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The Teaching and Support Staff

The Teaching Staff

Mr. Warriner Mr. Gerald R. Warriner. Mr. Warriner, one time teacher and deputy head in all but title, was always an eccentric character, best known in the 'old days' (i.e. before my time) for his brutality in his use of the cane. No-one will ever forget those eyes staring right through you into the distance, his pointed finger accompanied by a truly maniacal 'Hi!', the captioned posters of monkeys sitting prone on toilets which he would bring into chapel, and stories so unbelievable that they would make old Simon 'tall tales' Wiesenthal blush with embarrassment. A true Quantockian character. Nicknames: 'Warrinoco'. Although most people just called him Gerry.

Mr. Shepherd Mr. Peter Shepherd. Although at some stage I believe he had been a teacher, during my time at Quantock Mr. Shepherd spent most of his time pottering around doing general admin duties and in his role as careers advisor encouraging pupils to carry on their education at Peter Symonds College in Winchester - something that was taken up by a number of ex-Quantockians. 'Shep' also once berated Mr. Donnan on his lack of 'business acumen' and was the only person among the Quantock School staff to hold an Oxbridge degree. Both a gentleman and a scholar, I often wondered what a man of Shep's intellectual capabilities was doing at Quantock.

Mr. Brooks Mr. Nick Brooks. Due to his teaching English to the 'B' form, I did not have any experience of Mr. Brooks' lessons. However, from what I knew of him he was a teacher who was well-liked by everyone at the school, and was popular for his organising a number of sailing days out (in the 'good old days' before my time at the school when everything was directed by the ever-tightening budget). A short time after I left Quantock, I heard that Mr. Brooks had tragically been killed in a sailing accident.

Mr. Burgess Mr. Peter A. Burgess. While he may have been an expert at consuming copious quantities of rich food and engaging in flowery prose, the late Peter Burgess was absolutely useless as a computer studies teacher. So useless, in fact, that I think most of us spent more time playing games and composing tunes on the machines than actually learning anything. He was however an interesting and cultured individual, though at times he could be incredibly brutal - becoming renowned for the infamous 'Bungle Punch' and the liberal use of his nautical ruler. Mr. Burgess died sometime in the late eighties or early nineties - according to Jules Peaster - while playing his beloved piano. Nicknames: 'Bungle', 'Burge'.

Mr. Coldwell Mr. Mike D. Coldwell. An austere individual to many, defined by his shining bald head, severely upright gait and trilby-like hat, Mr. Coldwell was to become one of my greatest promoters after he realised how good I was with trigonometry. I always thought of him as a good teacher; others thought he was rubbish, an argument that stemmed from the fact that he didn't tend to spare much of his time with the less able. Mr. Coldwell was also the Fleming House leader, a job he took up with an enthusiasm that hid itself most of the time. A few years after I left Quantock, Mr. Coldwell took his services to the nearby and altogether more prestigious Millfield School. Nicknames: 'Boldwell', 'Baldwell'.

Mr. Collins Mr. Stuart Collins. As a teacher, Mr. Collins was absolutely diabolical, although to his credit he was at least able to recognise my sports journalism skills. A man who looked like a reject from a late 1970s rock band with his mop of dishevelled wavy hair, Mr. Collins tended to focus the bulk of his attention on the talented few, while spending the rest of the time with his hands down his shorts scratching his bollocks. Stuart Collins left Quantock in the mid-1990s and moved to a local state school to teach - wait for it - religious education. Nickname: 'Hairy', 'Sporty Stu'. And loads of other less kind ones no doubt.

Mr. Donnan Mr. Mike Donnan. An affable, quintessentially English chap defined by his ruddy face, large grey sideboards and his motorbike. Never one to mince his words, Mr. Donnan described me in one of my written reports as an 'enigma' and once orchestrated a classroom paper ball attack when I fell asleep during one of his lessons. My best memory of him, however, was when we were able to witness him embroiled in a political argument with Mr. Shepherd, the subject of discussion being 'business acumen'. I myself don't recall Mr. Donnan having any sort of nickname, although WWW does refer to him as 'Don-Don'.

Mrs. Down Mrs. Kathy Down. If Mrs. Down was as good a teacher as she was as an equipment purchaser, we all would have passed French with flying colours. Rather unfortunately, she was not. For while she was exceptionally good at fulfilling orders for pencil cases, erasers and protractors, she was bloody useless at teaching French. She was later consigned to teaching some other subject - or so I was told - and was one of those who scuttled away without a word during one of our later visits to the school. I later learned from my French-native girlfriend that Down telling us to pronounce the final 'ent' on French verbs was wrong - which made me more comfortable with my flunked O-Level.

Mr. 'Kiwi' Jeffrey Mr. Jeffrey. Although a Kiwi, Mr. Jeffrey was called 'Skippy' due to his distinctive bounding walk. He did much to restore our faith in the subject after Mr. Burgess' theatre sessions, and his first move was to replace those pointless Toshiba 'nothing' MSX machines with genuine first generation PCs (Amstrad PC1512s - remember them?) Mr. Jeffrey also quite often used to join in Trivial Pursuit battles with myself, 'Psycho' Peters and Mikey. If anybody remembers Mr. Jeffrey's first name, please let me know - I think it was Andrew. Nickname: 'Skippy', 'Mate' (said in an Antipodean accent).

Mr. Jones Mr. Geoffrey Jones. When I first started at the school, many of those I had contact with spoke of their dislike for Mr. Jones. I could myself never understand why this had been the case. Geoff Jones was in my recollection an above average teacher, who was probably disliked because he continually demanded high standards - he even made the theory of plate tectonics interesting. As it turns out Mr. Jones was a bit of a lefty, but I won't hold that against him. I still have a signed copy of a book from him, presented to me after a rather good showing in a quiz competition. Nickname: 'Bad Breath', 'Geoff Breath'. Or something like that.

Mr. Langley Mr. David Langley. Mr. Langley taught Maths to the 'B' form, and so I never had the opportunity to experience his teaching methods. From what I was led to believe, he was a fine teacher, very much liked by those whom he taught. Mr. Langley was a man who was very close to Quantock School, so much so that he stayed around the place even after it was closed down in the late 1990s. He also organised the inter-house quiz competition, usually held in his poky classroom above the dovecot (before it was refurbished for and by Duncan Peaster). Nicknames: 'Langers', 'Goggle-eyes'.

Mr. Owen Mr. William L. Owen. Quantock's resident 'moral guiding light' and greetings card designer, Mr. Owen was rather cruelly known by many as 'Bender Bill'. My tutor for my first year, Bill Owen was the at the beginning of my Quantock career a big fan of my artwork, but after my not wanting to go on one of his organised camping trips - preferring instead to watch the first leg of the UEFA Cup Final between Dundee United and IFK Göteborg - his interest in my artistic development waned somewhat. Mr. Owen had a number of rather unfortunate nicknames, the most popular of which was 'Bender Bill'.

Dr Peters Dr Roger Peters. The chain-smoking Roger 'Psycho' Peters was everything Mr. Robins was not; the first thing he did was to ditch the crappy textbooks we had been using for all of the fourth year and instead used a series of copied notes written in his distinctive and somewhat calligraphic handwriting. Despite his unpredictable manner and somewhat violent temper, 'Psycho' certainly got results, and probably turned around the fortunes of everyone in our chemistry class, something he did almost single-handedly in the years that were to follow with the entire science department. Nickname: 'Psycho'.

Mr. Peto Mr. Christopher H. Peto. A man of the old school, the mercurial Mr. Peto was one of those teachers you just could not dislike. He actually made Tudor and Stuart history sound interesting - heaven only knows what it might have been like had he been let loose with a more contemporary historical period like Stalin's Russia or Hitler's Germany. I will most remember Mr. Peto for strengthening my already firm interest in contemporary political affairs, and for continually calling WWW William Whitelaw-Wilkinson. Mr. Peto retired in 1986. Nickname: 'Gepetto'.

Mr. Robins Mr. Andrew Robins. Yet another one of those teachers who chose to use crappy textbooks instead of standard teaching methods. Although a nice chap who had a keen interest in model railways, Andrew Robins was something of a non-entity. Which made it all the more surprising when one day he lifted Spencer Curtis by his lapels against the door for flicking water at him from one of the rubber-hosed taps in the science lab. A man who became better known for his flared trousers than his abilities as a chemistry teacher, Mr. Robins left in 1986, to be replaced by Roger 'Psycho' Peters.

Mr. Taphouse Mr. Philip Taphouse. Phil Taphouse was one of the better teachers at Quantock School, and I will always remember him not only for the exciting biology lessons involving the dissection of sheeps' hearts, but for his distinctive sideboards, beige Morgan convertible and when he took the time to record the 1986-87 Australia-England cricket highlights (thus saving me from having to risk being caught for a second time in the television room during the small hours...) Nickname: 'Craphouse'. Contact E-mail: mailto:p&s@engraving.demon.co.uk

Mrs. Taphouse Mrs. Sue Taphouse. At Quantock School for five years from 1975 to 1980, Mrs. Taphouse (Mr. Taphouse's better half!) was like the sideburned one himself also a biology and general science teacher. Contact E-mail: mailto:p&s@engraving.demon.co.uk

Mr. Yates Mr. Peter G. Yates. Mr. Yates was one of the few genuinely talented teachers at Quantock; not only did he have the skill and patience to transform some of the most useless rabble into half-decent stage actors, he also was interesting to talk to. A man of many views, Peter Yates was a regular contributor to Wisden Cricket Monthly, a publication to which I still subscribe. Rather unsurpringly, he moved to another school, in 1985. With Mr. Yates' departure, any hope that the Camelia Theatre Group might have made it to the West End came to an abrupt end - so abrupt in fact that during the remainder of my time at Quantock the theatre did not see a single performance. Nicknames: 'PG', 'Beaky'

Mrs. Yates Mrs. Pauline Yates. Like her husband, one could not accuse Mrs. Yates of not trying; however, I could have counted the number of music lessons we had on one hand - and it didn't really help that there was little or no equipment. Mrs. Yates also left in 1985.

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