When Richard Young stepped into retirement after 33 years as a teacher and assistant head at what is now Norton College, he little thought that he would be back walking its corridors within weeks to take on board a big research project, of its history.
Two years on, Mr Young’s hundreds of hours of work has this week been published – a comprehensive history of not only the college over 50 years, but a compilation of Norton’s education history and schools.
It was in the days when Norton was part of the former East Riding County Council (ERCC) that the idea of a secondary school for Norton had been promoted by the county as the local education authority – a school which as well as serving the town’s urban district, would also take up to an estimated total of 500 pupils from the scattered Wolds’ villages of Acklam, Birdsall, Burythorpe, Firby, Heslerton, Howsham, Kirby Grindalythe, Langton,Leavening, Rillington, Scagglethorpe, Scampston, Scrayingham, Settrington, Thorpe Bassett, Westow, Wharram, Wintringham and Yedingham.
Prior to that, and the building of the new school, secondary school age pupils had attended elementary schools. Mr Young’s detailed research going back to 1830, showed that it was then that the town got its first purpose built school, after previously occupying a building at what was known locally as Piccadilly on the site which was to become the Malt Shovel Inn in Commercial Street and later Cornucopia before being converted into living accommodation.
In the mid 19th century Norton’s older pupils attended a school at what was to become the Malton Bacon Factory Club in Scarborough Road.
He spent all his long career in teaching at Norton, which opened as a secondary school in 1963, and recalled how he had three jobs offered by what was then the East Riding County Council’s local education authority – at Bridlington, Withersea and Norton. “Newly married and living in York, I decided that the first two were out of the question, so I opted for Norton which by coincidence was my home town where I had been educated myself.”
His book, called simply “The History of Norton College”, marks the golden jubilee of the school. “We discovered that it had never been chonicled and the 50th anniversary seemed to be the ideal opportunity to do so,” said Mr Young.
He was brought up in Norton, and attended the town’s primary school and Norton Boys’ School before moving to Malton Grammar on passing his 11-plus. On leaving he spent three years working for the Customs and Excise before deciding to opt for a career in teaching and studied at St John’s College in York and qualified as a teacher at Leeds University.
But Mr Young’s links with Norton College began when he played against what was then the County Secondary School’s football and basketball teams as a member of Malton Grammar School’s team.
As a new teacher at Norton School where his main subject was history, but also helping with geography and PE, Mr Young was to find himself teaching some of his own cousins and other members of his large family in Norton.
“I have always been interested in the history of Norton especially as history was my school subject,” said Mr Young.
Today, among his memorabilia of Norton’s early schools he has a cap – labelled E Hutchinson, a pupil believed to from Heslerton – a school tie and a jumper, probably the only pieces of memorabilia of the era still surviving, he believes.
During his teaching career Mr Young has seen the school move from being a county modern school to a comprehensive and now an academy, and the first technology school in North Yorkshire, and recalls how he has served under six heads – Gordon Howden, Jane Bowen, Peter Barton, Michael Wilkins, Jill Hodges and Tony Rawdin, as well as the current head, Phil Loftus.
“Having technology status provided the school with an injection of capital,” said Mr Young, who as site and finance manager for the school was able to oversee the development of a much lauded purpose built mathematics block, science labs and computer suites.
Educationally he has seen many changes at the school from CSE’s and GCE’s when he started, to GCSE’s, the raising of the school leaving age, and now offering students A-levels as a sixth form college.
Away from the classroom, he was involved in several extra-curricular activities, most notably running the school basket ball team, using his own skills as a player in his younger days, and was a keen member of the staff cricket team. And away from the campus altogether his main interests are his family.
The Norton school’s records are not very comprehensive due to no history having ever been written , nor it having an old pupil’s association.
But says Mr Young, Mr Loftus, has plans to establish an archive because of the college’s growing importance educationally in Norton, with its multi-million pound Sixth Form and Sports Centres, which have made it a state-of-the-art education centre in its field in North Yorkshire.
This week, the first 500 copies of Mr Young’s book arrived hot off the press at the college where on Saturday from 10am to 4pm, an exhibition of photographs, documents, reports and other memorabilia of the school over 50 years, will be featured and where he will be signing and selling copies of the book, which is being sold for £10.
l Do any former pupils have memories of their days at Norton School? If so please write to email@example.com