A School is a collection of people as well as a building, of course, and the special ethos of Church High has always meant it was a very happy place to work. What made the school individual was perceptively understood and succinctly described by Harry Thompson in a Newcastle Journal newspaper feature of 1954: ‘It is part of the precious heritage of the school today that so many of its pioneers had to struggle for an ideal …. So the school went on, parents, pupils, teachers, governors working together. It was their school. It was their business to make it supremely worthwhile.’
The strong sense of community, firmly rooted in true independence, is what continued to both draw staff to Tankerville and also to hold many of them there for years of dedicated service. Long tenure of staff has always been a feature of the School, in all its echelons. Of course, this has been a key factor in how such a strong sense of history and ethos has been passed on to generations of girls.
These staff lists for Church High School were compiled using the information produced annually by headmistresses for the Girls School Yearbooks, the official book of reference of the Girls’ Schools Association, published by A & C Black. Up until the early 1980s, information on Girls’ Schools and Boys’ Schools was published in separate volumes, but for many years now the GSA information has been combined with information on Boys’ Schools, Co-educational and Preparatory Schools in a single-volume, fully-comprehensive reference guide, the Independent Schools Yearbooks.
The way the information on staffing was presented in the yearbooks has varied over the years. Initially Junior and Senior School staff were all grouped together. When this was the case, for ease of reference, I have tried to use my own memory to indicate Junior School staff in brackets. Details of the Peripatetic Music Teachers ceased to be published in the mid-1990s but from the late 1990s, during Lesley Smith’s tenure, full details of the School’s Administrative and Support Staff began to be recorded. Before this point, I have done my very best to list all the names I could recall. There will be errors and omissions, I am sure, as staffing could easily have changed following the release of the material for publishing and also during the course of the year. If this is you, I can only apologise.
NB: Please note that I have not, as yet, been able to confirm information on staffing for the following years: 1982, 1983, 1984, 1885, 1987, 1989, 1991 and 1992. These years are indicated in red within each document. The names in these lists will be updated and confirmed when it is possible to do so.
I will end here quite simply: I couldn’t be prouder of having worked alongside such dedicated people.
Staff Lists under Joy Gatenby
Staff Lists under Lesley Smith
Staff Lists under Patricia Davies (1981 – 1995)