Burnley Grammar School

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Burnley Grammar School
Burnley Grammar School
Year: 1959
Views: 991,561
Item #: 1607
There's pleny of room in the modern-styled gymnasium for muscle developing, where the boys are supervised by Mr. R. Parry, the physical education instruction.
Source: Lancashire Life Magazine, December 1959

Comment by: spelvin on 15th August 2021 at 02:30

MichaelT, why do you think James deserved it?
Didn't James suffer enough from having to obey a domineering mother?

We all have a tendency to believe that everybody deserves what they get.
Stanley Milgram's esxperiment confirmed this.

Comment by: MichaelT on 14th August 2021 at 12:05

Seems like you deserved that punishment and treatment somehow. I'd maybe even joined the gang. Seems not that bad after all.

Comment by: James on 14th August 2021 at 09:00

MichaelT, it was just a swift stoke with a ruler and I immediately jumped out of the way to avoid a second stroke.They just laughed and thought it was funny. I just rubbed the back of my thighs to ease the pain. Yes they found it more amusing when they saw that it hurt.

Comment by: MichaelT on 13th August 2021 at 19:28

For how long did they punished you like this? Six vs one isn't nice. sure more bad when they are younger than you and I assume all of them had a ruler and it wasn't just one ruler? What did they say when doing it? How did you deal with the pain? So did they notice you are having pain to make more fun of you?

Comment by: James on 13th August 2021 at 18:46

MichaelT,I was about 13 when they inflicted this 'punishment'.I suppose it was a sort of game to them.I don't think teachers were aware of if happening.I suppose there were about six boys in a gang who took part in it.I was very shocked when it happened especially as some of the boys were younger than me and I thought the main attraction was that I was wearing shorts and they were wearing long trousers.

Comment by: MichaelT on 13th August 2021 at 15:50

James How old were you when they did this to you? Teachers never noticed or said something? How many did it to you? What was your reaction to it?

Comment by: James on 13th August 2021 at 13:21

Michael T, I had to suffer this indignity occasionally and it was done with a ruler on the back of my thighs. It was done in my school uniform wearing my shirt and blazer.It was always done surreptitiously so the teachers didn't notice,but the marks took a while to fade so it could easily have been seen by teachers.

Comment by: MichaelT on 13th August 2021 at 13:02

James how often they repeated this? Only on your thighs? Weren't you shirtless? No teacher noticed?

Comment by: MichaelT on 13th August 2021 at 11:47

James how often they repeated this? Only on your thighs? Weren't you shirtless? No teacher noticed?

Comment by: James on 13th August 2021 at 07:13

Rob/MichaelT, I was used to similar 'punishments'administered by boys at school.They would sneak up behind me with a plastic ruler and pull the ruler back and then release it so that it gave me a sharp smack on the back of my thighs below the hem of my short trousers.It really hurt and left a mark for all to see,

Comment by: MichaelT on 12th August 2021 at 20:23

Rob I'd say every teen will see how strong and tough they are. Sure I made similar experiances.

Comment by: William on 12th August 2021 at 16:03


Comment by: Rob on 12th August 2021 at 09:23

Hi MichaelT, for example 10 minutes of gut punch. But the problem was it was raining and it was a bit cold (5/6 C). Did you have a similar experience?

Comment by: James on 10th August 2021 at 14:59

Rob,going bare chested and only wearing shorts meant that you could almost get an all over tan.

Comment by: MichaelT on 10th August 2021 at 09:01


what they did to your chest?

Comment by: Rob on 9th August 2021 at 08:23

Yeah, but I think the problem wasn’t short or trousers, but the fact we were shirtless. I was get used to that when I played with friends and a lot of punishments were very tough (stand up tied shirtless in front of them so they can do whatever they want on your chest). Obviously we weren’t at school, I’m talking about when we played outside school

Comment by: Mr Dando on 8th August 2021 at 17:25

James, Frank, Alan, William, Michael, Rob, Sam, Bernard, Steven, Tim, Ryan, Michael, Chris and Greg it is disgraceful to hear of the historic injustices that were perpetrated against you. As a fellow survivor myself I know the wretched practices that PE teachers carried out in the 1980's and before. I remember when our gym class was "cancelled" at the last moment in early 1987 and we were forced to do swimming in white shorts which went see through in the chlorinated water to the PE Teacher's obvious delight. Not to forget the "IRA bomb bell" which tended to go off when we were half dressed in the lower year changing rooms.

While pupils today are not subject to the same degree of oppression we suffered there are still schools which limit tracksuits to the Discretion of the teacher.


Optional Kit
Tracksuit bottoms may be worn at the discretion of the PE staff - plain black only
(these can be obtained from the uniform supplier and comes in unisex or ladies cut
with or without elastic)



Purple tracksuit bottoms with CA logo.
Swimming costume for showers.
Additional warm clothing/base layers may be worn underneath the Academy kit during very cold weather at the discretion of
the member of staff.


Optional Items
Piggott Tracksuit bottoms (to be worn at the discretion of the PE Teacher. A recommended purchase if participating in school


These can be worn outside but only during November to February at the discretion of the Teacher and is sometimes barred on health
and safety grounds.


Correct kit must be worn for all PE lessons. All students will be expected to take part, unless a valid note is produced, signed by a parent/carer. If a child has a medical condition which may affect their long term participation, then they may be asked to bring in a medical note or evidence from your family GP. Students will not be allowed to wear training shoes or socks for gymnastics. Students may wear navy tracksuit bottoms for PE lessons during periods of cold weather and at the teacher’s discretion.

This school has a sexist policy with no reference of tracksuits boys but girls can only wear tracksuits at teeacher's discretion. https://www.alechunter.org/index.php/parents/uniform

PE Kit Outdoor
School Rugby Shirt (compulsory)
School Polo Shirt (compulsory, worn underneath the Rugby shirt)
Plain Black Shorts
Black Football Socks
Football Boots
Shin Pads (for football)
Gum shield (recommended)

School Sweatshirt (compulsory)
School Polo Shirt (compulsory, worn underneath the Sweatshirt)
Plain Black Shorts
Black Football Socks
Suitable Trainers
Plain Black Tracksuit Bottoms (worn at the teacher's discretion)

By contrast this school has a better policy.


Navy/black tracksuit bottoms and/or shorts (students discretion to wear what and when)

Please join my campaign, the wearing of tracksuits bottoms should always be at the discretion of the student and not at the discretion of the teacher. To improve child protection the policy should not be restricted to outdoor sports or during inclement weather. Let us use this opportunity to build back better for today's kids.

Comment by: James on 8th August 2021 at 07:08

FrankC," At primary level it was the norm to wear shorts and at senior level the progression was to wear'long' trousers".
When I moved up to secondary school my mother decided to put me in school uniform with short trousers and I wore them with distinction.
It was quite the opposite where the majority on boys wore long trousers and only a few wore shorts like myself.
When we had an influx of first year pupils most of the boys were wearing long trousers and this put me in an embarrassing position as I was still in shorts,much to my contention.Some of the pupils would question me as to why I was still in shorts when I was nearly three years older than they were.

Comment by: FrankC on 7th August 2021 at 16:33

James was correct in saying that at Primary level the norm was to wear shorts and senior level was a progression towards 'long' trousers.I remember the eleven plus exam round about Easter taken in the fourth year of Primary level quite a few boys had jumped the gun they would have had older brothers in the senior school and I think they wished to wear long trousers like them and their parents must have relented. Also it was the era of thrift and a few I knew in my class had hand me downs!

Comment by: Alan on 6th August 2021 at 05:30

William and Michael: I have not suggested ALL teachers were paedophiles - and frankly, if they were, it would not bother me unduly if the geography master liked looking at a particular boy, because the lad will be in his school clothes. It is obvious though that a PE master, especially when he has fetishes about bare feet or bare chests, or showers is a real menace. It is also not a good idea, if, for example, that geography master has the opportunity to wonder through the gym on one pretext or another to cop a better look.

Whether you like to admit it or not, those situations DID prevail, certainly into the 1980s, and perhaps even later, and nobody thought to question it. They question it now, and I am very glad that they do.

Comment by: William on 4th August 2021 at 16:49

Well said, Michael, I completely agree with you. I was fortunate to go to a good grammar school in the 1960s. We had the usual gym regime of communal showers and minimal kit and it did me nothing but good. Emphatically our master was not a pervert; we were not abused; and neither were we naive.

Comment by: Michael on 4th August 2021 at 13:46

Perhaps too much is focused on the very few negative aspects of our schooldays, overlooking the vast majority of the time that school staff did an admirable job in less-than-ideal, often underfunded conditions.

My experience of grammar school in the 1960s was that there was a mountain of work for both pupils and teachers to do, and never enough time to do it. Everyone was under stress from the demanding curriculum, hours of homework handed out every day, relentless exam deadlines and the school's competitive ethos.

Even so, all the teachers I knew unstintingly gave of their spare time for extra-curricular activities such as hobby or sports clubs.

As a result of their workload they were often tired, and this led to occasional instances of impatience which I readily forgave. After all, we are all only human, aren't we?

With just one exception, everybody who taught my class was, in my opinion, a true professional. They really knew their subjects and the limits of our ability, and were understandably annoyed if they felt we were not giving 100% effort in return.

The one teacher who fell short of these olympian standards soon disappeared from the scene - presumably 'moved on' by the headmaster.

Comment by: James on 3rd August 2021 at 14:43

Hi Rob,when I was growing up it was the convention for younger boys at primary school to school to wear shorts and usually when we left and attended secondary school most boys were promoted to long trousers.
I continued to wear shorts for school until I was 14, against my will as I was subjected teasing and ridicule from other pupils both boys and girls.
I just felt that I was too old to wear shorts and wanted to wear long trousers like other boys.

Comment by: Rob on 3rd August 2021 at 06:58

Hi James, the problem was that I love to wear short, but I hate to be barechested. So the problem wasn’t shorts but my bare chest, even though I get used to that. I remember outside school when me and my friends played air soft or made punishment, I was always shirtless but it wasn’ta problem. The problem was that punishments chosen by my friends were very tough (obviously we were out of school)

Comment by: Alan on 3rd August 2021 at 04:26

Bernard: We have to remember that the criminals on that list are the "unlucky" ones who have been caught - there will be many more that, due to the embarrassment of the victims, have got away with it, others who have bluffed their way out of it, or for which they were given the benefit of the doubt.

We also have to remember that most of these charges relate to the past decade. Prior to, say, 1980, teachers were regarded as sacrosanct, an any pupil making an allegation would automatically not have been believed.

I still maintain that, prior to that time, a great many paedophile teachers, and teachers with a fetish for "strict discipline" got away with things that would today find them faced with criminal charges. Of course, prior to 1967, the teachers concerned would have taken great care not to have acknowledged their proclivities, as they were, in themselves, and by themselves, against the law.

I think, back then and today, you have to question the motives of many of the teachers recalled in this thread, who took an overweening interest in the boys changing room and showers and what little boys wore under their shorts. Recalled in 2021, their behaviour seems voyeuristic and sordid.

Comment by: Bernard on 1st August 2021 at 22:29

Alan - you really are sensitive about "pejorative" remarks and yes, of course political correctness has done a lot of harm in recent years. I mentioned monitoring of showers in response to another comment but I made no mention of voyeurism so that was not according to my views.
I remember our teachers walked through the changing/shower room usually carrying equipment to put away or get out for the next lesson. They did not stop and stare but made it clear they were never far away. Ocassionally a boy might be sent back to the showers if he had not cleaned all the mud off his legs or body. Sometimes we had to be hurried along so that we would not be late for the next lesson but I was never aware of anything untoward about the teacher being present.

I am surprised no-one has commented of the list of child abuse offenders for which you posted the link. It does contain a lot of teachers - hardly surprising as that would be the obvious profession for any-one whose attraction to children was not of a healthy nature. Having said that however, there has only ever been a very small minority of teachers who have abused the children in their care and we must be careful not to tar all teachers with the same brush. I find it even more worrying that the list contains a very large number of people with foreign sounding names.

I still maintain that the current unwillingness to push children outside their comfort zones is not helping children in the long run. I know I run the risk of being attacked for using cliches again but the terms "entitled" and "snowflakes" come to mind.

Comment by: James on 30th July 2021 at 15:01

Hi Rob, I remember going on a long cross country run and arriving back late and if I had changed back into my uniform I would have missed the bus home so I went back home in just my shorts.
Did you wear shorts as a punishment at home or did you like wearing them?

Comment by: Rob on 30th July 2021 at 10:30

Sam, yes it was very tough and humiliating to do it. You get me remind when I had to run barechested, it was raining and my chest was full of mud, and I was told to continue as I was to do the last part of the lesson. The problem was that my shirt was burned for a joke by a my classmate, and I had to go home as I was

Comment by: Alan on 29th July 2021 at 03:49

Sam - yes that is late for that sort of behaviour. I never thought the "war-wracked" excuse ever stood up anyway - like Stockholm Syndrome a lot of kids who were subject to the strict discipline (even described as "tough love" by some) seek to make excuses for treatment which, in these more enlightend times, would be seen for the abuse it was, and punished as such.

Comment by: Sam on 28th July 2021 at 12:03

Hi Alan, this was late 1980s so quite a way after the war! But he wasn't a particularly nice bloke, I have to say.
I don't think I'd have found it such an issue if my whole class had been required to do the same, it was just that feeling of being singled as the only boy doing the whole lesson shirtless.