ST. AUGUSTINE’S GRAMMAR SCHOOL
MANCHESTER, M22 4PJ

Head Master The Rt Rev. Mgr. F.J. McGuiness, S.T.L., M.A.
Telephone 061-428 3896

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  S/25  

4th January, 1977

My dear Parents,

I trust you have enjoyed the Christmas Festival, and I wish you continue the joy in this whole season of solemnities and celebrations which lasts from Christmas to the Epiphany. Now that we have started another year in the civil calendar, let me wish every blessing during 1977.

As we start this new term — known here as the Lent Term, because Lent occupies most of it. I thank you for all the personal greetings which you have very kindly sent to me. I must thank you also for your generous contributions to the Chapel Fund which we received, this morning. However, I trust you will permit me to remark that some of you have not yet made your contribution. Please be assured that any contribution will be most gratefully , and I do hope you will agree that the maintenance of the Chapel, which is at the heart of our School, deserves a contribution from all, who support the School.

The Feast of the Epiphany, or Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, will be observed here on Thursday, 6th January. The main event of the day will be the High Mass at 11 a.m. All parents of our boys are welcome to join us at Mass. If we are to give you a front seat, please come in good time.

The School half—yearly examinations and assessments will soon be in progress; later in the year we shall be making application for our boys to take the various examinations for the General Certificate of Education, and when the summer comes we shall know very much more about the academic successes and future destiny of our most senior pupils. Per the present, however, I think you would like to know the results of the examinations which were held in late November and early December for admission to the Colleges of Oxford and Cambridge.

Andrew Carroll has obtained a place at University College, Oxford, to read

Philosophy, Polities and Economics. We understand that his performance in the Entrance Examination in Modern Studies put him "at the top of the list of accepted Commoners".

Mark Greenall who took the Entrance and Scholarship Examination in

English, has received an Open Award to read English Language and Literature at Exeter College, Oxford.

Aloysius Gregg took the Cambridge Colleges Examination in Mathematics and

has been awarded an Exhibition to read for the Mathematical Tripos at Jesus College, Cambridge.

Andrew Whatnall took the Entrance Examination in Natural Science and has

obtained a place at The Queen’s College, Oxford, to read Chemistry.

Allow me now to mention another matter- which I rarely need to mention, so unanimous is the co—operation and understanding of our parents. Unless I am greatly mistaken, we are all agreed that this is a uniform—wearing school, and I think it would lose some at least of its attraction for most of you if it ceased to be such a school. Indeed, I have never met any parent or student who would object in general to the school uniform: the only difficulty we ever have is with certain individuals who, no doubt, thoughtlessly, and with many other problems to solve, demand some concessions, some change in the uniform, for their own immediate convenience, which they would not demand for everyone else. I am thinking particularly — and in this cold weather you may think it a topical thought — of outdoor clothing. One observes with concern the appearance of a variety of garments which are clearly non—uniform, and I must put it to you that it would take not a majority, but only a minority of thoughtless parents to turn this school into one with virtually no uniform.

Rather than be accused of opposition to road safety, I normally refrain from comment at the outdoor garments worn by cyclists. (Luminous clothing seems defensible enough, but how a khaki anorak is more visible than a blue one is hard to understand.) It must at least be understood that all cyclists if they wish to go with their schoolfellows on any excursion for which uniform is worn, e.g. to see a Play, or a Concert, during school hours, must wear the same outdoor clothing as the others.

One observes also with surprise a perceptible increase in anoraks and parkas, particularly amongst our younger pupils. Some of us find it difficult to understand why our boys should be attracted to clothes which make them look like primary schoolchildren, at a primary school which has no uniform.

All parents who have purchased the recommended "Robert Hirst" raincoat agree that it is hard—wearing as well as attractive. Those who think it too expensive are, of course, at liberty to obtain any raincoat which will ensure that their son looks as though he attends the same school as the others, Let me remind you also that Henry Barrie supply a Navy—blue Crombie overcoat which is perfectly acceptable for school wear and which many may prefer during the winter. We omitted to mention it in the last list of school uniform, probably because the previous winter had been rather mild.

Most of you will have come to know and to regard with much affection Mrs. Christine Wood, who has taught Religious Studies, French and Latin and served as a Form Mistress with much distinction since her arrival here in January, 1973. You will be sorry to know that she has left us, but you will, I am sure, join with us in wishing her every success in her much deserved promotion to the post of Head of Modern Languages at the Marist High School.

Mr. Neil Creighton will be remembered by many of you, as he taught here during the academic year 1973—4. If you do remember him, you will be glad to know that he is back with us again as this new term commences and that he will, for the present, take over the duties previously performed by Mrs Wood. We welcome also Miss Helen Raymond, an Honours Graduate in Graphics and Illustration, who will be with us for the afternoons of this academic year, and will work with Mr Addis in the Art Department.

Finally, at this commencement of the New Year, when so many accounts are presented, you may be happy to know that our present enrolment is 643, of whom 164 are in the Sixth Form, and we have a teaching staff of 43. We are, as always, at your service and assure you of our gratitude and our co—operation. Once again, a happy Hew Year to you all.

Yours sincerely,

(F.J. McGUINESS)
Headmaster