Greenhill Grammar school, Oldham

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Mr. Gray

AN INTERVIEW BY THE EDITOR

 

It gave Greenhillians great pleasure to welcome Mr. G. Edwin Gray, our new Headmaster, to the school at Christmas.  During the short time that he has been with us he has become greatly respected both by the staff and the school alike and has also shown a deep concern and a lively interest in all the affairs of Greenhill.

Mr. Gray is a Northcountryman; he was educated at Durham School which is a public school.  He then went to the Newcastle Section of Durham University, now called King's College, Newcastle, to study for an honours Degree in Mathematics.   After gaining his degree, Mr. Gray took up a post at Woodhouse Grove School, a Methodist Direct Grant School, near Bradford.  There he taught Mathematics and English to the Senior School and was the head of the Junior Department of the school.  He held this post from 1937 until the war.

In October, 1940, Mr. Gray joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, in which he remained for five years until the end of the war. During this time he travelled widely in Britain and Europe, finishing his service in Germany.

After leaving the Army, Mr. Gray took up a post as senior Mathematics teacher at Eckington Grammar School, North Derbyshire.  He also became a House Master and the Scout Master of the school troop.  He remained at the school for twelve years and then left to become a House Master at Westfield Comprehensive School.  In 1958 he went to the Nicholas Chamberlaine Comprehensive School in Bedworth, Warwickshire, as the Deputy Headmaster, a post he held for five years before becoming the Headmaster of Greenhill Grammar School in January, 1963.

Throughout all this time Mr. Gray has shown a great practical interest in the training of youth both inside and outside school.  He has a very strong connection with the Scouting movement.  For several years he was the District Commissioner for Nuneaton in Warwickshire.  At a ceremony at Windsor Castle this year, to quote Mr. Gray's own words:  'They embarrassed me by giving me the Silver Acorn', one of the highest awards in the Scouting movement.  Mr. Gray confessed that with the increase in his commitments he hoped to hand over some of his work for Scouting.  However, it is obvious that the Scouting movement is very unwilling to lose so valuable a member.

Mr. Gray has had a very varied experience of almost all branches of Secondary Education, Public Schools, Direct Grant and Maintained Grammar Schools and Comprehensive Schools.  Mr. Gray has said that he has been impressed by the standard of Comprehensive Education, especially with regard to the success of eleven plus failures.  However, he is against the indiscriminate destruction of any good educational organisation.  He feels that the changes in education should be carefully evolved rather than caused by sudden destructive action.  He admitted that his principal fear in comprehensive education had been for the dilution of sixth form educational standards.  Recently, however, he has seen that this is not a serious danger as at his previous school three State Scholarships were awarded, including one to a boy whose application to a local Grammar School had been refused.

Of the school, Mr. Gray said that Greenhill has built up a 'wonderful tradition' and has a very loyal staff.  As a Northerner he was very pleased to return to the North after several years in the Midlands.  Mr. Gray paid tribute to the Prefects of the school who he said displayed the same spirit of kindness and helpfulness that both he and his wife had also found in their church and in the town in general.

To Mr. Gray, who is obviously more interested in people than in material things, this warmth of spirit is far more important than an old school building.  'It is not the building but the people in it who make a successful and happy school' has often been heard within the walls of Greenhill.  However, to Mr. Gray these are not merely empty words.  Under his guidance and with his encouragement I am convinced that Mr. Gray will prove them true at Greenhill.

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