Speech Day Reports


"Labor Ipse Voluptas"
"Find pleasure in the work itself" was the school motto suggested by the headmaster at the 1922 Speech Day.

He made the comment that he was lucky to have colleagues who readily and with enthusiasm co-operated with his every wish. They were all united in their aims, with no friction, and he failed to understand the criticisms sometimes levelled at secondary teachers concerning the work they did. At his school, the teachers could be found voluntarily working late into the evening and deserved credit for that.

I think Mr Hamilton probably had the same experience. Some HGS Staff in the 1940s (and in the 1950s and 1960s!) found it convenient to work late at School. Miss Ward, who taught the subjects Geography, History and Religious Education, joined the teaching Staff at HGS in 1948. As a young teacher she would often stay behind at school marking and preparing work. When it was required there was always a warm fire to sit by and food was available for the staff who decided to stay late. Miss Ward would help Mr. Collette to prepare the timetable. This work was usually done after school. Dave McKenzie

"Now most parents will agree that what they want for their children in sending them to a secondary school is a good practical education. But by 'practical' what is it they mean? I am afraid in many cases the parent understands by 'practical' subjects those which will enable a boy or girl to become a wage-earner quickly, but to adopt this interpretation is to miss the real meaning of education. If we only teach subjects which have an immediate cash return we shall simply turn out low grade machines doing low grade work. As a writer said: "The liftman would work his switch no worse if he were quite illiterate, and no better if he were a doctor of science. It is not as a liftman he is worth educating, but as a man."
A.G. Jenkinson

 Please select from the PDF files below:- 



















































Speech Day Invitation, Head Girl's Address Speech Day 1961, the Hemsworth Hippodrome photo, Extract from the first Speech Day 1922, Speech Day 1953 Magazine Cover 

From the Headmaster's Report Speech Day 1923
"In looking back over the history of the past school year, my general impression is one of progress and improvement in every direction - if I except building construction, the progress of which has been more evident to the imagination than to the eye." So began the speech of Mr. Jenkinson, who continued to assert that, "in work, in games, in the various side-lines of school life, and most of all, and most important of all, in character formation there has been a distinct move forward, and there has been no slipping back." The general discipline of the school was a cause of great satisfaction to all concerned. A good tradition was being established, and the children were beginning to realise that their outward behaviour was a reflection of the character within. The good name of the school was in the hands of the children, and their orderly behaviour was being noticed and commented on by people outside the school.
From the Headmaster's Report Speech Day 1924
'Concentration' was another of the repeated themes of Mr. Jenkinson. He felt that many answers in the annual examination papers had been too sketchy and incomplete, showing that the pupils' knowledge was deficient. Only by the power of determined and concentrated effort would the pupils grasp a deeper understanding of their subjects, and this would be aided to a great extent by home lessons, where problems and meanings had to be worked out by the pupil himself with unassisted effort.
From the Headmaster's Report Speech Day 1925
Industry and the Secondary School
Mr. Jenkinson said he was aware that schools must offer their pupils an education which would equip them for their lives when they left. They had to think of earning a living, which was important; however this was not the primary aspect of the curriculum. The requirements of the industry, trades and occupations which were open to the pupils did have to be borne in mind, but he emphasised that a Hemsworth Secondary School education would give the pupils habits of thought and a desire for knowledge which would enrich and equip them for anything. In mentioning the importance of any particular subject - Latin, Chemistry, Geography or Algebra - it was not the purpose of the study of these subjects to turn out classical scholars, or chemists, explorers or mathematicians. It was to create men and women with a desire for knowledge and the ability and will to acquire it.
From the Headmaster's Report Speech Day 1926
There were now 287 pupils (145 boys and 142 girls) as compared with 225 last year. Two forms had been added, one a commercial class for those in the last year who were not intending to take the school certificate. Botany had been introduced for girls, as an alternative to Chemistry. Needlework was taught to all forms except VI, and Domestic Science to Forms IVc, IIIa and b, IIa, IIb, IIc, the work (cooking, laundry work and hygiene) covering a two years course. The Commercial Course included Shorthand, Typewriting, Commercial Arithmetic, Commercial Geography, Civics, History, English, Art, French, Science, Woodwork, Needlework and Domestic Science. It was hoped that a course of this kind would, to some extent, meet the needs of those who were to leave school at 16. All those who possibly could aim at obtaining the School Certificate should do so because it was accepted now as a necessary qualification for entry to many professions. It was intended to represent the standard which any normal boy or girl might be expected to reach at the age of 16 or 17, without undue specialisation.
From the Headmaster's Report Speech Day 1927
School Activities
During the year, the school had taken part in the usual reading competition, at which the Rector of Hemsworth (Canon Williams) adjudicated, and had showed intelligence and care. The school had a good library, containing some 450 books, but suffered from the lack of a proper reading room; this was, however, part of the new buildings scheme, and in his opinion as serious a need as that for classrooms and dining room. There was also during the year an inter-house musical competition, including classes for piano, violin, solo singing and choral singing. Miss Purdon adjudicated, and considerable enthusiasm was shown. The school choir had competed as usual at Pontefract, and had been awarded 176 marks, with a first class certificate; and for sight reading 78 marks out of 100. The school had taken part in the Folk Dancing Festival at Pontefract, and won two first-class and seven second-class certificates, as well as the banner put up for competition among secondary schools. An art club had been formed by Mr. Taylor, and had a fairly large membership. In games, too, the school had done well, though there was great need for tennis courts for the girls. The successful organisation of games in the school was due largely to the care and energy of members of the staff and to the school captains. Sports were held as usual on Parents' Day, and were a great  success. A course of public lectures had been launched, and were proving an appreciated feature. It was hoped to produce the first school play in the hall at the end of the term.
From the Headmaster's Report Speech Day 1928
The year's pleasing examination results in the Higher School Certificate were that seven of fifteen candidates were awarded full certificates, and three others passed in all principal subjects. In the School Certificate exams, 40 out of 53 passed, and 15 matriculated, 13 with distinctions. There were only four failures in Mathematics, five in French and seven in History, and in History 32 candidates of 53 reached matriculation - a high percentage. These results compared favourably with those of any school in the West Riding. Commonly, French was the stumbling block of boys and Mathematics of girls, and if a school had sound teaching in those subjects there was little to complain about. From the commercial form 22 candidates were entered for the Royal Society of Arts' examination, 21 passing in Bookkeeping, 28 in Arithmetic, and eight of 13 in Shorthand. Three former pupils at Leeds University were all scholarship holders: E. John Barker, County Major (History); Adelaide Branford, County Major (English); and Philip Bull, Holgate Scholarship (Mathematics).
From the Headmaster's Report Speech Day 1929
Break with Tradition
The pupils in the third and fourth years were now following their alternative courses, as planned, and the fourth and fifth forms were divided into three branches - arts, science and commercial - all three courses leading to the School Certificate. This system broke away from the traditional rule of no specialisation before school certificate, but in this age one was obliged to break with many traditions, and a course which included English, a foreign language and Mathematics could not be regarded as specialised to any considerable extent. On the other hand, there was strong revolt against mass production in education; it was being recognised more and more that the individual matters, the individual girl or boy, the individual teacher, the individual school. Even at the age of 14 or 15 some account must be taken of the tendencies which a girl or boy shows towards one branch or another of educational training.