Onslow Secondary Modern School


By Barry Cross

Onslow St Audrey's School

I went to Onslow Secondary Modern School from age 11 to age 15 as I elected not to stay on another year, and left after my 15th birthday on 5th May 1963. I started there after my 11th birthday which was 5th May 1959, as I did not passing the 11 plus exam.

I am trying to locate the history of Onslow school especially photographic, looking the official Onslow/St. Audrey School website it states that Onslow was founded in 1961.

1961 was the year of my 13th birthday and I do not recall going to any other Secondary School from the age of 11 [1959] to 13, and I have to say that Onslow had to be there in 1959 for me to go there.

Is there anyone who went to Onslow School for any of the same years as me with hopefully a better memory of their school days than I?

Is there anyone with a good full history of Onslow School hopefully with photos of this period?

I have/had an old school photo of me taken by the school photographer that I’ll add when I can get it scanned but I have warn the unwary that its not for the faint hearted.

This page was added on 07/05/2014.

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  • I am afraid that my memory has never been good for names, and I don’t recall any name of either school mates or teachers at Onslow.
    I do remember the impact so to speak of particular teachers for good or ill.
    I do recall the Music ‘lessons’ thought the teachers name escapes me. There were huge posters around the classroom walls, of instruments of the classical music orchestra. The entire lessons consisted of her, trying to get us to recognise one instrument from another. While she banged on about Benjamin Britain’s young person’s guide to the orchestra.
    I remember everyone considering it as shear torture, until we came up with an idea even though it still meant classical music. She had a record player, and stacks of albums all of course of classical music. The idea was to get a break from the dread monotony by conning her, to believe that we wanted to learn about the orchestra. Our argument was that to properly appreciate it, we needed to hear an orchestra play classical music. She bought it for a bit and she agreed to play something from one of her records, the album was the Planet Suit by the composer Holst. All she ever played was two pieces from that work, Jupiter and Mars. The attitude from one and all was that this was far from being better than Benjamin Britten, and she stopped doing it after a bit and reverted to boring us all with him.
    I could never have admitted this to anyone at the time, but eventually Jupiter got to me and I ended up quite liking it.

    By Barry Cross (01/08/2021)
  • I went to Onslow in September 1958 when the school had just been formed when it was located behind the Police station which is now the Registry office. I remember joining, aged 11 the top year and was there until I left at 15. We were in the old school until 1960/61 before moving to the new school, I also remember the long walk between lessons. My form teacher was Mr McCall the maths teacher, he kept a slipper in his desk drawer!! I also remember Mr Hardy the woodwork teacher constantly polishing his head. I think the one failing of the school was to abandon the GCE’S in favour of th College of Preceptor exams which turned out to be useless because nobody recognised them. I also remember David Carr from Australia very well, we became good friends even to going to Southampton to see his family on the SS Oronsay. I have tried to locate him over the years but to no avail. meneghy85@gmail.com if you read this Dave.

    By Robert Bence (22/07/2021)
  • I started at Onslow in 1958 when the old school was behind the Police station, now the registry office. What was peculiar was the fact that being a new school I was always in the top year up until I left in 1962. Perhaps the one failing, in my case was the choice of examinations to end my education. The GCE’s were not the choice of the school but instead we were put through the College of Preceptor syllabus which I later found were not recognised by any future employer.
    I remember Mr Mcall my form teacher, Mr Hardy the woodwork teacher, Mr Tarr PE teacher and of course Mr Giles Headmaster.
    I remember several pupils at the school in particular Aussie,, David Carr who spent a year with us before returning to Australia. I have tried over the years to get in touch with him but always came up blank. If you’re out there get in touch

    By Robert Bence (21/07/2021)
  • I was at Onslow from 1965 until 1970. I did an extra year. I was born in August so was the youngest in my class. I will always remember Mr GILES headmaster leaning out of his window saying “what are you people gassing about, get to your class” There was A block a 3 storie building. The science block which I think was C block, The dreaded Mr. Pomfrey taught maths, cannot remember who taught physics but he was fearsome. Mr Webb geography, who liked twisting boys side burns until you were up on your toes. Went sking in Austria Salzburg and Holland. I used to mime on the coach to songs, just interpreted them as I did not know the words, for money. I remember Bromley was very unkind to me when on holiday, my father had died the year before when I was 11 no empathy what so ever. I remember David Gallaphant and Brian Smith. Also had a day trip to Windsor Castle. Had a crush on Susan Grey, sent her a note saying I thought she was beautiful, she came up and asked me to spell beautiful and I purposely misspelt it so she would not know it was from me. Mr Webb was also the careers advisor when I told him I wanted to be a vet he said I never would, some encouragement! Miss Gee was my music teacher. I did tech drawing and cannot remember who took me for art, it was a chap though, a bit hippyfide. I enjoyed gymnastics for PE cannot remember who took me, do not think it was Bromley.

    By Adrian Myers (21/04/2021)
  • I went to the Onslow school 1960 and to the new school 1961 I was from Australia, and remember Mr Hopkins students Robert Bence, Geoffrey Davis, Alan Green, we went to Holland on a school holiday and stayed in the hotel Opduin A Miss Mosely was also a teacher. I went back to OZ and finished High School there.

    By David Carr (17/01/2021)
  • I went to Onslow school between 1968 and 1975 I stayed on for A levels and had Major Jack Schofield. Knew Terry Jupp who died in an accident while working with explosives. Alan Richer and Pete Needham who I went to a Ralph Mctell concert in St Albans Also remember Tony Arrowsmith who did Maths at Bangor University, Mr Straker for Geography together with Mr Webb. Made Gunpowder in chemistry (when Schofield was out of the way) Got a degree in chemistry. Remember Mrs Goscomb deputy head, Mr Jervis excellent English teacher Mr proctor for physics Other students were Victor Thomson, Paul Davis,
    and some someone called Higgs? I remember Pat Jarret, Maureen Edmeeds, Carol Tulip, Roger somebody! Mr Hallet for metalwork who would throw a metal object at you! I was there when Burleigh school joined up with us, I could go on but if anyone remembers me for good or bad contact me Will Ainsworth. atainsworth86@btinternet,com

    By Will Ainsworth (15/01/2021)
  • I was at Onslow from 1961 to approx 1967. The school was new when I arrived. I remember lots of the staff who were by and large very good teachers. Mr Giles, the Headmaster, Mrs Goscombe the deputy head;, they always wore gowns as I remember. The there was the dreaded Mrs Schofield (chemistry, Miss Mosley and Mrs Evans,(domestic science) Mrs Tyszka (English/library), Mr Straker (geography) Mr & Mrs Tarr,(PE and drama respectively) Mr Harris (history) Mr Durell (English) Mr McCall & Mrs Gillis (maths) Mrs Monro (art) Mrs Anstey (typing I remember being in 1A, 2B, 3c1 and in Exeter house. The house groups were named after the Gascoigne Cecils and were red, green yellow and blue. I left after my GCSE’s and was a prefect. The swimming pool was saved for all the time I was there and never was built! The discipline I remember was good and the school meals were excellent!

    By susan wood (Lawrence) (07/12/2020)
  • I started at Onslow, School, late 1959 /60 left April 1962 15 years old.
    This school was not St Audrey’s
    Classes 4R and 4H
    People I remember
    Where are they now?
    Linder Harvey
    Bernard Scott
    Dave Sadler
    Bobby Burns
    Alex Hall
    Evelyn Jones ( your here )
    Chris Connel ( somewhere near Scarborough ? )

    By Denis Steele (20/11/2020)
  • I appreciate all of your kind comments, I was very pleased to see and read through them.
    I am afraid that none of the names of pupils and teachers, ring any bells at all.
    I can only remember the teacher who had the worst effect on me, the PE teacher an ex army bloke. I was a weedy kid with absolutely no stamina, and he took advantage of it.

    By Barry Cross (06/07/2020)
  • I went to Onslow school and left in 1976.
    I remember Mr Bromley maths and PE. He wasn’t a very nice guy. I remember a very innocent nice guy called Darell Taylor. He was talking in class and Bromley through a solid wood chalk board eraser at him. It stuck in the plaster wall and may have killed him or knocked him out if it had struck him. I heard he got transferred to a borstal school, were he was probably better suited. I remember, Martin Evans, Robert Scarborough (Scooby), Robert Taylor, Chris Wren, Paul Chapman, Darrel Taylour, Gidder Etc.

    By Chris Reed (17/05/2020)
  • I remember the fire of 1972 had to go to another school for lessons remember Mr Schofield science,
    Mr Bromley P.E,Mr Warrington (grolly) Head Mr Jiles. Mrs Gascombe dep head, to Mr Woods maths
    Mr Giles form teacher, the swimming pool that never was, the trips to the ideal home exhibition technical drawing. Football with tennis ball smoking at break time end of year flour and eggs being thrown now that’s old.

    By Alan connolly (26/04/2020)
  • Hi I went to Onslow from 1967-1970 Mr Giles was Head, Mrs Goscome was deputy head with I think Mr Mullins or maybe he came just before we left. Class mates Brett Sheriff Keith Waterman Michael Pike , Chris Bradford ,Dave Saunders, Kev Hyde, Donald Hudson, Cindy Smith, Maxine Grey , Sylvia Clark. Sandra Batrik. Jackie Smith, just to mention a few. Had good times steep learning curve emotionally. All part of growing up I guess.

    By David Seaton (15/10/2019)
  • I attended the school between 1970 – 76 and I remember ‘Scoffa’ Schofield in my first year and the whole class getting detention and lines for something one of the class members did and also being wary of the ‘bendy’ cane on the wall. During my time there the swimming pool was completed and spent many a happy time learning to canoe and barrel roll, sometimes having to break the ice, and diving off the changing room roof. Good old Mr Bromlie took a number of us in the school mini bus to London to watch the Song remains the same, great evening. Remember Mrs Varty for Maths in my early years, latterly followed by Mr Bastable. Technical engineering was fun, using the furnaces building steam engines and putting together an engine driven go-kart, not to mention fighting stars, courtesy of Bruce lee, but not to the knowledge of Mr Hart. Immediate friends where:- Andrew Weston (Snest!), Andrew Fisher (Fosh) unfortunately died too young😔, Gary Cross – a good left jab, to my cost! Selwyn Griffiths (Best man). Had a great time in the Six form and playing loud music in the sixth form block, didn’t want to leave but job beckoned. Great memories, too many to mention.

    By Kevin Allan (20/07/2019)
  • Just discovered this site and have read all the comments. What memories they bring back. I was at Onslow from 1966-1974. Mr Giles was the Head Teacher and my dad had to pressurise him to allow me to do Technical Drawing as it was unheard of for a girl to do it back then! I still love using a pencil, ruler, set square etc and got an A at A-level. My dad was also involved in the fund raising for the ill fated pool. Teachers I remember are Mr. Ball (RE), Mrs Goscombe, Mr. Jarvis (English), Mr. Schofield (Science), Mr Latham ?, and my favourite Mr. McAuley who ignited my interest in Maths. Oh and dishy Mr. Bromley who had an MGB-GT and started an after school football group for us girls and then gave us a lift home in that gorgeous car (wouldn’t happen today!). Someone mentioned Mr Warrington and how he was religious. He was a member of Moral Rearmament and I remember going to The Royal Albert Hall and to a party at his house. One of his daughters was in my year and I think her name was Ruth. I went on a skiing trip in 2nd year. People I remember are Carol Tulip, Vanessa ?,, Susan Sapsed, Peter Needham, Lynne ? Pat Jarret, William Ainsworth. Also from the year above Roger Slater and Ian Bowden and Julie Bishop. Anyone remember the great plays we did, Diary of Anne Frank, The Boyfriend, Witness for the Prosecution? I only had bit parts or helped out back stage but loved it. Happy days.

    By Maureen Chisholm (Edmeades) (04/08/2018)
  • my email address was wrong
    message me at

    I successfully got to 60 years young last month and I am still enjoying teaching maths.

    By Ian hands (13/06/2018)
  • I just found this site by accident whilst searching for an ex-pupil. I was at Onslow from 1960 to 1966, starting at the old building and moving to the new building when it opened in (I think) 1961. I remember Christine Dixon, and quite a few other names. There were a lot of names and short histories from that time on Friends Reunited, but that seems to be all sadly lost. My regards to anyone who still remembers our school days!

    By Barry Knowles (23/05/2018)
  • I to want to Onslow but via Burleigh. Enjoyed the time mostly but dressed maths with Mrs Bats. Mr Evans sometimes took the class but spent the time tallying the takings from the tuck shop. Clearly remember Paulette cracking her head open. Had all my art work destroyed in the fire so had to have an average mark, thanks we all knew who it was. Giles non descript schofield scary Latham gorgeous smalley excellent art teacher Mr Ball and Miss Furr married and double barrelled their names, really!!

    By Christine Greaves nee Hill (11/04/2018)
  • Great to hear that others have some fond memories of so long ago at Onslow. It was some 50 years ago that Phil White and I used to attend! I do remember an interesting party at yours Phil.
    It all seems so innocent in those times and it probably was a much simpler life then.
    When I think about how teaching has changed in that time it probably reflects how different life is now.

    By John Davison (16/02/2018)
  • Hi Barry,
    I attended Onslow school in Endymion Road from 1958-1962 in fact I believe George Challis, (he became the school wicket keeper & goal keeper) & I were the very first pupils to enter as ‘Onslow’ because we turned up a day early!
    Chris Connell

    By Chris Connell (31/10/2017)
  • My sister told me about this site and mentioned John Davison who was in my class, along with the other names John mentioned. I also remember some girls’ names but I won’t mention them here (a bit embarrassing!). This is aimed at John in particular as I recall we hung about for a while after leaving school, going out to St. Albans Civic Centre, along with Donald McDougall and someone else whose name escapes me. Good and bad memories of school all a bit vague now. I do remember some of the teachers John mentioned. Loved the sport but never took it up unfortunately. Did become a lecturer (eventually) in FE teaching IT, Electronics, Programming, AutoCAD to name but a few topics. Now retired but work part time in Plymouth. Married with 1 child (whose an adult now) and a couple of grandkids.

    By Phil White (03/10/2017)
  • I was at Onslow 1972 to 1977 in the ‘middle stream’ and I went on a school trip to Stow-on-the-Wold-with most boys but also two girlfriends namely Kerry Sampson and Linda Paulson. The teachers (Mr Bromley I think was one of them and a female teacher), spent all week driving round the country lanes at breakneck speed. This might have been the hot summer of 1976 as there was a plague of ladybirds. Assembly with Mr Giles, Deputy Head and Headmistress was very formal as they paraded through the centre of assembly each morning heading to the stage – in their black gowns and mortar boards (like Headmaster and teacher in the Beano .. I always thought). Who remembers a double period of Maths in A block with Mr. Bastable ! Is there anyone out there still alive from my year ?

    By Rebecca Alfonso (nee Kershaw) (19/01/2017)
  • Hello Carl Parsons. I think you were in my year. As far as reunions go, I went to one in about 1990 at the sixth-form block; abut 60 people attended from our year, but dollimore I didn’t know them, which was a pity. My mother still lives in the same house as when I attended the school and visit the town about 3 times a year. I would like to meet up with Charles Boyce, Nigel Tebb, Chris Evans, Marcus Dollimore; it’s so long ago I can’t remember most people’s names. Unfortunately we didn’t have class photos in those days, or my parents couldn’t afford them as I only have memories, mostly the abuse handed out by some teachers.

    I became a teacher. I’m still doing it as I near 60. They would be locked up if they did that these days. However I got some good memories of the teachers like Mr Bromley who took us on adventure trips, and a dwarf Art teacher who inspired me to get into ceramics as a hobby. Leave message at handsathome@bropenworld.com if u want.

    By Ian Hands (08/01/2017)
  • Does anyone know if there is a reunion for ex Onslow school leavers approaching 60 year old? I started 1968 at 11 years old. I have never been to one.

    By Carl Parsons (11/10/2016)
  • Hey, does anyone remember David Bates, went to onslow secondary 1967 to 1970, lived in Maryland then moved to St Albans, remembers Mr Ball and Mr Carter and Mr Schofeild, also remembers Pauline Tipping, James Binyon, Brian Woods, Helen McDonald and Christopher Berretta. If any of you remember David Bates, he would love to see who remembers! Please email me at Albates97@gmail.com. I am his granddaughter and will pass the email along.

    By David Bates (30/07/2016)
  • I was at Onslow in 1968 to 1975 stayed on till 3rd year 6th form retaking exams. Remember Charles Boyce, Jonathan was in my year Music was great Glyniss Green I think remember Mr Ball and Mr Schofield and Mr Carter metalwork. I ran a School tuckshop. Can not say I hated the school as I stayed on as long as I could.

    By Carl Parsons (16/05/2016)
  • Does anyone remember “Grolly”; Mr Warrington, He lived on Haseldine Meadows and was a social studies teacher. As far as I remember he had 1 or 2 daughters. They were churchy people and had no TV, so entertainment was a piano in the living room. I remember once we went from school with him to The Royal Albert Hall and saw Sir Malcolm Sargent. Got my first taste of Classical music.. So he was not all Bad. 

    By Vic Thompson (02/11/2015)
  • I was at Onslow from 1969 to 1974, I hated every minute of it. I was really clever but as I was new to the area when I started the school and as there where no school records in those days I put in a random bottom streamed  class. The bullying was dreadful from pupils and staff. Mr Schofield regularly gave me the slipper, child abuse. Mr Ball picked on me as I always finished his too easy work, the work was unchallenging, but Mr Bromley was the shining light, great for outdoor education. We all knew who started the fire in 1972, but nothing was ever done; she remained at the school. My parents still live in the same house and so I am in the area once or twice a year, over 40 years after leaving. Despite the rubbish education, I ended up being a successful teacher myself, I still am !! Great friends but didn’t keep in touch, Martin Chalkey, Nigel Tebb, Steve Evans, Charles Boyce. Some girls were nice in my class but I never had any contact with them outside school.  I loved art with the dwarf teacher we had at the Burleigh school; we went once a week. He was an inspiration to me as I still have all the work he got me to do hanging on my walls. I have no pictures at all of my time there.

    By Ian Hands (14/03/2015)
  • I was at the school before the Girls Grammar opened and the boys from that stream were moved to Hatfield School. generally pretty happy memories of Mr Sexton and others. Can’t remember many of my fellow pupils although Colin Carter does ring a bell

    By Chris Sanders (15/10/2014)
  • I was also at the school and remember many of the teachers commented on above. I also remember the PE teachers Mr Tarr and Mr Bromley, both of whom I thought were wonderful. PE was my main interest and I eventually went on to teach it myself. I had Mr Jervis and Mrs Goscombe for English, Mr Webb for Geography, Mr McCauley and Mr Evans for Maths Mr Smalley for art, Mr Arnot for Woodwork and Mr Schofield for Science. Some students I remember include Don McDougall, Derek Maynard, John Booth, Laird Budge, Phil Carter, Frank Dance and Phil White. My brother and sister also went to the school and They were by and large happy times.Swimming pool never was finished even though I spent some weekends digging the hole and making the changing rooms!!

    By John Davison (30/09/2014)
  • I was at the “real” Onslow from 12 to 15,  1959 to 1962. We were always the highest year, from 2nd to 4th year, not really sure why. I was a dunce always in lower part of the C classes until the 4th year when Steaming was virtually done away with by putting all the boys into 4 H ( Mr Hopkins ) and the girls into 4 R ( Mrs Reeves ) as I remember. Teachers

    Mr Gwilym Williams Geography, Mr Tar PE,  Bernard  Scott, Alex Hall, Bobby Burns, David Saddler, Chris Connell, Linda Copper, Evelyn Jones, many others.  

    By Denis Steele (03/09/2014)
  • I attended Onslow from 1959-63, before the “new” school opened we were in the old St Audrey’s school buildings.  I also remember Mr Giles, Mrs Goscombe, there was also a Mr Rush who taught French, and my nemesis Mr McAuley for Maths ! 

    By Maureen Franklin (05/08/2014)
  • I was at Onslow school 1959-60 as the Hatfield Girls Grammar school was not completed and we shared with the secondary modern for 2 years. I remember the headmaster, Mr Sexton who had a booming voice and scared me rigid, he took us for history, Mr Willis took French and there was a domestic science teacher who called us all sluts – charming!. The school building was pretty small as I remember with wrought iron entrance gates but it did have a playing field. It was fun being in a mixed school, when we moved on to the grammar is was girls only. The only boy I remember was Colin Carter and I think the uniform was pretty drab

    By Christine Mitchell nee Hussey (04/08/2014)
  • My sister Christine Dixon will have been at school when you were as she was born in 1949, sadly she died 3 years ago. I recall her being in the school play Diary Of Anne Frank. I also went to Onslow from 1967. Mr Giles was the head and everyone feared Mrs Goscombe although Christine was a big fan of hers. Teachers I remember are Mr Ball, R.E. he fractured my leg playing hockey! Also Mr Jarvis, lovely English teacher, Mr Schofield who everyone was scared of, he loved using the slipper, chemistry, Mrs Boyce….bomber Boyce who we all played up, history. Mr Latham who all the girls fancied, to name but a few. Jane Anderson was my best friend and we are still in touch.We used to truant from school and get on the bus to see how far we could go without a ticket, usually to Potters Bar or Barnett. My dad would have killed me! Other school friends were Pat Jarret, Maureen Oxley, Helen McMahon, William Ainsworth, his mum made fudge and he used to sell it for Sixpence. Paulette Forbes who fell when being dared to do long jump on the concrete and fell and split her head open! Gary Hopkins and brothers. Mark Peerett who was best friends with Gary. Tony Mardell who I was in the school play with, Witness For The Prosecution. Sarah Bradford, she shaved her eyebrows off! Carol Tulip who eveyone wanted to be. The Bacon twins, Shirley and Jeanette, Susan Sapsed, Antonia Cornwall, Heather Graham, I could name a lot more.

    I remember, the fund raising that went on for the “outside swimming pool” which never happened. Also the amalgamation with Burleigh High which made us then a school with over 1000 pupils!  The charity walk which was 25 miles, the blisters were awful.

    I loved Domestic Science, we learnt to cook from starting with scrambled egg, progressing to all types of pastry. I am now a good cook and still bake. I have remebered the name of the teacher Mrs Jones, funny little lady.They don’t teach cookery like that anymore as I now work in a secondary school.

    I have many more stories and recall lots of other names if anyone is interested? I would love to see some more stories.

    Irene Dixon sometimes known as Dickie.



    By Liz Davey was Irene Dixon (20/06/2014)