My Time at Tuxford Secondary School (1958-1983)
I joined Tuxford "Secondary" School in Sept. '58. There was just the main block - with no lower school and no music room, or art and craft - no woodwork room. There were only 300 - 320 pupils. Mr Woodward was headmaster, Mr Jeffcott was "second in command". The assembly hall floor was not finished! I filled the post of Head of Music - but there was no one else to help me! I taught every child in the school and I remember teaching classes of 40 children but I had no trouble. With no music room, I had to teach on the stage so the music was heard in the main assembly hall. There were 2 choirs, a recorder class and music theory.
After asking (for some three years...) I was sent just four brass instruments: 2 trumpets, a tenor horn and a euphonium. We started playing the hymns at assemblies twice a week. The other days I accompanied the hymns on the piano. The choirs, junior and senior, and "special boys choir" were entered for festivals at Worksop every year, and every year we came back with shields and cups.
Just before we moved to the "new" school (Trent Building or "ROSLA") I remember one funny episode occurring! A young lady teacher (who shall be nameless - of course!) came to my class (on the stage) and said "Lena will you come with me and have a look in my class bin - I think it's a condom" I was SHOCKED! Condoms in our school!! I went up to her classroom and looked in the bin!! It was a tiny red balloon curled up in the bottom. I wonder why she thought I would know these things!
I spent 20 very happy years teaching in the Comp. I loved the children and they were the essence of good behaviour - hard work and good results. Many children gained scholarships to East Notts Junior Music School, and I taught there as well. Many children did Associated Board exams on their band instruments and always gained excellent results in their C.S.E & "O" level music.
Mr Atkinson replaced Mr Woodward as Head. We heard Mr Atkinson was a keen rower, so on his first assembly the band - (which now had grown to 32 members) played "The Eton Boat Song".
I left in 1983, with a magnificent "send off" dinner. I was sad to leave - but I had been taken on as Accompanist to the Retford Male Voice Choir (which I enjoyed for 10 years. Then I had two strokes which took the use of my right hand and I could not play my beloved piano (but I still teach pupils who do exams).
I also have my own ladies' choir called "The Lena Snowden Singers" and they keep me busy in my declining years.
Please Note: Since writing this article, Lena sadly passed away in the Autumn of 2007.