a great deal to the dedication, example and skilled teaching of one particular teacher, Marguerite Green (later Morgan), who opened their eyes to the world and the possibilities available to them. She gave them an interest in literature, theatre and the arts, helped to enlighten their views on politics and the world, encouraged their critical faculties, and made them proud of their status as women.
Pam Hill (now Garner) from Canada, Valann Lester from Argentina and Pauline Drew (now Cheeseman) from London decided to try to locate other members of the class of ’62 They advertised in the Coventry Telegraph and Rugby Advertiser. They not only located the rest of the class of ’62 but were fortunate enough to find other school friends of the same year-group who had either left school at an earlier stage or were in different classes. Ten more names were added to the ‘list’. Two more ex-pupils got in touch who were in different years but remembered some of the faces in the photograph. A reunion was held at Coombe Abbey Hotel, Coventry on Saturday 5th August 2006 at which the following 14 ‘old’ friends were present.
Pauline Cheeseman (Drew)
Gillian Mulrooney (Hayes)
Madeline Cole (Cooke)
Avril Osborne (Lydiate)
Jennifer Evans (Perring)
Patricia Rice (McGhee)
Pamela Garner (Hill)
Dianne Richards (Tippen)
Lesley Jones (Cowlishaw)
Anne Scotcher (Owen)
Janice Mathias (Palmer)
Dorothy West (Spencer)
The following were unable to attend: Mary Marshall (Blunn), Noreen Bowden (Pears), Susan Hale (Peters), Jacquie Meffen (Warnock) and in spirit, Marsha Griffith who sadly died of cancer at the age of 42.
Back row L to R Pat Avril Val Pam Janice Jennifer Lesley Dianne Dorothy
Front row L to R Anne Pauline Gillian Madeline Anne
A reunion of sixteen ‘girls’ from the school met at Brandon Hall, Coventry on 10th August.
Pleasingly, more people had heard about the group and expressed a wish to come. There was quite an international feel because Jacquie Meffen (Warnock) came from Canada as did Pamela Garner (Hill) and Valann Lester travelled from Argentina. Seven people still live in the Coventry area, but the others are spread all around the U.K.
Back row LtoR Pauline Anne Jacquie Jennifer Dianne Maureen Irene Valann Lesley Pat Dorothy Pam
Front row LtoR Madeline Janice Gillian Anne
New names from last reunion Jacqueline (Warnock) Meffen, Maureen (Jensen) Poole, Irene (McCartney) Clements.
On July 11th a reunion was held at Brandon Hall Hotel, Coventry. 18 former pupils attended and, for the first time, three members of staff, Mr Griffiths (Geography), Mrs Griffiths, formerly Miss Harris (Music) and Miss Rose (RE). Goodwill messages were received from New Zealand and Canada.
Back Row (LtoR) Dorothy West Valann Lester Mr Griffiths Pamela Garner Anne Scotcher Dianne Richards Patricia Rice Maureen Poole Jennifer Evans
Middle Row Monica Pickering Tricia Forton Mrs Griffiths Sheila Torrens Irene Clements Pauline Cheeseman Dilys Lees
Front Row Jane Hirons Miss Rose Janice Matthias Gill Mulrooney Anne Tilley
On 12th August 2012 nineteen past pupils and two teachers of Stoke Secondary Modern Girls’ School met for a reunion at Brandon Hall Hotel, Coventry.
Those attending were Maureen Poole (Jenson), Patricia Rice (McGhee), Anne Tilley (Scott), Anne Scotcher (Owen), Irene McCartney (Clements), Janice Mathias (Palmer), Dianne Richards (Tippen), Monica Pickering (Green), Jacquie Warnock (Meffen), Dorothy West (Spencer), Lesley Jones (Cowlishaw), Pauline Cheeseman (Drew), Pamela Garner (Hill), Gillian Mulrooney (Hayes), Valann Lester, Jane Hirons (Hammon), Christine Ivers (Sumner), James Griffiths (Geography teacher) and Brenda Griffiths (Music teacher).
Pamela and Jacquie came from Canada and Valann from Argentina.
Greetings were sent from Mary Marshall (Blunn) in New Zealand and Margaret Glover (Mason) in Canada.
It was a very happy and successful occasion. Flowers and thanks were presented to the organizers, Maureen, Anne and Trish. Also to Dorothy West who created the school web-site. The next reunion is planned for two years’ time. Those interested in coming should contact Dorothy via the website.
Pauline Cheeseman who organised the event was thanked and presented with a bouquet of flowers.
A reunion was held on July 30th 2017 at Brandon Hall Hotel,
Left to Right: Pauline Cheeseman, Anne Scotcher, Maureen Poole, Jane Hirons, Gill Mulrooney, Jan Beach, Dorothy West, Dianne Richards, Monica Pickering, Jenny Evans, Valann Lester, Trish Rice, Anne Tilley, Griff and Brenda Griffiths.
We were very pleased to welcome Jan who came for the first time, and also to celebrate the recent marriage of Pauline.
The sun shone, the food was delicious and the occasion, joyous.
Fourteen “old” girls met at Brandon Hall Hotel, Coventry, on
29 July 2018 for a reunion organised once again by Pauline Cheeseman.
Left to Right: Lesley Jones (Cowlishaw), Jennifer Evans (Perring), Dianne Richards (Tippen), Monica Pickering (Green), Jane Hirons (Hammon), Gill Mulrooney (Hayes), Sheila Wilson (Clewlow), Dorothy West (Spencer), Pam Garner (Hill), Valann Lester, Anne Tilley (Scott), Maureen Poole (Jensen) and Pauline Cheeseman (Drew). Anne Scotcher (Owen), not in the photo, also attended.
It was a very happy occasion with a delicious lunch. A highlight of the day was the news that Anne Tilley is to feature in a BBC 2 series “A Passage to Britain”.
On Sunday 21st July 2019 fourteen former pupils and staff of Stoke Secondary Modern Girls’ school attended a reunion at Brandon Hall Hotel Coventry. Those present were Jenny Evans, Gill Mulrooney, Monica Pickering, Anne Scotcher, Sheila Wilson, Trish Rice, James Griffiths, Valann Lester, Dianne Richards, Brenda Griffiths, Maureen Poole, Dorothy West, Anne Tilley and Pauline Cheeseman.
It was a very happy occasion enjoying a delicious lunch and sharing memories of schooldays and news from the past year. The occasion was extra special because former Geography teacher, James Griffiths, had recently celebrated his 90th birthday.
Brenda Griffiths, also a former teacher, in an entertaining
speech gave thanks to Pauline for once again, organising the reunion.
Reunions are likely to take place annually and any former Stoke girls would be very welcome.
I am grateful for information and pictures from Rayanne Byatt of the Coventry History Centre, Pauline Cheeseman, Ann Divine, James and Brenda Griffiths, Jane Hammon, Maureen Poole, Dianne Richards, Anne Scotcher, Rosalie Thomas and Rita Titcumb.
This archive is by no means complete and I would be pleased to include any further resources you may like to send me.
Dorothy West (Spencer) 7 January 2021