Plaistow County Grammar School
Non Quo, Sed Quomodo (Not To What End, But How),Deo Confidimus (In God We Trust)
|Final Headmaster||Gerard Ward|
|Location||Prince Regent Lane
|DfE URN||102783 Tables|
|Houses||Barking, Beckton, Cumberland, Regent|
Plaistow County Grammar School, also known as "Plaistow Grammar" or "PGS", was a local authority mixed gender Grammar school established in 1945 and located on Prince Regent Lane (A112) in Plaistow, in the County Borough of West Ham and then the London Borough of Newham in east London. It was disestablished in 1972 upon its merging to create a Comprehensive school.
The school first opened in 1926 as Plaistow Secondary School on the site in the south of the borough, and was designed to cater for 250 pupils A second quadrangle was completed in 1930 increasing the capacity to 600, reaching a similar enrolment to that of West Ham Secondary School (until 1925 known as West Ham Central Secondary School), its counterpart in the north of the borough. In 1930 the school magazine The Plaistovian (Plaistovian meaning of or belonging to Plaistow) was launched and publication continued until the school was merged in 1972. Among the initial editorial staff was pupil Norman Price who later became Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue and obtain a knighthood.
Before and during the second world war, pupils and staff were evacuated at various times to (briefly) Wellington in Somerset, then to Weymouth in Dorset, South Molton in Devon, Helston and Newquay, both in Cornwall.
In 1972, following the 1965 changes in educational infrastructure proposed by the Ministry of Education, the school was merged with Faraday Secondary Modern School to become Cumberland Comprehensive School. The name Cumberland Comprehensive was taken from Cumberland Road, which ran past Faraday Secondary Modern and past the Cumberland Road Playing Fields which abutted the grammar school and were routinely used by it for physical education.
The Latin motto of the original secondary school was Non Quo, Sed Quomodo. Dr Harold Priestley's book "Plaistow Sec: The Story of a School" credits this to Miss M "Maggie" Lamb, MA, an English teacher who joined the school in 1927 and who translated it as "Not to what end, but how" (also translated as "Not by whom but in what manner"), in other words the end does not justify the means or (colloquially) "It ain't what you do it's the way that you do it". In the 1950s the motto of the County Borough of West Ham, Deo Confidimus (translated as "In God we trust"), was adopted. After West Ham joined with the County Borough of East Ham and small parts of Barking and Woolwich to form the London Borough of Newham in 1965, the school's motto remained.
Plaistow Secondary School and Plaistow Grammar operated a House system to create competition, rivalry and team spirit. Pupils were allocated to one of four Houses – Barking, Regent, Beckton and Cumberland (named after four roads to the north, east, south and west of the school). Each House had a distinctive colour worn for sports and during physical education.
The selective admission to the grammar school was gained through the Eleven plus exam although in some cases pupils were able to transfer from a Secondary Modern school on evaluation by the local education authority.
The broad curriculum was focused on academic rather than vocational education, and included languages, sciences, art, and music subjects, culminating in RSA, CSE, GCE O-level and GCE A-level exams, while other certificates were also offered. Examination results became among the best in the borough, with many pupils gaining entrance to university.
- Paul Bach, journalist
- Commander Nick Bracken OBE, Metropolitan police
- Fred Jarvis, trade unionist
- Allan Levene, information technology specialist
- Malcolm McFee, actor
- Terence Stamp, actor
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- EduBase2 (for Cumberland School)