Glebelands School


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Mr A.J. Cozens - Head Teacher 1974-1985.

glebe 7Mr Cozens came to Glebelands in January 1974, having spent the previous six years as Deputy Head of an 11-18 comprehensive school in Milton Keynes.

The contrast between the two schools could hardly have been starker. Glebelands had been without a Head for a term and had had to absorb the 15 to 16 year olds from another secondary school that had closed. 

“I vividly remember being stopped in the street on two occasions before I took up the post and quizzed as to my intentions.”

With the school not always viewed kindly by some of the people of Cranleigh, the good wishes of many parents, the PTA, colleague Heads and many others in the community, were very welcome. There were several staff posts to be filled, and the students needed to be made to feel positive about their school. 

“The school had a mixture of students, some delightful, some less so. But, by the time I had really settled, they all began to show respect for others and pride in their school.”

glebe 8He credits this progress to the sterling efforts of those members of staff who had been there during the inter-regnum. 

“Their knowledge of the community and the esteem in which many of them were held, provided a strong foundation for development.”

Other improvements came along steadily. 

“At my first assembly,” he recalls, “I was shocked to see that I was faced with the whole school standing up, for there were no chairs!” This led to the speedy purchase of a thousand chairs. 

“I felt that the children should have a say in how the school was run. So I brought in the School Council.”

The expansion of the school continued with the building of the Annex Block and some temporary practical classrooms. 

In the curriculum, Mr. Cozens felt that the education pupils received should be a step towards reaching their full potential in later life. 

glebe 9“The exams were a lot different then. Not only were the courses based heavily on performances under exam conditions rather than through coursework, but they were also very gender orientated. Girls were expected to take part in ‘girl’ subjects, and boys were pressured into ‘boy’ subjects. For example, it was improper for a boy to be a nurse.”

Mr Cozens is proud of his record here, ensuring that a fair opportunity for both genders was created. 

Able pupils were stretched through programmes such as the Schools Council Integrated Science project, controversial when first introduced, but justified three years later with feedback from universities. Eventually, also, fourth and fifth year options included two strong classes in Latin. 

“The public reputation of schools seems to depend on examination results and how pupils conduct themselves in the community, but provision for the pupils who cannot reach the highest level academically is the crux of a school’s achievement. It can never be perfect, but good standards were achieved at Glebelands. Drama, music and sport all offer chances to shine outside the classroom and the school was fortunate in having teachers who could open those doors to fulfillment to pupils who, sometimes, had little academic bent.”

Mr Cozens, himself, caused a stir in Drama, taking the role of an ugly step-sister in the school pantomime production of ‘Cinderella.’ He also remembers singing the wrong lyrics to a carol during the Christmas service. “Luckily, nobody noticed!” 

“Improved buildings, facilities and support staff as well as pupils and teaching staff all contributed to raising the school’s attainment during my Headship. For me, the disappointment of having to retire much earlier than planned was mitigated by the knowledge that the school my successor inherited was a great improvement on my inheritance. I wish its pupils and staff continued success.”

Note: It may surprise Mr Cozens to know that from his staff on retirement, Mrs Riddle, Mr Coward, Mr Carter, Mrs Staples and Mrs Pearson remain, and that the Head Boy in his first term is now Mr Erricker and he especially glebe 10remembers standing in year group rows for assembly!

Roger Coupe – first through the door

Roger, who now has an Estate Agent’s in Cranleigh, attended the school from 1959 to 1960, and was mentioned in Mr Wiskar’s log as one of the welcoming students at the opening ceremony. He has maintained his links with the school throughout the years.

“My first recollection of the new school was when we moved from the old school ‘Horsa’ blocks across the road, which until then had been our home after leaving the junior school and meeting Mr Wiskar at the school gate on my first day. 

I was most impressed by the new Gymnasium with climbing ropes and fold away climbing bars. It was the first time I had ever been in a gym. The assembly hall was also very impressive. I had the role of Assembly Monitor which entailed going into the hall at 8.45am to place numbered cards against the stage. The pupils then lined up, depending on their number. I can’t remember how we knew which number was ours. It may have been by years. 

Invariably Mr Wiskar took the assembly although the Deputy Head, Miss Dale, stood in on occasions. Mr Wiskar usually had a theme for the day and quite often a message such as, ‘Look after your own property and respect the property of others’. 

There were also two quotes that have been ingrained in me and which I still use today; here’s one: 

“Somebody said it couldn't be done, But he with a chuckle replied That "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried. So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin On his face. If he worried he hid it. He started to sing and he tackled the thing That couldn't be done, and he did it.”

The year I spent at Glebelands was very enjoyable. I made a number of friends, who I still see today in the village.”