Frieth School

Mr D A E Cox 1961 - 1965

Mr Cox had lived in Buckinghamshire for most of his life. He was educated at the Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe and trained at Culham College.

At 32 he was young to be appointed headmaster but, at that time, young men were looking for headships of small village schools. They wished to gain experience, with a view to moving on later to larger schools.

Prior to moving into the School House both Mr & Mrs Cox were teaching in High Wycombe. They were aware of the prevailing conditions in large modern county council schools, the equipment that could be obtained and the extra help that might be available from the employment of ancillary staff. The 1960s were times of expansion in the field of education and in new school building. Conditions at Frieth appeared in an unfavourable light so Mr Cox set to work to improve them, as extracts from the Log Book will show. During the five years he was a member of the Head Teachers Association in High Wycombe and became treasurer and kept up to date with developments in schools.

Mr Cox was a good class teacher who, like the headteachers before him, believed the basic subjects should be given priority in the Primary School, but he supplemented them with a wide range of activities and revived the school with new life and enthusiasm.

Amongst his special interests were rural science and Oral English. He proved to be a good teacher who had no difficulty with discipline. When he made a school rule he gave a reason for it and then expected it o be kept. He encouraged a family atmosphere with the older children taking a responsibility for the younger ones. he expected good manners and liked a self imposed type of discipline.

The 1960s saw further house building in Frieth - a close of three houses and three bungalows was built in Haylesfield and occupied by commuter families moving into Bucks. Cottages were being modernised and resold and infilling was taking place. The character of the village was changing. Frieth was no longer inward looking and isolated. Parents were anxious for their children to attend the village school with its small classes and individual attention, but expected them to be educated as well as taught.

For the first two and a half years the school was arranged as two classes, Mr Cox took the Juniors and I took the Infants. In the mornings Mrs Austin took a group of upper Infants and lower Juniors. Later this middle class became a fulltime class taken by a succession of three teachers in their first teaching year, Miss Moss, Miss Jenkins and Miss Cook.

Frieth School 1961 : "Mrs A, Mrs B and Mr C"

Image from John Harris's collection

Mrs Barksfield Mrs Austin Janet Glenister Rosalind Wing Susan Austin Linda Austin Sylvia Bird
Marion Keep Jocelyn Lambley Rosemary Burr Veronica Massingham Adrienne Werrel Elizabeth Shaw Mr Cox
Second row David Ayres William Barksfield Steven McCabe Robert Keep Robert Robinson Humphrey Stanley Julian Stanley
  Second row
Billy Dobbs Ronald Barksfield Bobby Dobbs Ian Baldwin Alan Druce Richard Gill Stuart Cook Nicholas Gill
Third row Peta Simmons Janet Hanson Pauline Harris Arabella Shaw Sheila Butler Elizabeth Heller Beryl Hanson
  Third row
Sharon Simmons Jennifer Willis Caroline Cook ? Sandra Cunningham Janice Church Jessica Gill
Front row Andrew Lineham Andrew Coyle Robert Willis Susan Smith Gillian Hanson
  Front row
Anthea Church Elaine Wing Richard Austin Richard Steedman Peter Smith

[ Thanks to 'Agd' for pointing out Robert Keep ]

[ Thanks to Bob Dobbs who thinks the boy next to Robert Keep is Robert Robinson ]

The staff attended various educational courses at Missenden Abbey and elsewhere.

In 1964 Bulmershe Training College sent students for school practice.

March 1961 :    Mrs Church commenced duties (Note 61)

April 1962 :    Mrs Wilkinson commenced duties as Clerical Assistant

The school was aided materially by the acquisition of new apparatus

Jan 1961 :    PT apparatus ordered

July 1961 :    Climbing Frame delivered

Dec 1961 :    Duplicator delivered

April 1962 :    Film strip projector, screen and trolley brought by Visual Aids Officer

Sep 1962 :    S.A.O called with an 8 day clock for each classroom

Oct 1962 :    Silencers fitted on all movable furniture

Feb 1964 :        A portable tape recorder arrived for the school

Mar 1965 :     A television set was installed (Note 62)

The following is a selection from the many outside Educational visits enjoyed by the pupils :

Apr 1961 :    School visit to Job's Dairy

May 1961 :   Visit to Huntley and Palmers Biscuit factory

Oct 1961 :    Historical  visit to Hambleden Church

April 1962 :  Telephone Exchange visited

July 1962 :    Visit to London, ROSPA House and Science Museum

July 1963 :    High Wycombe Fire Station visited

July 1963 :    Day spent at London Planetarium and Natural History Museum

Dec 1963 :    Twelve children were taken to see 'Fantasia' at the cinema in Marlow

May 1964 :    Chinnor cement works visit [ I remember it well ]

July 1964 :     Third and Fourth year Juniors visited Wiggins & Teape paper manufacturers

July 1965 :     London visit, By river from Westminster to Greenwich, Cutty Sark and the Maritime museum

[ I also vividly remember a visit to the Ford motor factory at Dagenham in 1964/5 ]

June 1961 :    The school attended the music festival at Stokenchurch [ And had to sit listening to recorder groups. Yeugh! ]

Oct 1961 :    Inter-school Highway Road Quiz [ This became a regular event ]

April 1962 :  The Queen visited Marlow, most children went to see her and lined the streets. [I was disappointed because she wasn't wearing a crown! ]

As before the school was visited by officials; added to their number was the Visual Aids Officer

The school attended church services several times each term and the clergy came into school each week to take scripture.

A Parents evening was held each year.

In 1962 May Day festivities were revived and included Maypole dancing, Mimes and Playlets

May Queen Ceremony 1962

[ Linda Robson, Robert Willis, Susan Austin, ?, David Cox, Richard Austin, William Barksfield, Joan Barksfield at the piano ] Thanks to Humphrey Stanley for pointing out Linda Robson - Feb 2018

Christmas concerts of a secular nature were performed in the Village Hall in 1961, 63 and 64

Christmas 1961 - Seven Little Father Christmases

Father Christmas's Assistant

The school children and teachers went carol singing each Christmas. The proceeds were given to a charity.

Photographs of the children and staff were taken every other year.

In September 1961 the Wycombe Rural District Council allowed the school to use a small field in Ellery Rise for organised games. This was a significant step forward as the school had practically no land of its own. Now the boys were able to play football on the field whilst the girls played netball on a court marked out on the tarred area of the Village Green.

Frieth School Football Team at the Ellery Rise playing field in Spring 1965

Football and netball were played against other schools. Children took part in the inter-school sports held at Wheeler End or elsewhere for the smaller schools in the area.

In 1964 and 1965 Mr Cox took a group of children to the Bucks Schools Camp on the Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight 1965

David Cox, ?, Robert Willis, Steven McCabe

Kit Inspection - the girls

Kit Inspection - the boys: Robert Willis, Steven McCabe, David Ayres
Images from Bill Barksfield's collection

In 1961 a School Fund was started with the proceeds of a Bring and Buy Sale. This was augmented from time to time and helped pay for some of the small 'extras' for the school.

During these five years the Bucks Education Authority carried out many repairs and improvements to the inside of the building. Further alterations to the chimneys, cowls etc. made little difference to the fumes from the coke stoves, so in December 1962 they were replaced by Coleman Oil heaters. These gave out less heat but on the whole were better. The unused chimney in the corner of the infant room was removed and the fireplace blocked up to prevent loss of heat.

During August 1965 the interior of the school was completely redecorated.

August 1961 :    Two classroom floors were completely renewed and surface sealed, this will make the task of cleaning them much easier.

May 1962 :     The school has been rewired and the electric lighting brought up to standard.

June 1961 :     Dangerous spikes removed from railings around the school

August 1961 : Dangerous chimney in the middle room rebuilt

September 1962 : The small playground at the rear of the school levelled and resurfaced

February 1963 :    The earthen floor of the old coal shed was covered with concrete to make the old building useful as a store.

February 1964 :    A new oak front door was fitted

April 1964 :    The exterior of the school was redecorated

With permission from the Parish Council a chain link fence was erected part way round the hard surface of the Village Green

May 1964 :    After permission from the Hambleden parish Council the play area on the Village Green was resurfaced and was to be used as a car park for the village out of school hours.

[ The image of the school on the Contents page shows a part of the resurfaced area of the Village Green with the sign advising that the area can be used for parking out of school hours, the chain link fence, the railings with the spikes removed and the climbing frame all mentioned in the notes above ]

1961 :    Boys' urinal unhygienic [ I can vouch for that ] improved slightly by provision of a sloping floor

In July 1961 the Authority had examined the possibility of acquiring land at the rear of the school but the owner would not sell it.

In September 1962 plans were drawn up for the renewal of the lavatory block with cloakroom facilities, basins with hot and cold water and separate accommodation for teachers. This would have cost £1200 - £1700 but nothing came of it because the Authority wanted the whole school brought up to standard. Plans were drawn up but this work could not be done because the school did not own enough land.

1963 proved to be the worst winter of the century. The Village was completely snowed up. The water pipes froze under the ground so school was open for the morning sessions only.

Perhaps the most ambitious event that Frieth School had ever undertaken was staged on April 7th 1965 when the school celebrated its centenary (Note 63).  The preparation involved took the united efforts of the staff. The school invited all of its old pupils over 65 years of age, who could be traced, to a Church Service followed by speeches and an entertainment in the Village Hall. An exhibition of old photographs, extracts from the Log Books etc. was staged in the school hall where tea was served. The centenary proved to be a memorable and happy occasion (Note 64)

Click here to see more images of the Centenary Celebrations

Mr Cox left Frieth School in August 1965 to take up the post of headmaster at Park School Hazlemere. During the five years he had spent at Frieth School he had been successful as a Headteacher and popular with both parents and children

Click to go on to the next chapter "Mr E J Carpenter 1965 - 1985"


Comments in [ square brackets ] are mine or contributed by others, the rest is my mother's original text.

(62)    The School Fund paid half the cost.

(63)    A pictorial record and programme is contained ion the School Photograph Album

(64)    Mr & Mrs Cox celebrated another happy occasion in 1963 with the birth of their son Richard