Education turns full circle at Portslade
Portslade’s dream of a School and Community College became an official reality last week when it was opened by the Secretary of State for Education and Science, Mrs Margaret Thatcher.
The £115,000 sports centre of the educational and community complex provided an impressive setting for the ceremony.
Said Mrs Thatcher: “In the old days the village hall and the school combined to make a community centre. In a way, we have gone full circle—back to what was traditional life many years ago.
“We lived in small towns or villages where we knew our neighbours, and here in Portslade today the idea has been adapted to meet the needs of new surroundings.”
Mrs Thatcher told the 150 or so pupils in the audience of 500: “We can give you the education, but it is what you do with it that makes the difference.
“It gives me very great pleasure to see in Portslade this magnificent community school now being created. What I have seen is most impressive, and I am very happy and proud to open this sports hall, school and college.”
The chairman of East Sussex County Council, Mr R. G. Edwardes Jones, said it was “a red letter day for Portslade, an overcrowded community struggling to find its identity.
“Portslade is squarely between foreign territory in the west and big brother in the east, the Downs area sacrosanct to the north and the sea to the south.
“This is the first community college in the county, and I think all concerned with this development are to be congratulated on the imagination, hard work and vision which made this a reality.”
Mr Edwardes Jones referred to the willing co-operation of Portslade Council, which had been a wonderful partnership in the creation of the college.
The chairman of the county council’s Education Committee and chairman of the school’s governors, Mr Peter Gladwin, said: “While the school offers all kinds of activities, this is not by any means at the expense of the academic side, and I think this should be emphasised.”
He recalled that out of 40 posts advertised for the school there had been more than 2,000 applicants. “From this figure I think you will agree we have attracted a very high calibre of teacher.”
The chairman of Portslade Council Mr Alfred Robinson spoke of the local Community Care Council which had stemmed from the co-operation between the council and college.
A teacher and two pupils from Portslade’s French “twin,” Fecamp were visiting the area for the occasion, and Mr Robinson commented: “This very important link has been made possible only by close co-operation between the local council and the school.”
The principal, Mr Robert Glover, said: “At the heart of all we do here is a concern for the welfare, happiness and fulfilment of the individual child as a potential adult.
“The honours boards in some of our great schools are in a sense tombstones. They tell that John or Mary was very good at passing exams, but don’t tell us whether that academic prowess was maintained.
“We suspect that some of those traditionally regarded as the most successful pupils are, in terms of complete development and value to society, casualties of, rather than advertisements for, the schools they attended.”
A prayer of dedication was said by the Rev Gordon Stearns, youth and community counsellor on the staff of the school and college.
The youngest pupil, Wendy Arlotte, 11, presented a spray of flowers to Mrs Thatcher, and the oldest pupil, John Trillwood, 18, presented a gilded metal trinket box on behalf of the staff and pupils.