Friday, January 15, 2010


The Briggensians' Association - representing former pupils and staff of Brigg Grammar School, Sir John Nelthorpe School, Brigg Girls' High School and Brigg Sixth Form College - is to hold its 33rd Annual Dinner at Elsham Golf Club on Saturday, 20th March (7pm for 7.30pm).
Bookings are now being invited. Tickets are £18 and the closing date to apply is March 8. Cheques should be made payable to The Briggensians Association and sent to Sir John Nelthorpe Upper School, Grammar School Road, Brigg.
Guest speaker will be Peter Laurence, who was a pupil at BGS from 1964 to 1971, travelling in from Scunthorpe every day on the 114 school bus. An enjoyable and too leisurely Sixth Form existence was rounded off by an uncharacteristic burst of intensive (re)vision, when he surprised himself - and his teachers; English (Ken Miles), French (Vernon Atkin) and History Nick Lyons and ‘Eddie’ Jackson; by doing well enough at A-Level to go on to study history at Warwick University.
A PGCE in Birmingham followed, and Peter had his first experience of comprehensive school teaching, loved it, but decided to work abroad before committing himself to a
teaching career in England. He was employed by The British Council as a peripatetic
teacher of English as a foreign language in Rauma, Finland, working with school pupils, shipyard and pulp-mill workers, bank staff and private students, travelling from lesson to lesson on a bicycle. Not much fun in -25C weather.
After returning from Finland in 1975 Peter taught History at Yarborough High School
in Lincoln and then worked in schools in Leeds and Calderdale - as Head of History,
Head of House, and as a Deputy Headteacher.
He has been Principal of Brigshaw High School and Language College since 1997.
Brigshaw is a large high school of more than 1400 students and 160 staff in outer East Leeds. There is a strong community dimension, and Brigshaw is part of a 'federation' with eight local primary schools.
Peter has been fortunate to have had opportunities beyond his own school over recent
years - for example as the Yorkshire and Humber regional adviser for school workforce reform between 2004 and 2006, and most recently as a consultant Headteacher working with Education Leeds in its leadership development and succession planning work, and in developing stronger 14-19 partnerships between High Schools, FE colleges and employers.
His wife Becky works as a senior careers consultant at The University of Leeds, and they have two boys, Will (having a 'gap' year between school and going on to study Geography at Newcastle) and Tom (in Year 11). Unlike their father, they are good sportsmen.
He says: “Although the world of education has changed enormously since I left BGS, good schools have timeless characteristics - places where young people are challenged, inspired and stimulated to achieve their potential, where they are valued and aren't afraid to take risks and make mistakes, and where staff provide role models which they can learn from and respect. I was very fortunate that I went to such a school as a boy, and hope that in my own work as a teacher and a school leader I have helped to create learning environments where my students can say the same thing.”

This always proves an enjoyable event, giving the chance for old schoolmates to meet up again. It's an event I try to support each year as an ex-pupil of BGS (1967-74). There will be a raffle to help Association funds and I've been persuaded to oversee that one again, as my very small contribution to the success of the evening, many others putting in a great deal of effort to ensure things run smoothly.

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