Sheffield school celebrates 50 years of co-education

King Edward VII Upper School building in Glossop RoadKing Edward VII Upper School building in Glossop Road
King Edward VII Upper School building in Glossop Road
A long-established Sheffield school has hosted a celebration evening to mark half a century since girls were first admitted.

King Edward VII School, which spans the suburbs of Crosspool and Broomhill, became co-educational in September 1969, allowing girls to join its Lower School site when they reached Year 7 and its Upper School in Sixth Form in September for the first time since it opened in 1905.

After this time half of the pupils were girls and most of the teachers were women but the majority of the head of department and year tutor posts had gone to former King Edward VII School (KES) teachers who were all men.

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The following year Gladys Manifold was appointed the first woman year tutor. However, it wasn’t until 1973 that Winifred Kinnear was appointed as the first female assistant headteacher.

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The school hosted a celebration event on Monday, October 21, to mark the 50th anniversary of co-educational teaching.

Headteacher Linda Gooden said: "Distinguished guests attended the evening including Sally Fellows, Janice Gosling, Linda Williams and Jane Campbell (known as Patricia Jane Garnet) who were part of the 1969 girls' cohort, Brian Lockett who taught at the School from 1958 to 1988 and John Cornwell, historian, archivist and former governor.

“Without his commitment and love for the School, and the many books he has published, we would have lost so much knowledge and history about such a successful and unique School.”

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Guests were treated to a presentation about the political and educational context leading up to the school becoming co-educational, alongside an original poem by John Cornwell.

There were renditions of the songs 'You've Got a Friend' by Carol King and 'Read All About It' by Emeli Sande coordinated by Teacher of Music, Jennie Machan, Second in English, Michelle Doran, and Teacher of French, Catherine Gabbani as well as drama pieces by the school's own Blank Slate Drama Group.

Former students Sally Fellows, Kathryn Proost and John Parr – who is also the president of the Old Edwardians' Association – gave their perspectives of the what it was like to study at the KES and there was a reading of an extract from King Ted's ‘A Biography of King Edward VII School 1905-2005’ on the sporting achievements of girls from 1969 with Ms. Gooden adding her perspective on the following decade to the present day.

“The evening culminated in an all-girls acapella group singing 'Say a Little Prayer' with Jennie Machan, Catherine Gabbani and Michelle Doran,” Ms. Gooden added.

“The buffet was fabulous too. We are all so very proud to be part of King Edward VII School.”

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