Richard Lander School is 40 this month. One of us was here at the very beginning...
In 1978 Richard Lander School opened its doors for the first time replacing Penwethers County Secondary School. On that day, first year student, Louise Hope was feeling slightly anxious about her first day at secondary school. Looking very smart in her grey skirt and V-neck jumper, white shirt and red tie with silver stripes she joined Mr Axon’s tutor group. Louise remembers sitting in the main hall listening to Headteacher, Mr Dunn (below), and feeling guilty about every misdemeanour he mentioned. As her face turned redder by the minute, she worried that she would be seen as a culprit although she had done nothing wrong. Fortunately things improved after that first day and Louise went on to thoroughly enjoy her time at Richard Lander School.
Mrs Hope qualified as a Science teacher in 2002 and remembers: “One of the loveliest things was when Mr Axon, my first tutor, turned up unexpectedly at my graduation. He gave me a congratulations card and wished me all the best in my career as a teacher. That’s what it is like at Richard Lander, we always look out for our past students; we are delighted when they do well.” Mrs Hope started her first job at Richard Lander School in the September of 2002. 16 years later, she still works at the school and is now the Key Stage 3 Science lead and is also a year 11 tutor.
Mrs Hope recalls her parents having to come in to convince the school to allow her to do triple science in 1981. At that time science was very male dominated. she and quite a few other girls were permitted to study triple science, and Mrs Hope went on to do a Biochemistry degree, work in a research lab and of course, became a science teacher. It is heartening to see how times have changed. Earlier this year a group of 4 of Richard Lander School’s very own female students won the Satelife competition with an amazing idea for a wrist band that is linked to a satellite to enable people to be found in the sea.
Richard Lander School’s longest serving member of staff is Mr Glenn Gibson who has been at the school for 38 years. He joined the school and became Louise Hope’s tutor when she was in year 3 in 1980. Louise remembers ‘it was his first job, I taught him how to take the register.’ Mr Gibson remembers what a bright and helpful student Louise was. In 1980 Mr Gibson taught Geography and PE, he is now Assistant Headteacher in charge of Key Stage 4 Pastoral. His fantastic memory also makes him a bit of a Richard Lander Wikipedia for students and staff!
We are collecting historic photos and will be posting them on the Richard Lander School Facebook page over the next few weeks.