School curriculum 1931-1958


I just discovered my Mother’s school certificate, awarded in 1931. I’ve contrasted it with my GCE O Level, taken in 1958. We both went to the same school and in some cases had the same teachers, but things did change over a generation.
In 1931 she studied:
English Language and Literature
French
History
Geography
Mathematics
Botany
Art
Needlework (These subjects written on the back in Mr. Boyce’s elegant handwriting.)
In 1958, I took:
English Language and Literature
French
History
Geography
Mathematics
Latin
General Science
Additional General Science.
6 subjects were identical; the other three represented changes.
The obvious difference was that some of the subjects she took were gender-specific. like Botany and Needlework. Although Physics and Chemistry were taught there in 1931, they were not taught to girls. It is also probable that the Zoology aspect of Biology was not deemed appropriate for a girl’s tender sensibilities.
In my day we were required to drop subjects like Art and Woodwork in favour of more academic subjects. Physics, Chemistry and Biology were lumped together  for a General Science paper, but in 1957, after the Russians launched the Sputnik satellite, there was a great scurrying around to improve science teaching. As a consequence, we were given extra science lessons and entered for an extra science paper called Additional General Science.
Later, Physics, Chemistry and Biology were offered as separate papers 

Wolverton County School 1931

The school photo was something of a perfomance to organize and a welcome intrusion into the school day. Chairs from classrooms and step-up benches from the gym would be hauled out and assembled on the playing fields. Once everyone had been placed the panoramic camera would whir through its clockwork motion until it had captured everyone. There were always apocryphal stories of someone at one end running round the back to appear for the second time in the same picture, but I doubt that anyone would have dared.
This photo cost 1/6d in 1931.
Readable versions of the photo are offered in sections below.
I can of course identify my mother and uncle in this picture, but pupils from the 40s and 50s should be able to identify – Robert Eyles (English), Reginald Long (Physics), James Thomas (French), Zillah Full (Girls Games). I think Miss Nurdin (Maths), who became Mrs Eyles, is in the picture, but I cannot identify her.