In September 1967 Newcastle upon Tyne schools "went Comprehensive" and some rearrangements were necessary.

Heaton School was created by the "shotgun marriage"(press quote) between Heaton Grammar School and Heaton High School. The Headteacher of the Grammar School-Harry Askew, a perfect gentleman, became Head of the new school (in spite of famously declaring that he didn’t believe in comprehensive education) and the "redoubtable" Dr Edith Constance Henstock became his Deputy.

The new intake of 1st years (year 7) were in mixed classes and the 2nd years were remixed as one year of separate-sex education was reckoned to be unlikely to cause problems. All the other years remained in single sex classes except the 6th Forms who were mixed after 5 years of separate sex classes!!

The situation required some readjustments for both Staff and pupils. Some very amusing incidents ensued such one surprisingly naïve 3rd year (year 9) meeting a young female member of staff at Newton Road shops asking "Miss, Are you a Mistress?" She was kind enough to answer just "Yes"

(Any similar memories?)

Some perks were being able to walk to school with members of the opposite sex (previously even brothers were taboo) and entering the school by the most convenient gate.

Things settled down fairly quickly until the introduction of the Equal Opportunities Act in January 1976. A decision was made to use the same disciplinary treatment on girls as for boys on "strapping offences". Each year was told of this in Assembly - a mistake as it turned out.

Reaction to this resulted in THE RIOT. Some parents and pupils organised a walkout and informed the Media. TV cameras arrived, many pupils walked out and were encouraged to run around the playing fields.

Windows were broken and some Staff and 6th Formers were assaulted. Many Court Cases ensued and some ringleaders were expelled. The ether was buzzing on James Whale’s late night phone programmes for several weeks.

Harry Askew received literally hundreds of letters of support from as far away as USA and OZ. One teacher from London asked where he could purchase a tawse (strap).

We tried to maintain Academic standards, fairly successfully I think, but most people’s fondest memories are of "Extra curriculars"-G&S Operas, Sports Holidays and Clubs.

Heaton Manor School

In the late 70s/early 80s falling rolls in both sides of Newcastle led to the possibility of school closures. Mergers were deemed to cause lesser traumas as they involved fewer real redundancies.

Heaton Manor formed by the merger of Heaton and Manor Park Schools. The Headteacher was Peter Illingworth who had been Head of Manor Park. (Sadly this meant that Geoff Smith , Head of Heaton had to move on.)

Originally the plan was for the old Manor Park (Benton site) to be the Upper School housing Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 but it was soon realised that the accommodation was inadequate. So the unusual split of Years 7, 8, 9, 12 and 13 at the old Heaton School (Jesmond site) was decided upon.

This had some advantages-O level/later GCSE years kept separate from everybody else but there were major problems with Staff travelling.

A "Tardis" was required for transport as a phenomenon known as "zero travel" was built into the Timetable for the first year or two. This meant staff finishing a lesson at, say, 9.40am at Jesmond were supposed to be starting the next lesson at 9.40am at Benton. The 10 minute covers, which free staff had to undertake, were some times their worst times

Fun sights included a car arriving every week at the same time in a hurry and all 4 doors flying open to disgorge the whole Physics department from the other site.

The new school started off its Musical history by putting on an Opera composed by Len Young with lyrics by Mike Clark.

Called "Mine", it told the tale of the Heaton Pit Disaster, for which the memorial was the planting of trees in the Spinney, one for each life lost.

Adjustments were quite difficult for both Staff and pupils, many of whom resented being taught by "other-site" teachers. However, everything eventually settled down to make a school remembered with, I hope, affection by most Staff and pupils.

Peter Illingworth remained the Headteacher most successfully until he retired in 1997 to be replaced by Mike Nesbitt who lasted 2 terms before resigning!

The present Headteacher is John Dryden who has the formidable task of overseeing the building of the new school and the problems, which may ensue during the process.


Anyone interested in more "ancient history" of the schools which led to Heaton and Heaton Manor may like to look in . This is Dave Cowans’s site.

Success Stories

This list includes some of our ex-students who have made spectacular progress thanks to, or in spite, of our predictions for them.

Aaron Bayley

Pop Idol finalist-see "News" section.

Aftab and Afzaal Ahmed

Winners of "Young Entrepreneurs of 2001.

Have reinvented a traditional children’s game dating from 1760s.

Called "FIXITS"-3D puzzles with an animal theme.

Hilary Boulding

Director of Music Arts Council of England

Tim Cantle-Jones

One NE member for tourism. Director of Eurofest. On English Marketing Advisory Board. Has written 5 Video books for the Leisure Industry, is the Director of Polar Productions responsible for City Centre events e.g. Ice Rink at Times Square at Christmas. Responsible for the UK/S.Africa Sports Initiative when he went out to S.Africa to check the football coaching

Michael Chaplin

TV Impressario –Responsible for Monarch of the Glen.

Mike Craik

Chief Constable Northumbria Police -appointed 2005.

Chris Donald

Producer and author of Viz.

Nick Figgis

Actor. His career began when he was still at school with parts in Byker Grove and Our Friends in the North.

2002 –won a Laurence Olivier Bursary given after nomination and interview to drama students who are about to go into their 3rd year of study. Nick is studying at The Drama Centre in London. He was a band member in the film "Loss of Sexual Innocence"


Michaela Haslam

Member of the BBC Singers and singing group Synergy.


Dominic Haslam


Has been Musical Director in a Musical Workshop funded by Tim Rice and composed the Title Music for "We are History" on BBC2.

Charlie Hunnam

Star of "Queer As Folk". (Not with us for long before going to Cumbria.)

Charlie is doing very well in film work with many new offers coming in.

Starring in Nicholas Nickleby- out soon.


Joanne McIntosh

Actress- Started in Byker Grove and is progressing nicely.

Gavin Partington

TV presenter- not sure which side.

Danny Robins

Comedy actor/Writer-Involved in some of the Fringe productions at the Edinburgh Festival.

Included are "We are History", "Museum of Everything" and for 2003 "live Ghost Hunt"

Paul Rose

International Guitarist.

Rosie Rowell

Star of "Soldier, Soldier".

Emily Woof

Starred in "The Full Monty" and has had her own show.

Saffron van Zwanenberg

Opera singer.

Was RCM Rosemary Bugden Junior Fellow 1998/1999 and subsequently received a RCM Senior Award.

Has performed with Royal Academy - Don Giovanni, Burham Music Group concerts, 21st London Handel Festival Aldeburgh Festival, Cambridge Opera Society and sang the Queen of the Night part in the Snape Proms.

Memories of Staff.

Some of the comments below are taken from Dave’s website and others are from some of the Staff memories on Friends Reunited.

Harry Askew

Always the gentleman but with a sense of humour. When telling the tale of a student going to sleep in his Economics lesson pointed out that he rather thought he’d have gone to sleep himself. Wise saying, "There is no substitute for intelligence"

Jim Armstrong

Chemistry teacher with an explosive temper when provoked. Unfortunately, some pupils took advantage of this leading to them nick-naming him ‘Fitter’, a great shame as he had a pleasant sense of humour. He was a keen caravaner and had many tales of his travels.

Geoff Bailey

Totally enthusiastic Physics teacher with tremendous knowledge of the subject which he imparted with panache. Most lessons began "Now Folks----!!!". His Open Day "performances were legendary and "shocking". Those who experienced one will understand the latter description. A keen student of astronomy, he inspired an interest in others.

John (Fred) Barker

Lively teacher of Russian and a keen Rugby player with a fantastic singing voice. Became Head of Lower School where his sense of humour stood him in good stead. Watching John playing Staff football was a delight as he pulled his hands down time after time- the Rugby instinct was so strong.


Hilda Beavis

Head of Maths in the Girls’ School, she became a Year Tutor when the Comprehensive school began. She managed to get on with the boys as well as the girls and when she retired Harry’s summing up of her was "Miss Beavis you are a gem"

We all agreed. (She died 2002 aged 92)

John Bell

Dedicated teacher of History and formidable Exams Officer at Benton. Woe betide the candidate who turned up without pen or other piece of equipment. Very human and compassionate person just the same. John is now in charge of the ‘Gifted and Talented’ strand in the new school.

Keith Bell

Only Physics teacher not to be described as "mad" by at least one pupil. Sometime Assistant Head of 6th Form, now in Charge of A level Physics, he also made General Studies a viable and organised discipline.

Veronica Bird

Art teacher, recently retired. Always an enthusiastic Form Tutor. She is a well known and very talented local artist.

Alan Brown

"Mad" Maths and CDT teacher, famous for his awful jokes. Known as a teacher with tremendous enthusiasm who was really excited when completing equations on the board -thus enthusing students.

Albert Butterworth

A kind and humorous man, he was one time Head of Modern Languages. He also started General Studies as an exam subject. He speaks French like a native as one despairing resit candidate well knew- quote "It’s not fair, Mr Butterworth is taking me for my oral and HE speaks French like the French do!!!!!"

Marie Butterworth

Gladys Carr

Languages teacher who survived the boys/girls combination better than most of the longer serving women staff. A real lady, she earned respect.

Ron Cherry

Inspirational History teacher who ended his teaching career as Head of 6th Form. Everyone was either "Dear Boy" or " Darling girl". He was famous for his History tests, which started as he left the Staff Room, calling "Number 1, sweeping along the corridor to the classroom where the class would be diligently writing their answers. His Plays and Operas were directed with consummate skill and gusto-some ex-pupils who have gone on to work in the theatre have acknowledged their gratitude to the grounding he gave them.

Michael Clark

Teacher of English with boundless energy, came to Heaton as Deputy Head from Manor Park. Famous for his leather ties which he gave as prizes for good behaviour. Went on to be Headteacher at West Denton, was headhunted for a failing school in London (documentary made about his efforts). He wrote moving lyrics for an Opera and song cycles with Len Young. Sadly he drowned while scuba diving in Lanzarote.

Peter Clyde

Present Head of Biology. Generally known as a scary teacher to younger pupils, mainly for his sometimes devastating repartee, his sense of humour comes to the fore with GCSE groups and the 6th forms in particular. General knowledge quizzes enliven lessons. He has taken the Biology Department to great success in recent years.

Sue Cockle

Lively Art teacher who has since left teaching and has her own studio. She often had joint exhibitions with Veronica Bird which were a pleasure to attend.

Chris Cook

Lively Maths teacher with a reputation for telling jokes (only slightly less groan making than Alan Brown’s). Very effective in enthusing non Mathematicians to try their best. Still to be seen cycling round from site to site with a wave for all.

Tony Cressey

Head of Chemistry and later of Science before retiring.

Comments include "This Chemistry Teacher, mad as a brush." He was endlessly enthusiastic in practicals famously putting larger and larger pieces of sodium onto water to see the fun!!!!!!! His very individual way of speaking and habit of carefully considering points- "We-----ll" made him unforgettable, not to mention his lively sense of humour and ability as an "after dinner" speaker. He is now a Senior Examiner for Chemistry.

Freda Crabtree

That’s me- "Miss Exams" for many years.

Rob Cunningham

History Teacher with a great sense of humour, the ability to bring the subject alive and an unsurpassed collection of ties.

Joy Davidson

Tall, very kind French teacher who was extremely supportive of her Forms. She had some amazing tales of howlers in French orals- "J’ai cent ans!" was a good one.

John Dixon

Art Teacher whose claim to fame is telling Chris Donald of Viz "You’ll never get anywhere with those cartoons, Chris- draw properly.

Sharon Donnelly

Lively Biology teacher, now a Head of Year. Remembered with affection by those she taught-comments include "ab fab Biol teacher" and "a real canny lass."

Pete Dowson

Head of Boys PE with a heart of gold (often well hidden) and a temper like a fiend. Swore for 5 minutes without repeating himself once at a boy who had showered a girl with glass which cut her during the Riot.

Jim Dunn

Tall charismatic Physics teacher who became Assistant Head of Year before leaving to live in the Caribbean with his wife and family. He is reported to be very happy, still playing Rugby even after breaking his neck in a "lively" game.

Dave Dunston

A very lively Music teacher, he impressed pupils by telling them how he played his saxophone at the Tuxedo Princess on Fridays as a regular "spot". He was an inspiration to many but sadly left after a short time to become HoD in Durham.

Wendy Earnshaw (nee Scholey)

PE teacher who became Careers Officer and perfected an excellent regime of work experience with checks to make sure our pupils were doing their best. Every year she was congratulated.

Mary Elliot

RE teacher with a very motherly attitude to her Forms. Got on best with "little ones" as she said herself. The pupils who started with her as Form Teacher always felt welcomed into the school.

Alison Emami

Formidable Head of RE who ruled with a rod of iron. Comments include "She taught the right subject as she put the fear of God into me", "A mystery but mysteriously awesome" She always had the best interests of the pupils in mind. (Tough love???)

Ian Falconer

Geography teacher who was himself an ex pupil of Heaton. Ian was vastly enthusiastic and capable of laughing at himself and his inability to spell. The one thing he could not stand was discourtesy.

Andy Fergus

Always known as Dr Fergus, he followed Tony Cressey as Head of Chemistry. Arranged several work experience placements at British Paints for 6th Formers and helped the Science to enter and win some of the firm’s competitions.

Walter Finnie

A real gentleman who helped the merger to go as smoothly as possible and then decided to leave gracefully. His leaving speech was very witty- " I've been "O leveled, A leveled, CSEed and now I must go before I'm 16+ed."

Mary Forster (now Mrs Rayner)

Enthusiastic PE teacher- Head of Department and later Head of MAD PE Faculty (Music, Art , Drama +PE). She has a great talent for encouragement, in trampolining particularly, where her pupils have had spectacular success. An example of good stuff arriving in little bundles!

Voula Foscolo

Drama teacher with a deep brown velvet voice who always taught in bare feet. Produced many successful plays and reviews. Now lecturing in Drama at various local Universities.

Stan Fullarton

Fanatical cricketer - Head of Geography for many years. Was also caretaker Head of Sixth Form for a short time. Now travelling the world and looks just the same as ever.

Hal Gibson

Ex Heaton Grammar School pupil who came back to teach Maths and PE. Very highly thought of as a footballer –he ran many successful teams.

He rose to become Deputy Headteacher. He was so good at catching "villains" that an exam candidate spent all his/her time producing a full length cartoon on the exam desk entitled "Crime- fighter Gibson strikes again". (When Hal retired he took the desk top as a souvenir).


Sally Gilman

A lively languages teacher she is also Deputy Head of Year with a sympathetic ear for those who deserve it. She is famous for her unsurpassable collection of earrings suited for all occasions. One of her good stories is of a French oral exam when she was told by the candidate that he was wearing "un crevette bleu" (a blue prawn).

Mike Good

Immensely popular and well- loved Biology teacher, 6th Form tutor and Rugby team coach. Interested in all aspects of School life- academic, sporting and social. He was instrumental in organising the first Reunion in the joint halls with decorations, a cake and the oldest and youngest members present cutting it.

He died tragically young and an occasional day holiday had to be rearranged as the school would have had to close as so many staff and pupils intended to attend his funeral.

Anne Graham

Started her teaching career as a very young PE teacher in Heaton High School. Became Head of PE in Heaton School and was County Netball Captain for quite some time, encouraging others to follow her in the love of the game. Introduced serious Athletics to the girls’ teams with the co-operation of Ken Quickfall who allowed the girls to train on the boys’ field. (Doc H. would have had a fit if she had known.) Became Head of Sixth Form in Heaton Manor School, a post held for 11 years with great success, an essential sense of humour and immense enjoyment. Many tales could be told!!!!

( Lads mooning to celebrate end of exams, weeping girls coming for comfort to the Netball courts after ructions in A level lessons to mention but a few.)

Jean Griffiths

Came as a new teacher who seemed shy at first (described affectionately by an early pupil as "like a little mouse") but she soon showed her mettle, becoming a feisty member of staff and finally Head of English.

Mike Heckels

Lively Maths teacher who was HoD for a short while before moving on to become a Deputy Head and then Head teacher of West Denton for a time. Mike was very warm hearted, had time for everybody and had been a star of Manor Park’s social evenings.

Peter Harris

Deputy Headteacher in charge of Staff cover and with responsibility for the Timetable. With an excellent sense of humour he could tell a really good story, particularly about some of his interviews. It was wise to avoid him at the beginning of school. He is not a "morning person".


Dale Herbertson

Zany Scottish Science teacher famous for his escapades out of school. Having been asked to leave the Tuxedo Princess one evening he tried to get back by jumping on board and missed, falling into the Tyne which luckily was by then clean enough for a stomach washout to be unnecessary. He headed off home, soaked to the skin (it was Winter) but paused off for a burger in the haymarket !!!!!!!!! Awesome- he was wonderful fun.

John Henderson

Very talented footballer and PE teacher, he became Head of Upper School and ruled Benton site of Heaton Manor with great gusto. He could quell Assembly with a nod of his head or finger pointing to himself and the most rowdy element subsided. He often had an interesting turn of phrase in his anecdotes.

Sheila Hobson

Languages teacher with a "wicked" sense of humour and a keen sense of the ridiculous who became a Sixth form Tutor at the beginning of Heaton School. She actually told Mike Chaplin that she was worried about the amount of time he was spending with his Theatre interests!

A staunch supporter of educational cruises, one of her favourite sayings at any crisis was "This is the spirit that made Britain great" (not always appreciated by some poor seasick pupil). She was also convinced that a cure for all the ills of education would be for everybody to learn Latin. (Tongue in cheek ?- never sure!)


Nigel Holmes

Biology teacher who started off as "the baby of the staffroom". 10 years on, he is now a very successful Head of Year. Possessed of a lively sense of humour, he keeps his middle name secret-could it be Sherlock? The children often think so!!!

Brian Howe

Quiet, gentle Maths teacher who was also School bursar for a time. He was very proud of his local roots and was delighted to win a prize in a local leek competition. He was always ready to help even spending time teaching 6th formers after school when industrial action threatened their A levels. Left to teach abroad.

Peter Horn

Keen sportsman and athletic History teacher who ran the Staff Football team, famous for his corny sense of humour and jokes to match. Now has, among other tasks as Assistant Head, the thankless task of sorting the day to day cover for absent Staff and Exam Invigilation.

Ray Hall

Cheerful business studies and IT teacher, Ray really cares about people. His pupils find him great fun even when he puts his foot in it (and this can happen.) He is a keen sportsman though not always a successful one but he accepts teasing with the best. A good friend to have and a genuine character.


Peter Illingworth

Landed the difficult job of Headteacher in the merger of Heaton and Manor Park. Heaton Manor became very successful after some initial teething troubles. His retirement "DO" was unique with a marquee in the East Quad.

Asked how he felt on his last afternoon, he said- "Going round, seeing you all getting on so well with the children-I FELT PROUD" (Says it all).

Astrid Ivkin (Ellerker)

Languages teacher, specialising in Russian, she is succeeding in bringing the subject back into the school. With a keen sense of the ridiculous, she has been a dedicated 6th Form Tutor dealing with some amazing statements e.g. "My dog was stolen by a tramp this morning so I had to follow him to get him back. That’s why I missed this morning’s lessons!"

Malcolm Jarvie

Geography teacher with wide interests. He introduced the hugely popular A level Psychology course with great success. His interest in the 6th Form led him to inaugurate the Summer Balls after consultation with the students themselves. The Balls are the highlight of the year for Leavers and, apart from parents of the girls sometimes "claiming bankruptcy "after buying "THE DRESS", he can congratulate himself on a brilliant idea.

Marjorie Keedy

Flamboyant Domestic Science teacher who could tell a good story against herself. She confessed to telling her husband " I drove home fast tonight so I could get there before the petrol ran out." A splendid cook herself, she showed many generations, not only how to cook, but how to cater for large groups as they helped with Open Day presentations.

John Keddie

Very exuberant Maths teacher, always at his best with older pupils, 6th form in particular. He was Head of Faculty and Timetabler until he decided teaching A level was his best role. Always involved in Music/Drama productions during the Len Young era, he was a useful tenor in several G & S operas. (His hornpipe really was the "talk of the fleet"!!!!!). His various 6th Form groups have shown their appreciation of his help by such fun inventions as " The Gospel according to Keddie" (several chapters) and a website "Keddie Says", also a poster "Choose Keddas". Outspoken to a fault sometimes, a colleague once said " A thought only has to occur to John and he utters it." His most easily recognised saying – "I’ve got my A level----------" or would it be "I hate whiteboards"?

Neil Keir

Head of English, he was (and is) a dedicated sportsman. He always accompanied school Ski trips where he was shown to be an able skier and example to the children.

Collin Kirkby

Physics teacher and Head of Year, he came to teaching later via the Merchant Navy and the Railway Police. Possessed of an excellent sense of humour he was much appreciated. He is a kind and compassionate person. Comments include " One of the nicest teachers I know." "One of the best teachers I ever had the privilege to know." All round good guy" He always commanded respect, even under unusual circumstances, as is shown by his favourite story against himself.

A 5th form (Y 11) girl leaver was rather inebriated and when he tried to remonstrate with her as she lay on the front field, drumming her heels she called out" I hate ye MR Kirkby, I’ve always hated ye" (Note the "Mr Kirkby" in spite of all.) He tried hard not to laugh. She was very embarrassed when she met him some time later!!!

Ian Laidler (Larry)

Charismatic and very strict Maths teacher who could always disarm people with that quizzical grin and a lifted eyebrow. He was very proud of the fact that his father was Headteacher of Manor Park after doing a stint at Heaton. He was a keen Rugby coach, his teams were successful and many of them have fond memories of him to this day. Some of the tales about trips to Murrayfield are quite hair-raising not to mention those concerned with school camps in the Lake District and at Aviemore.

Sadly he died in 2001.

Reg Lewis

Very Scottish Music teacher and Head of Year. He always took the Junior Choir and gave them a good grounding although the songs did have rather a lot of verses!!! Reg had a very witty turn of phrase and a fund of filthy jokes which he used to tell to colleagues (usually male) in the corridors just when they couldn’t laugh properly (or even object to them, as some did).

Margaret Lough

Joining the School as we went comprehensive, she became a Year Tutor (Head of Year). She was brilliant at dealing with somewhat disaffected children who all referred to her as "Mrs Loft"

Basil Lunt

An exceptionally erudite Head of History in Heaton School, he was famous among the staff when he appeared one year as a Pantomime Fairy complete with ballet dress at the Christmas social. Unfortuneately he was extremely shortsighted, with a condition glasses couldn’t help. Those pupils who were less interested in Historytook a delight in winding him up. The result was eventually a roar of fury which could be heard several classrooms away. A pity, as he was very interesting and indeed, Ron Cherry said he often asked his advice re History – an accolade in itself!!

Angela MacKenzie

English teacher with a phenomenal feeling and love for the language. Still there, she has inspired generations of students and helped them to appreciate literature, even persuading some unlikely characters to see the fun and even mystery in Shakespeare. She has a mordant wit and a real sense of fun. She also has some aphorisms which are wise and very much to the point- "If you lie down with dogs you come up with fleas" being one of the best.

Hughie McBride

A lovely man who has taught in Learning Support and the Maths department. A keen sportsman and a splendid Form Tutor, the children in his form threatened strike action when they were to lose him. They won! He is keen on racing and tells fascinating tales of greyhounds. The awkward ones are put into steeple chasing so they can't lose concentration. He has a great sense of humour ,much appreciated by the children.

Guy Massey-Taylor

Head of Art and an incredible character-a proper "colonial". Nowadays he would be in trouble for racist remarks but he actually had great admiration for ethnic Art and culture. He had sponsored a girl to train as a witch doctor when living abroad and had a wonderful collection of Art of the Mende which was exhibited in Scotland.

Tom Masterson

Geography teacher who left some time ago but has kept in touch by joining the ski trips as an instructor. He now runs his own business. Tom has some incredible tales to tell- there was the time he caught his foot in wire when climbing over a fence and couldn’t get loose. He was stuck all night even though a woman, walking her dog, stopped to look at him. She then walked on!! Eventually a policeman on his way to work released him.

Only he could have a shower base break under him on one ski trip- not funny as he had some horrendous cuts to his feet and legs but he made a good story out of adversity. A real character!! He also attended his hospital appointment a whole year early. As it was for a trapped nerve, the delay allowed him to recover unaided. (NHS!!!)

Eric Meek

Geography teacher whose maps on the board were works of art at times as he was colour blind - red rivers were a speciality! He had a great sense of humour and enjoyed the guffaws when the pupils, who were actually very fond of him, pointed out the colours. He always had a great love of birds and is now RSPB warden for the whole of Orkney.

Joe Messer

Gravely-voiced Science teacher with a heart of gold and a capacity for finding equipment at really low prices, useful as he was Bursar before they were really official.

He was actually Squadron Leader Messer having been in the war and involved in running the NAAFI in Berlin afterwards (perhaps that explains his skill in obtaining obscure items. He swore he had taught RE by clipping the lads round as he recited "God is love" but as the same lads liked him it can’t have been too hard. He was also a great advocate of the Educational Cruises. The other staff despaired, though, when he was asked to head count as he often just made up a number but they never lost a soul. He skived most assemblies but was invariably present for Remembrance when he sang his native Cwm Rhondda with gusto.

Lizzie Muir

Technology teacher and very well respected Head of Year. With her down-to-earth attitude and total common sense she has looked after many groups of pupils, guiding them almost without them realising she was doing so. Her sense of humour has nearly got the better of her on numerous occasions when students excuses have been innovative to say the laest.

Ken Oliver

Chemistry teacher and Head of Year. A lovely bloke- comments include "Fab teacher- fantastic soft way of getting the best out of everybody." " Sterling geezer" Ken had a lively sense of humour but could be strict when necessary. He much appreciated the comment made by harassed member of staff to an unruly pupil "Behave yourself and keep out of Mr Oliver’s hair"!!

John Paton

Very Scots Economics teacher, he runs a very successful Department including Business Studies. A level Economics results are always impressive under his expert guidance.

Linda Penn

Kind, gentle, (although she could be like a little terrier if faced with injustice) Physics teacher. She always had enormous patience with those who had difficulty in understanding the subject. An endearing habit was to give personalities to objects like iron molecules which "were persuaded to turn round when stroked by a magnet." She also worked very successfully with careers. She now has a new job in Diabetes Research.

Binnie Posner

First Head of Commercial subjects, she introduced all kinds of office skills to the School. 5 Commerce were "her girls" many of whom went on to secretarial work extremely well prepared. Binnie had a great sense of humour and was very competent with stage make-up. For the operas there was often "a queue of little ladies" (as Ron and Len once sang at an after opera party) waiting for her expertise to make them perfect.

She also was in charge of stationery and woe betide any staff member who tried to get a new board rubber without presenting the old one for inspection. Although she could be formidable, she was unfailingly kind, generous and brave under adversity.

Ken Quickfall

A lovely man, Head of PE and, later, Senior Year Tutor (then name for Head of Upper School). Ken was a real gentleman and laughed with the best at his so appropriate name. He conspired with the Girls’ PE staff to allow them to train on the boys’ back field before the schools joined. He had a great love of his subject and inspired many but couldn’t understand those who hated games- cricket in particular (a religion after all!!).

Joan Raby

PE teacher and Deputy Head when Heaton High and Grammar joined, she continued as a Senior Teacher with responsibility for the time table until 1981. She was a brilliant hockey player, playing for Northumberland which she also represented at Tennis. She always had the best interests of the pupils in mind and encouraged anyone who was keen to join sports clubs to maintain their interest after leaving school. She is still going strong and plays golf regularly.

Jill Rayson

Lively Food Technology teacher and Head of Year whose sensible attitude has kept many a pupil on the straight and narrow. Not one to suffer fools gladly, she has no hesitation in telling parents the unvarnished truth about their "little darlings" when necessary. As a result she is highly respected and has a considerable influence for good.

Joan Robson

A delightful lady who followed Ron Cherry as Head of Sixth Form for a shortish time. She always had time for her charges who were very fond of her. She gave incredible support to those who were disappointed in their University offers and to those who had to wait until the last minute to hear from UCCA/PCAS.

Jean Robinson

Elegant Maths teacher who put up with some silly people with great patience and humour. She was an enthusiastic helper on school trips run by Reg Lewis. She has some tales to tell there!!!!!!

Linda Rowe

A genuine lady, she spent hours and hours helping pupils whose first language was not English. She was asked to meals, weddings and sometimes naming ceremonies. She had a great love and respect for other peoples’ cultures.

Mike Sargent

Chemistry teacher who was very lively and involved with school matters in his earlier career but had the misfortune to be stricken with kidney failure later on. He continued very bravely to teach whilst on dialysis, was later transferred to CAPD (a type of internal dialysis) and was able to show many pupils how this worked in Biology lessons where it was part of the course. Eventually he was lucky enough to have a transplant. His courage was an example to all or should have been!!

Anne Smedley

Formidable Deputy Headteacher who has been mostly responsible for the administration involved with the new school. She hopes to keep some features from the old building to keep tradition going.

Margaret Shaw

A true professional, Margaret started as a PE teacher but became Head of Lower School. She taught a variety of subjects and was much involved with GNVQ in the 6th Form. She could be relied on to support staff in situations when a straight face was essential even though all adult parties were dying to laugh.

Mel Shiels

Geography teacher who was very popular with his pupils as he had good rapport with them and a lively sense of humour. He was happy to go on holiday trips, on the Norfolk Broads in particular. He still retains an interest in former pupils and colleagues and is pleased to attend Reunions.

Judy Sheppard

Came as a "wild young thing" – Miss Grey, needlework teacher, a breath of fresh air to the department. Later she developed a real interest in Learning Support and the pastoral side where she made her presence in the best possible way. Always on the ball when intrigues were involved, she managed to catch some "villians" before too much trouble happened in many cases. She is now Assistant Head in ccharge of Lower School.

Dave Shepherd

Lively Geography teacher with very long "rubber" legs which showed to advantage when he danced. He was a demon on the Staff football team and was known to have been sent off occasionally. He had a wicked sense of humour as shown when he and Judy Sheppard kept some pupils in suspense for months by ascenting to their queries as to whether the two of them were married (spelling of names not withstanding). They invented a divorce - "The things that man did to me!!" and "I don’t talk about that woman" until the pupils finally twigged that it was all a con. All enjoyed the joke.

Ralph Stenner

Head of Music when Heaton School began, he got a Mixed Choir going and produced some really interesting performances. These included a "Messiah" and a "Journey of the Magi" (a sort of musical play) with the music written by three senior pupils for which he then elaborated the score. Possessed of a wicked sense of humour he would make a remark with a deadpan expression which could result in pupils taking several seconds to realise its purpose. Then they would explode with laughter or groan. He left to go to Cyprus to the Army school but the Greeks and Turks decided to have a revolution so he was sent to Germany instead. He is now an international Music Examiner for the Associated Board.

Peter Swan

Head of Music at Manor Park, he produced a Farewell Joint Production with Len Young in which he paid tribute to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies ( who he admired inordinately) by staging the "Orkney Wedding Suite" He became Head of Music in Heaton Manor in1985 and produced another Maxwell Davies show with a delightful "Cinderella". The girl lead was Sarah Nicolls who is now a celebrated recital pianist.


Barry Taylor

Arrived as a very enthusiastic young PE teacher with wild red hair. He was mainly responsible for starting the very successful Outdoor Pursuits courses and running Ski Trips. Now Head of Boys’ Sport, his hair is not so wild but his enthusiasm remains infectious.

Howard Taylor (Tufty)

Geography teacher who was very enthusiastic about organising trips abroad. He had a beautiful bass-baritone voice and was a member of the school choir. He ran the first mixed foreign trip to Italy, which was fun but he had to rethink some of his plans to cater for girls (comfort stops were not so easy!!!!) Howard is still keen on music and has been a local choir member for many years.

Sue Taylor

Languages teacher and a Head of Year, she introduced the successful Anti-bullying Strategy and implemented the training of peer helpers so that students who were reluctant to tell a teacher could air their problems. She ,herself will always lend a sympathetic ear-a very kind person with a sense of humour too.

Keith Thompson

English and Media Studies teacher, he was Exams Officer at Benton for some time before becoming a Head of Year and finally Head of Upper School. He is also a talented musician, playing a mean trombone. This enabled him to be a worthy participant in Christmas sing-a-longs. Possessed of a subtle sense of humour, he could be really amusing. He now spends most of the year in France.

Keith Toshack

Brilliant Biology teacher and sometime HoD, he had boundless enthusiasm and an encyclopaedial knowledge of his subject. Comments include "rolling about on the floor in lessons". His sense of the ridiculous was legendary and remains so to this day. Don’t ask what he told people to say to make them smile on 6th Form photos!! He is frequently asked after by former pupils, always with great affection.

Bill Tunnicliffe

One time Head of Maths who was originally in the Navy. He was a keen cricketer about some incredible stories could be told. There was the time he caught a ball awkwardly, shook the blood off his hand and continued to play- the finger was broken but such a minor problem was of no consequence. He was a splendid Mathematician who had the respect of all, pupils and staff.

Dick Venmore

An inspiring teacher of Technology, starting when it was called Boys’Craft, he was a wizard with wood enabling many pupils to share his enthusiasm and expertise. He was a Head of Year for a time and was a very able sportsman even after having his leg broken badly in a Staff/pupils football match.

Weston Walker

Bluff History teacher who became Head of 6th Form. Very keen on his subject, he could wax lyrical about drains and was able to interest students in some obscure aspects of the past. When lacking in sympathy with someone’s viewpoint he would come out with the immortal words, "It’s just not on, son!" He always had a brilliant turn of phrase and to be commended by him on English was an honour indeed.

Joe Walton

Head of Physics, he had served in the RAF so getting him on to that subject was a ploy to distract him in lessons, but then RADAR is good Physics anyway!! He was a lay preacher and no one who attended his assemblies could forget the story of "little Mary Jones and her bible". A brilliant story teller and a kind man.

Tony Westwell

Head of Physics (and of Science for his last year), he enlivened his lessons with the most spectacular corny jokes. He was teased for years about an advert he did for teaching when new to the job- he was pictured in an academic gown with the caption "A new style communicator". A keen traveller, he was one of the "Heaton Cruisers", accompanying many of the educational trips. Enthusiasm for his subject was boundless and many students benefited from his help to take up careers in that area. He always showed great interest in students’ progress and is in touch with many of his previous 6th formers. His favourite piece of display in his 6th Form lab was a list of excuses for not handing homework. Amazingly, he used to drive a bus for relaxation and is now a Courier for "Great Rail Journeys", a very posh travel firm. His tales of some of the clients are worth hearing but they are lucky as nothing was ever too much trouble for him to do for others.

Steve Wilkinson

Deputy Headteacher with responsibility for the Benton site. Possessed of great integrity, he often appears very serious in spite of his quiet sense of humour. He did a brilliant job as Headteacher when Mike Nesbitt resigned, keeping the School on an even keel at that very difficult time.

Terry Winter

Cheerful Biology teacher and Head of Year for a short time. He had a good sense of the ridiculous and always said his claim to fame was being in the same class as the "Thompson Twins" who were also told by their teachers that they would never get anywhere with singing!!. Very keen on curries he boasted he could clear a bar in 10 seconds after one of his extra-garlic specials.

Joan Young

Very Scottish PE teacher with a lively sense of the ridiculous and a heart of gold. She was, and still is, a dedicated form tutor who influences her charges and gives them high standards to aim for.

Len Young

An inspirational Music teacher, he built on the schools already high reputation to take the department to quite dizzy heights. Who else could have persuaded the three Head Boys to take leads in a G & S Opera the first full year he was there? Not one of them had ever sung on the stage before.Even more surprisingly, he persuaded Ron Cherry to produce it and allow Staff to take part. Ron's comment was,"Then this young man with a Beatle haircut arrived and changed my perception of G & S". Their very successful partnership went on to produce seven almost professional Savoy performances.

Meanwhile the choir took part in concerts, carols, hilarious Danish exchanges with Grinstead's choir and finally the opera "Mine" which Len wrote commemorating the Heaton disaster which is the remembered by the trees planted in the Spinney, one for each lost miner. Innumerable ex pupils remember their school days with affection because Len introduced them to music as fun.