• Welcome to this forum . We are a worldwide group with a common interest in Birmingham and its history. While here, please follow a few simple rules. We ask that you respect other members, thank those who have helped you and please keep your contributions on-topic with the thread.

    We do hope you enjoy your visit. BHF Admin Team

Marsh Hill Girls Grammar Tech School

Vivienne14

Kentish Brummie
Quite a few girls in my year went into teaching. I’ve since wondered if many girls went into traditional male occupations like engineering. I doubt it, that sort of thinking wasn’t generally accepted at the time.
My dad wanted me to go into a scientific occupation so that I could get involved in computers. How perceptive that was. But I didn’t do it as I didn’t like science. My mum wanted me to become an air hostess, didn’t do that either.

A comment on the marsh Hill Boys thread set me thinking about this as at that school boys seem to have been nurtured if they showed a particular interest and ability. I don’t remember this at the girls’ school. I think we were to some extent still suffering the effects of women only working until they marry and have a family. Viv..
 
Last edited:

sttudy

knowlegable brummie
Quite a few girls in my year went into teaching. I’ve since wondered if many girls went into traditional male occupations like engineering. I doubt it, that sort of thinking wasn’t generally accepted at the time.
My dad wanted me to go into a scientific occupation so that I could get involved in computers. How perceptive that was. But I didn’t do it as I didn’t like science. My mum wanted me to become an air hostess, didn’t do that either.

A comment on the marsh Hill Boys thread set me thinking about this as at that school boys seem to have been nurtured if they showed a particular interest and ability. I don’t remember this at the girls’ school. I think we may still have been suffering the effects of women only working until they marry and have a family. Viv..
I got married whilst still at school in the sixth form and 3 days after leaving went into the Emergency Ambulance Control on 999 lines for 10 years, had my first child after 5 years then went part time.
 

sasha507

knowlegable brummie
I became a legal secretary after leaving MHGS. After a year I went to the Birmingham College of Food for three years as I had some idea of becomng a restaurant manageress and running some swanky establishment. Unfortunately I got married just after I left college and couldn't cope with the shift work. I worked in the Albany Hotel in Birmingham for a few months. Served a few celebrities whilst I was working there! I soon went back to office work, though. Bit of a waste of time, although I have always been able to cook anything after that. Eventually became an accountant. Still working, but not for much longer. Strange, really, as maths wasn't my best subject, English was.
 

MartinS

master brummie
Quite a few girls in my year went into teaching. I’ve since wondered if many girls went into traditional male occupations like engineering. I doubt it, that sort of thinking wasn’t generally accepted at the time.
My dad wanted me to go into a scientific occupation so that I could get involved in computers. How perceptive that was. But I didn’t do it as I didn’t like science. My mum wanted me to become an air hostess, didn’t do that either.

A comment on the marsh Hill Boys thread set me thinking about this as at that school boys seem to have been nurtured if they showed a particular interest and ability. I don’t remember this at the girls’ school. I think we may to some extent were still suffering the effects of women only working until they marry and have a family. Viv..
Vivienne, I attended Marsh Hill Boy's Technical Grammar School from 1963-1968.

Regarding your wonderment whether the boys were prepared for technical trades, engineering etc. From my own personal experiences there, not so much. For the most part, our teachers were ex-university types, with few hands-on industrial technical skills, unlike Teacher Technlogy programs widely in effect today.

FWIW, metalwork, woodwork and guilded metalwork were the only non-academic lessons in the boys' school. I found my own way into engineering following in my Dad's footsteps.

There was no support from the school, or footwork to assist us with seeking employment in our desired field. "O" Levels and/or "CSEs" were prerequisites for interviews in technical fields.

There was really no encouragement or support, towards transitioning into the middle class work place of industry and technology.

I did know a couple of girls around that time who attended the girls' school and their experiences pretty much aligned with yours. As you alluded, women were more expected to manage the household and raise the family in those days.

It was pretty much the "old boys' club" trend that continues even today, where breaking into specific roles can still be challenging for females who may be equally or better trained and capable.

Because we were schooled in complete segregation, there were no real opportunities to interact and develop social skills with the opposite sex, that would serve to maximise our potential together.

Martin
 

Morturn

Super Moderator
Staff member
Interesting observation that. Originally the governments plan was to have three types of schools, secondary, academic, and technical. All designed around the idea of serving the growing changes in industry to best serve the country.

As with most things’ governments do, the technical schools were never really built in the numbers required.
 

Vivienne14

Kentish Brummie
I seem to remember Technical Drawing being offered to girls with classes at the Boys’ school. And I think woodwork might have been offered on the same basis. Otherwise, the only nod given to more ‘technical’ subjects required by the emerging needs of industry that I can remember at the Girls’ school would have been via traditional sciences. And in the absence of adequate careers guidance I think girls probably missed out on potential wider opportunities.

Viv.
 

Brummie a long time ago

master brummie
And in the absence of adequate careers guidance I think girls probably missed out on potential wider opportunities.
I started further education early 70s, and progressed through electronics, computers, software, blah blah as a career. During training, my courses were exclusively male. When I started real work, I worked with and for males. As I progressed 'up the ladder', ladies appeared in the drawing office, and there was an expectation that they would work for me rather than with me. A bit later, girls turned up in the software field, but as 'coders' who would write software to specification (drawn up by males). A good skill, but still just turning the handle. It was even later before girls rose enough so that I could work head to head with one or two. It was a refreshing experience, I am not sexist, but girls do think differently to boys, and the result of collaboration was a much better final result. Even then, there were older colleagues who pushed back slightly against the equivalence of girls, but by then I was in a position to tell them how things were going to be done.
Just my euros worth.

Andrew.
 

MartinS

master brummie
Interesting observation that. Originally the governments plan was to have three types of schools, secondary, academic, and technical. All designed around the idea of serving the growing changes in industry to best serve the country.

As with most things’ governments do, the technical schools were never really built in the numbers required.
I agree on the general intent of the types of schools. I believe that at the time I entered Marsh Hill, change was already in the wind towards that direction within our school, but the timing was too soon for the intent to be fully enacted during my time. I did however, receive a good education overall.

There was a switch to Modern Mathematics as it was known at the time, which was more aligned with technical and engineering needs. Technical drawing and the mathematics did prove useful later, while working at Pressed Steel Fisher and attending Erdington Technical College.

During second year, my home room # 6 was converted to a language laboratory, where each student sat with tape recording apparatus in a relative cubicle, donning headphones and mics to interact with the teacher. There was direct questioning in French, or German for those who chose that alternative. So, that was another technical development, even for an academic topic.

I wonder what changes the girls experienced, to their curriculum.
 
Last edited:

aston lad

master brummie
There is a photo of a girl that was in the same class as myself when she and I were at Burlington Street Infant and Junior school, Sally Smith, very brainy if I remember correctly, I am sure that I also knew a brother and sister that attend March Hill but a years or two later, David and Sally Jenkins, David was a good footballer,
 

Vivienne14

Kentish Brummie
I remember doing ‘O’ level Modern Maths at MHGS. It was, I think, a Joint Matriculation Board subject (or perhaps Welsh Joint Matriculation Board ?). Not sure if everyone did it, probably was down to which Maths set you were placed in. Viv.
 

A Sparks

master brummie
Yes, my year did Modern Maths too, I'm afraid it lost me somewhere along the way!
I liked the teacher but I really couldn't understand it very well and any homework or exams I had to guess most of the answers. It got to the point where myself and a few other girls were allowed to drop maths completely so we could 'concentrate on our other subjects' - what a relief!
Strangely enough, I am actually good at arithmetic, I could add up quite quickly in my head, even in the old pounds, shillings and pence. Arithmetic is alot more logical!
 

sttudy

knowlegable brummie
I agree on the general intent of the types of schools. I believe that at the time I entered Marsh Hill, change was already in the wind towards that direction within our school, but the timing was too soon for the intent to be fully enacted during my time. I did however, receive a good education overall.

There was a switch to Modern Mathematics as it was known at the time, which was more aligned with technical and engineering needs. Technical drawing and the mathematics did prove useful later, while working at Pressed Steel Fisher and attending Erdington Technical College.

During second year, my home room # 6 was converted to a language laboratory, where each student sat with tape recording apparatus in a relative cubicle, donning headphones and mics to interact with the teacher. There was direct questioning in French, or German for those who chose that alternative. So, that was another technical development, even for an academic topic.

I wonder what changes the girls experienced, to their curriclum.
Hi , I attended 67-74

by then you could do French (compulsory) German, Russian, Latin, I think Spanish and conversational Italian at an after school club, a classmate, Teresa Devlin took them all...
, in maths we had Mr Smith for years 1-4 but sadly he left as we went into year 5 and O levels, the replacement teacher was Indian a d had such a strong accent we litteraly couldn't understand him. When we kept having to ask him to repeat things he got mad, I was always in group 2 so not too of class but good overall, when we took our mock exam only 3 in the whole year passed!! So we were given the option of not taking maths, even though it was crucial for many jobs, well of course majority said they didn't want to take it, why wouldn't you... But years later I got a job in accounts and passed the entrance test easily, after all who ever has used sines, cosines, tangents, a slide rule, and algebra since leaving school?
 

Vivienne14

Kentish Brummie
The only lesson I found truly engaging was German. This was mostly down to the teaching of Miss Wilkinson. She used more practical ways of teaching like reading German magazines and a conversational approach, with less banging on about the grammar. We were also part of an exchange visit with a school in Cologne. We even had German names allocated, mine was Katchen (with an umlaut above the ‘a’ but can’t find it on the keyboard!)

Think I mentioned before that my Dad told me to take German as an option. I never realised it until recently that German was regarded as the language to study if you planned to work in engineering. Viv.
 

MartinS

master brummie
Yes, my year did Modern Maths too, I'm afraid it lost me somewhere along the way!
I liked the teacher but I really couldn't understand it very well and any homework or exams I had to guess most of the answers. It got to the point where myself and a few other girls were allowed to drop maths completely so we could 'concentrate on our other subjects' - what a relief!
Strangely enough, I am actually good at arithmetic, I could add up quite quickly in my head, even in the old pounds, shillings and pence. Arithmetic is alot more logical!
That was very much my experience at the boys' school too. There were no options between Modern Maths and prior teachings. I started at the top of my class and slowly but surely deteriorated to average!

I am pretty sure that I would have passed the Maths "O" Level, but was assigned CSE for some reason. My first year maths teacher Mr. Memory did an awesome job, others less so, because their methods did not make learning interesting.

I am also good at mental calculations and working with numbers in general, which is useful since I do have to teach component measurements and also calculations such as Ohm's Law in my work, to validate the theory and characteristics of electricity.
 

Vivienne14

Kentish Brummie
In German we were given the opportunity to get copies (I think paid for) of “Das Rad” (The Wheel). This was a magazine in German, written for students of German. I had a number of them. It all helped to engage students in the subject. The other resource I remember regularly using was a little red textbook: “Aufenthalt in Deutschland”.

Amazing how these details stick, probably because I was interested in the subject and liked the way it was taught. Couldn’t say the same for other subjects such as French, with the emphasis being on grammar.

I also remember the dreaded oral exams. They’re no longer called that, they’re now “spoken” languages. The oral was conducted by an outsider assigned by the exam board (this is still done today). This was my worst nightmare being a very shy child, not too good with strangers and severely lacking in confidence. So I’m surprised I managed to even make it to the interview room, let alone get through speaking French and German to a complete stranger. But it all worked out well despite my fears.

Viv.
 

Brummie a long time ago

master brummie
after all who ever has used sines, cosines, tangents, a slide rule, and algebra since leaving school?
Ahem... puts hand in the air. :) But I do completely appreciate your comment.

Strangely enough, I am actually good at arithmetic, I could add up quite quickly in my head, even in the old pounds, shillings and pence. Arithmetic is alot more logical!
Strangely enough, I am quite poor at arithmetic. Julie can roll through numbers without pausing, but she did work in an accounts environment. I have difficulty holding numbers in my head for long enough to arrive at a total. On the other hand, a tangent is something she thinks I go off at.

I also remember the dreaded oral exams. They’re no longer called that, they’re now “spoken” languages. The oral was conducted by an outsider assigned by the exam board (this is still done today). This was my worst nightmare being a very shy child, not too good with strangers and severely lacking in confidence.
Me too. Now come and meet my Doctor if you feel like reliving the experience. The nurse is fine, she sometimes says "Hello", a big concession to my country of birth.

Andrew.
 

MartinS

master brummie
In German we were given the opportunity to get copies (I think paid for) of “Das Rad” (The Wheel). This was a magazine in German, written for students of German. I had a number of them. It all helped to engage students in the subject. The other resource I remember regularly using was a little red textbook: “Aufenthalt in Deutschland”.

Amazing how these details stick, probably because I was interested in the subject and liked the way it was taught. Couldn’t say the same for other subjects such as French, with the emphasis being on grammar.

I also remember the dreaded oral exams. They’re no longer called that, they’re now “spoken” languages. The oral was conducted by an outsider assigned by the exam board (this is still done today). This was my worst nightmare being a very shy child, not too good with strangers and severely lacking in confidence. So I’m surprised I managed to even make it to the interview room, let alone get through speaking French and German to a complete stranger. But it all worked out well despite my fears.

Viv.
Oh yes, the oral exams! I too was quite shy, so I felt out of sorts when I entered the exam room, to encounter a complete stranger.

My parents vetoed taking German. Too many memories for them. We could only take French or German, not both.

FWIW, I had considered entering the teaching field, but had a fear of public speaking, so that idea was out of the question. Besides, I decided that although I did well at the subjects, I didn't really much look forward to teaching adolescents.

Funny turn around. After a start in engineering and then working for many years as a GM dealership technician, I have spent the past twenty years, as a GM trainer for British Columbia dealership technicians and am not the slightest bit shy or intimidated!

Overall, while from my perspective, MHB didn't do a stellar job of career prep training for industry, I did benefit from a solid education in the academics, rounding off the teaching from my parents at an early age.

Martin
 

MartinS

master brummie
Not exactly related to the schools at Stockland Green, but still these would have been very familiar sights for those of us who attended one of the three schools.

I recall taking these photos in the mid-1960s. The image with the Plaza Cinema also captured the telephone boxes in front of the gentleman's outfitters, with the awning just in view, of Moyle and Adams Grocers where I worked part-time.

The second image is facing Reservoir Road and the #11 Outer Circle bus.
Martin
 

Attachments

  • Stockland Green.jpg
    Stockland Green.jpg
    288.7 KB · Views: 18
  • Reservoir Road.jpg
    Reservoir Road.jpg
    221.5 KB · Views: 18

pjmburns

master brummie
I think GCSE oral language exams are conducted in school and recorded. Marked by the teacher. Then a selection are sent to an external examiner who marks them so it can be compared to the teacher's marks.
Not sure what happens at A level.
 
Top