Adwick School – Earlier 2012
Well that is it! My oldest blog has had the most radical re-brand in its six year history. For my own part I am very pleased with myself.
However, the greatest thanks really have to go to my successor at Finnsnes. There is no question that Jon Blamire and his Arctic Organist have really influenced the direction of this English blog. Last year saw the launch of the Norwegian sister blog, which while satisfying my wish to fully use the culture to which I now belong, was at the expense of the original blog that now needed a new purpose for its existence.
Into this comes the Arctic Organist like a breath of Arctic fresh air! Just the name “Arctic Organist”, and the address that went with it – so well thought out and easy to remember! I must confess that I find it compelling reading too. It is over two decades since I was a newcomer in Norway, and it is a strange feeling reading the experiences of those for whom Norway is new today.
So it was that I set about a complete remake, with a new URL to boot. The symbolism is the same (I have always liked using symbols). The older Violet Cross was meant to display my Christian belief and my origin. Adwick’s defunct colours were shown here by the green and black colour bars – the white by implication in the space between. That symbol, described here, was first used on my compositions at Huddersfield Polytechnic, and was until last week my profile picture on Facebook.
The newer symbolism is really quite brazen about the Adwick connection. After all, they are going to be knocking the whole place down soon, so why not? Superimposed over is the same Greek Cross, although green this time (in keeping with the classical green, white, and black colour scheme) and the famous raven of the Vikings…
Needless to say, I am very pleased with my handiwork this time round. I think I just might have a blog now that is worthy of the competition 155 miles further North!
Make sure you visit the Arctic Organist. You won’t be disappointed!
Since my Norwegian blog was launched last year, I have maintained a twin blog system. I have one blog for English, another for Norwegian.
I intend continuing thus. The system has served my blogging needs very well, and further allowed me to be much more radical in my Norwegian (since May this year I have favoured Nynorsk over the more usual Bokmål). Nevertheless the matter relating to my former school merits coverage in both blogs. Because of this, I have also made an exception in just this case alone, and you will find an English translation of the original Norwegian post on the Norwegian blog itself.
The translation is but that, and is therefore on a separate page. The alternative would have been to put the translation on this blog, as I have before. However, in this case both blogs will be covering what effectively is the end of an important part of my formative years. That is why I feel I have to cover these developments on my personal blogs. It is “front page” stuff in a sense.
Both blogs will therefore continue with their own separate identities, but the Norwegian one will also cover this story from its own angle.
Readers of my English blog must surely have noticed one issue dominating recent posts. The school I went to in Great Britain is going to be demolished!
It is called Outwood Academy Adwick, but in my time was simply called Adwick School. In 2002 the school had just come out of special measures, and the name was changed. It was then called the North Doncaster Technology College. Two years ago it changed its name yet again – to the name the school has today.
Last year there was such a controversy over plans for this new school that even I got to hear about the matter here (in Norway). That happened when I was reading Doncaster news on the Internet. They were going to raise a whole new school building, and as if that were not enough, the old one was going to be completely demolished! Needless to say this caused no small stir among previous pupils (note: Adwick School was called Percy Jackson Grammar previous to 1968).
Those protests did not succeed, and the plans were approved. The work began and since then things have proceeded very rapidly. The new school buildings are now almost complete, and in not so many days they will be moving out of the old school. My school’s days are therefore now numbered.
Today’s academy has just published pictures of the new construction, showing its situation in relationship together with the old. I can see that the new school is very good. It is of course built for the needs of today, whereas that I went to is from another time. I must acknowledge this shows.
Nevertheless I do feel some emotion when I look at these pictures. This is the place I was once a boy, and it was here my world was then so new! As I now see the tired old and quite dilapidated buildings (especially the old senior wing), which in those days were not old and dilapidated – I see that really a world has passed.
That is what this matter boils down to: not just that I have grown old, but that that world to which my internal compass needle yet points, now has gone forever. These pictures show the last ruins of that forgotten time. Soon those too shall be forever gone.
Thou shalt become our enduring myth. Reason there is we still remember thee – if only in contempt!
Soon shalt thou be gone. Some quip*,
they would like to press the button
when they finally despatch thee to eternity.
Methinks getting rid of thee will be much harder. Thou wilt haunt our collective memory,
long after thou hast gone.
Thou shalt be our Titanic; thy years our own Atlantis,
A story we are never finished with,
A legend living on within,
Powered by what we will not own:
our conscience and our loss.
Thou shalt be our lasting myth. Live thou long when thou art gone!
English has always been changing. Its adaptability made it a global language. However, not everything is a plus.
Since I emigrated from England, schools there have begun calling children “students”. The traditional term “pupil” is still used, but there is no denying a trend towards its complete replacement. This is especially true in the so-called “academies” (another “newsspeak” from the Blair government).
The switch to “student” instead of “pupil” seems to be deliberate. I ascertain as much from correspondence I had last year with someone in the teaching profession. Those using it have without doubt good intentions, feeling that the word better conveys respect for the children in their care than does “pupil”. However, it is a mistake that impoverishes the language – as well as the very pupils it seeks to benefit.
What this does is to demean the word “student”. The distinction between a pupil and a student is vanishing. Now if school leavers are lucky enough to go into higher education – which is what educators ought to be concentrating on – there will be no special word to describe their new status as students.
Giving schoolchildren the same word as students at a university or college is like giving your teenage son or daughter all of their inheritance now before they have grown up. Once the money is gone, it is gone!
So yes “pupil” does denote a slightly different status than “student”, and since music students have always been the pupils of their instrumental tutors this term is by no means demeaning. Yet being a “student” implies equality in the relationship to the teacher; and it is actually disrespectful to those who are not equal in a teaching relationship (I am thinking of the children and not the teachers here) to use terms and words that disingenuously imply otherwise. If it were not this equality one were seeking to convey, then why is the word “student” now so trendy?
While individual teachers are undoubtedly both professional and well meaning, there is something systematically dishonest about the whole change to calling schools “academies”.
The language is a deceptive “newspeak” worthy of George Orwell! By changing the word, just as with the word “student”, many educators seem to be taken in by their own sense of importance – and we have now arrived at the farcical situation where principles and their staff that ought to be setting an example have by their consistency rewritten what is right and wrong about capitalisation!
Of course the word “academy” does not require a capital letter any more than the words “university”, or “school”. Yet such is the delusion of grandeur the word has bestowed, that hardly anyone seems to have noticed the fact! Had I once written so many capitals as are to be seen on the web pages and periodicals from England’s new academies my teachers would have spent many an hour ringing them all in red ink.
This capital punishment, lingual dishonesty, and political correctness is therefore flawed. That is not to say failing schools cannot be made better, but it is at the expense of the language. What is worse, any real attainments will therefore be devalued by this very pretence in the demeaned terms with which one can communicate one’s achievement to others.
Why could no-one see?
Why also did not we,
when you were in your greatest hour,
at that zenith of your power,
whom your purpose was to serve?
Neglected so, we both deserve,
this sad day,
to see your buildings beyond mend,
and witness now your sorry end.