Cheltenham Grammar School

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Pate's Grammar School Arms

In 1969-1971 I attended Cheltenham Grammar School, later renamed as Pate's Grammar School, during my family's residence in the United Kingdom due to my father's employment. The school is located on Princess Elizabeth Way in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

That's "Old School"

One of things that caught my attention about the school was its antiquity! The school was founded with a fund bestowed to Corpus Christi College, Oxford by Richard Pate in 1574. So the institution itself was a little less than 400 years old when I started there in 1969. The building the school occupied (and still largely occupies, though extensively remodelled) was not old, but was completed and began accepting pupils in 1965. So it was just four years old at the time I entered its august setting!

The design of the building at the time I attended harked back to castles. There was a multi-storey octagon-shaped building housing a few classrooms, a library, and study-carrels. The carrels were in the top storey, and were under the dome of the structure. I don't know now what this stand-alone building was called, but it had a shallow moat all around it! The moat extended into the open courtyard between the main instructional rooms. Unfortunately, this domed structure no longer stands -- it was replaced by a larger building, and of course, the moat is gone.

The vanishing of the moat and its extension that went into the courtyard was probably due to water damaging the building itself.

The Old Courtyard that I remember, with the dome in the background

Boys Only? Oh my! (but no longer)

At the time I attended there it was a boys-only school, with a corresponding girls-only school called Pate's Grammar School for Girls, located in an another location in Cheltenham. Having been at two high-school level co-ed schools in California and Ontario, Canada, I might have expected it to be somewhat dismaying to have no girls around, but in reality I didn't miss them. The nice thing about the absence of girls was the corresponding lack of distraction! There were a few female teachers (referred to as "masters", just like the male teachers), but the bulk of them were men. And of course these, being "old," were not as distracting. Only one class I attended had a female teacher, and this was the extra-curricular class on computer programming, taught by a math teacher. I don't remember her name, unfortunately, but she was a very nice lady. The programming language in this case was Fortran, a language that I never had to deal with afterwards in my career as a programmer. The school became co-educational in 1986, when Pate's Grammar School for Girls merged with Cheltenham Grammar School.

My Headmasters

When I first started at CGS, the headmaster of the school was Dr. Arthur E. Bell. I admired him greatly, and he was a "proper" English gentleman -- with a bit of an eccentric bent!

Upon Dr. Bell's retirement at the end of 1970, and starting in 1971, he was replaced by a Mr. Bernard Wilkinson, who served from 1971–1983. Both Dr. Bell and Mr. Wilkinson were kind enough to provide positive reviews of my scholarship and deportment at the school to the Universities Central Council on Admissions (UCCA) when it came time to recommend pupils for further education.