Wednesday, February 03, 2021


Brigg had an early version of distance learning - five decades before the Coronavirus emergency.
Pupils across the UK studying online at home, using on laptops and other devices, is a major topic of conversation at present and continues to hit the headlines as Lockdown 3 progresses.
However, back in the early 1970s, Brigg Grammar School had an early forerunner - long before the age of the internet and email.
It was decided to offer an A-level course in economics for sixth formers, but this was unlike other classroom-based subjects run by the resident masters.
Instead, worksheets were produced centrally and sent through in the post by the exam board, with pupils' completing essays and other written efforts for marking.
A college lecturer came over from Scunthorpe once a week to keep an eye on progress and administer the course, which concluded with a traditional exam undertaken in BGS's old gymnasium.
We were among the pupils who gained an A-level through what was then an unusual and perhaps pioneering course for a school of this type. We can't recall whether economics continued in the same manner beyond 1973/74.
The course proved to be interesting and included the causes of inflation - very topical at the time as the UK was suffering rising prices which were accompanied by wage demands and a good deal of industrial action.
Opportunity cost was another topic - comparing what you miss out on when opting to buy goods or services.
So the opportunity cost of going to watch a Grimsby Town FC or Scunthorpe United home match was not spending money  on refreshments at Jack Clark's tuck shop on the other side of Grammar School Road, in premises which later housed the Paperlink newsagency (since converted back to a domestic house).
In many ways Brigg Grammar School (founded in 1669) was very traditional, which made the format of this A-level economics course even more surprising. The number of pupils who signed up was relatively small, but so was the sixth form at this time. The visiting lecturer must have done a pretty good job if WE passed!
Some potential employers were to be a shade surprised by A-level economics appearing on application forms.

PICTURED: Life at Brigg Grammar School as it was in the late 1960s/early 1970s. French and mathematics masters Vernon Atkin and Harold Stinson are top left, with headmaster H.B. Williams seen top right while tending his beloved garden. He lived on the premises in accommodation adjoining the resident boarding house - still in use back then for pupils whose parents could find the money. They were often prominent in business/farming or officers in the Forces  posted far and wide. Brigg Grammar School was phased out in 1976 in favour of the new Sir John Nelthorpe comprehensive, which still uses the former BGS buildings and also those on Wrawby Road which were built in the 1930s for Brigg Girls' High School.