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THE HISTORY OF RANBY HOUSE
Interview with Mr. Page by Form 8S, May 2009
Conducted and written by the pupils of the Year 8 scholarship form in their English lessons.
The photograph immediately below is of Mr Page. The photograph at the bottom of the page is of the staff of Ranby House at the 21st Anniversary of the opening of the school.
The biggest development to Ranby Housel is the change in number of pupils. In the beginning, there were only seventy boys who attended the school, most of which were boarders. This has changed massively because now there are roughly three hundred and thirty five- only forty five of which are full-time boarders.
Another major development was the arrival of girls. It was an all-boy’s-school for 24 years until the decision was made in 1972 to allow girls to attend. They have been at the school ever since, so it proved a good decision.
Another big development that occurred was the building of the Old Gym. It was a large development because Physical Education, before the building of this, was taught in (what is now) Mr. Davis’ classroom and Design Technology workshop.
The only building that was originally here when the school was purchased was the Main Hall building. All the others have been built at different times during the school’s existence. The Girls’ Dorm House, the Headmaster’s House, the Sports Hall and the Performing Arts Centre. All of these things are big developments, because they have all contributed to the size and calibre of the school.
Another very big thing that has changed is the location of the chapel. It used to be situated in what is now the Games Room. It was very small because it only had to accommodate the small amount of pupils that attended the school. As the school grew, it was decided that a newer, bigger chapel was required and the new one was built. There is a picture in the Games Room of what it used to look like when it was the school chapel.
The structure of the days at Ranby House was also very different. In the winter, because it got dark reasonably early games, would take place in the middle of the day as opposed to at the very end. This does not happen any more.
Discipline has also developed a lot over the years.
There is one major aspect though, that has not changed very much and that is the actual spirit of the school: it still possesses the same values and beliefs as it did when it was first opened.
Changes at Preparatory School, Ranby House:
The image of Ranby Housel has for ever been changing, as add-ons of buildings leave their individual mark on the landscape of our school. Each Headmaster has built a building. A good modern example of this is Mr. Wansey building the Sports Hall and Performing Arts Centre.
At the start of the schools life there was the main building, Quad and a sports facility called the Black Barn. In this building, boys would play football, often being flung into the side walls as the game often was very competitive.
What is now the year 8 common room was the Chapel. A picture of this is now viewable in the common room. The development of the current chapel was started in 1982. This was a major movement as the school modernised itself. But at this point new buildings were now a big deal as the project to build a new girls’ boarding house was in full swing.
A Haha was filled in to allow the creation of many more sports pitches. Also the creation of the Gobi allowed there to by more sports pitches.
The daily routine of Ranby House has changed a significant amount. Choir and cricket fielding practices were held in the mornings except for days when there was a chapel service. Voluntary athletics also took place before breakfast.
The lessons until lunch have not changed, but in winter after lunch the pupils would have their games session and then continue to have another two periods of academic lessons, in summer they would have the same daily plan. There was no prep time for day pupils, but like now in the evenings the boarders had time to do their homework. After school cricket and swimming were available for the boarders followed by more free time.
Discipline has changed through out the years of Ranby House. Unlike the present day, when children have planners or group books to receive rewards and sanctions, books called ‘star books’ were used.
A star book worked in a similar way as a group book, any rewards counted towards a house total and anything bad was deducted off the house total. A star book was different because they were not used as a diary to record preps but were simply for rewards and punishments. The star books were pre printed, and they were the colour of your house, like they are today. Star books remained the same until 1982 when they were replaced by group books.
Pupils were expected to carry their star books around with them. A star book consisted of a small book with pages in which had just one line through the centre of the page. On the top half of the page is where your rewards were recorded, and on the bottom half of the page is where your punishments were recorded. Punishments and rewards were different colours.
Rewards were made up of the letter ‘I’ and a number. ‘I’ stood for industry, and the number started at a half and continued up in halves all the way up to I3 like we have today. For example, there would be I ½, I.1, I.1½ etc. I3 were the best reward for outstanding work, and if you received one of these you went to see the headmaster for congratulations. These were fairly common. I ½ was for moderately good work. At the end of each term an I3 prize was awarded to the pupil in each form who had gained the most I3’s during the term.
Sanctions were made up of the letter ‘C’ and a number. ‘C’ stood for conduct. They worked in the same way as the rewards, going up in halves but these were recorded below the line on the page. The higher the number, the worse the punishment. C ½ was given for little trivialities, whereas C 3 was dire. If you received a C 3 you would be sent to sit on a bench outside the headmaster’s office. We still have that same bench today in the main hall, but luckily not outside the headmaster’s office. If you were found on that bench the headmaster would give you the cane.
The head, Mr. Adler is said to have been particularly fond of the cane. On the contrary Mr. Page says that he was never fond of giving the cane. He has only ever given it once, and he kindly told us the story of the incident.
It happened shortly after girls had been allowed into Ranby House, and a boy (no names mentioned) was caught swearing in front of some girls. He received the punishment of the cane, but says that he was yet to learn that girls were just as capable of swearing! He has never given the cane since.
These punishments have disappeared over the years. This is because all of the I3’s and C3’s, for example, had to be added up every week. Each Saturday, the house masters would sit at a table and count up all of the rewards and sanctions given during that week, for each pupil in their house. People may even receive thirty, and so it was a huge job. That is why today we only have I3’s remaining to this present day. Luckily we have the help of computers to do all the work for us!
Discipline was very strict in the early days of Ranby House.
Sport at Ranby House School was a key part of the general ethos of the school. There was normally only one coach for each team. Fixtures were on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Rugby: this was played by the older boys, the 1st XV rugby pitch was situated parallel to the beech hedge on the front field. This pitch was often wet and boggy until Mr. Winterbottom, the second headmaster of Ranby House School, along with Mr. Page and the senior boys dug out a ditch running in parallel to the rugby pitch on the other side of the beech hedge. There were only two rugby pitches for the 1st XV, the 2nd XV and the U11 XV.
Cricket: The cricket nets were used every night for extra practice, some mornings, fielding practice took place before lessons. The 1st XI cricket square has not moved from its original situation, even before Ranby House was a School the cricket square was still in the same place and used by the local gentlemen of the village.
Cross Country: this would happen whenever there was a rainy day. It was often led by Mr. Kimberley. The course was a lot longer than it is now. Starting by the swimming pool then leading down to the village up to the Barracks along the canal bank to Ranby Hall, and then to Scott's Farm, from Scott's Farm along the cart track down to school. The record for this course was 26 minutes.
Boxing: The boxing coaching would take place in what is now the design technology lab. The group boxing was held in the centre of the classroom quad.
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