Devoted teacher’s memory will be held dear to many
FREE-THINKING, formidable, un-bigoted and extremely understanding, the man who founded what is now Trinity School in Leamington will be remembered by hundreds of former pupils and colleagues.
Peter Hastings, who in 1966 set up the Bishops Bright Grammar School - as it was formerly known, has died at the age of 89.
Louise Charters, who was a pupil under the father-of-five and then worked as a teacher with him, said: “He was just pro-children. That was his absolute centre of concentration.”
After running a religious book shop and leading a publishing project in Oxford, the young Mr Hastings trained as a teacher and spent three years teaching in Uganda before taking on the job of setting up a new grammar school in Leamington - where he remained headteacher until 1991.
Describing him as “extraordinarily contentious”, Ms Charters said he had very strong opinions on how children should be educated and soon he had ridden the school of uniforms and introduced the practice - which continues today - of pupils addressing teachers by their first names.
She said: “He thought teachers and children were on a par, so you did not automatically have to respect a teacher - they should earn it first.
“Peter absolutely did not believe that the eleven plus sorted out the weak from the chaff. He went on character.
“We were scored on how we could have done better rather than how we did compared to others.”
She added: “He had the biggest memory of anybody I had ever met. He would remember every child who had been at his school.”
Mr Hastings’ friend Fabian Radcliffe, who met him in Oxford in 1951 and ended up working with him as the school chaplain at Bishops Bright for 19 years, moved to Leicester in the 1980s but the two men continued to meet regularly.
He said: “Peter was very formidable, but at the same time, he had a great gentleness and compassion.
“He was extremely understanding of people and his perceptions of how young people would develop were amazing.”
Describing him as “utterly devoted” to the school, Mr Radcliffe added: “If there was a problem with a child, he would go to see their parents and they would be completely won over by his ability to produce something positive out of a dangerous or confusing situation.
“He has had a good and very full life.”
Mr Hastings’ died on June 2. A funeral service is too place today on Friday at Blackfriars Priory in Oxford.
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Weather for Leamington
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North
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