1995:Wendover House, Fish and Sponsorship

Tuesday 28th November 1995


Separate travel today because I needed the car for a day long visit to Wendover House. It was interesting, if a bit nerve wracking to see the place in action. It is one of the good things in teaching that I am able to visit a new place of work well before starting my new job. The staff have some peculiarities that will take some getting used to. I’m not so sure about the rather strict use of Sir and Miss for staff. There is a lot of routines for meals and break times that are obviously in place for a reason but will need some practice, so as to not stand out. What is obvious already is the high quality of staff and support workers. One often sees the comment on an application that a   G.S.O.H. is essential. This lot have it in bucket loads but are deadly earnest when working and talking about the pupils. I joined in a P.E. lesson with Andy Morrell and Jez Yelland. They had a big chap taking some of the game. It turns out it’s only the ex Wolves Centre Back Floyd Streete. Resisted the temptation to shout fat arse to him but Jess and Andy had no such hesitation when I confirmed the favoured comments used when we watched him in games  past. I had a chance to support both Jan Morris and Jenny Cook. Both are good teachers with different but equally effective ways of getting what they wanted from what are, by labelling, boys with emotional AND behavioural difficulties. Break-time was somewhat different as there was some  updating from last night’s dormitory events. The boy that went missing while I was visiting the  sessions was back in school but required some closer supervision. That ended when the police arrived with his parents and he was led away to explain to them his joy riding extra-curricular activities in Aylesbury.

Managed to leave on time and picked up Fiona as arranged at Peartree Bridge Services. We parked up on the Lower Bristol Road and for a change we watched from the Popular Side. A crowd of less than 2,000 can still generate some noise under that leaking roof that runs along that side of the ground.

Rovers 2 Bournemouth 1

Team sheet scores.

Brian Parkin 7

Justin Channing 6 Andy Tillson 7 Billy Clark 6 Andy Gurney 4

Worrell Sterling 5  Marcus Browning 8 Paul Tovey 5 Martin Paul 5

Paul Miller 6 Marcus Stewart 7 


Ian McLean, Andy Collett, Jon French

Attendance 1,979

Goals Tillson and Browning

Referee Steve Bennett 5

Won 2-1 HT 1-0

Bournemouth side

Neil Moss, Russell Beardsmore, Neil Young, Mark Morris, Michael McElhatton, Adrian Pennock, John Bailey, Steve Robinson, Mark Rawling, Marcus Oldbury, Jason Blissett. Subs Jamie Victory, Harry Sandcroft, Tony Stephens

Scorer Robinson


We were really disappointed that there was nothing in the programme about our sponsorship of the Peterborough game. Next game perhaps.

Home by 12.30.

I had just sorted out my next job. Wendover House is a residential E.B.D. School that caters for difficult pupils from all across Buckinghamshire. I will not be able to name the pupils in my diaries but some are friends today and will know what I am talking about. Unfortunately I have very little contact with the staff but they were a pretty amazing bunch, working in very testing circumstances. I enjoyed my four years at the school. The teaching was very much geared up to continual reinforcement of good behaviour through all aspects of teaching. I can’t say the school benefited much from my Geographical input but I hope we both had some benefits from my learning of techniques of behavioural support. I left a better person as well as a better teacher. The teaching involved very long hours because, for two evenings a week, we were contracted for extraneous duties. This involved us supporting the care staff with activities, often off site, often sporty, but always a little unpredictable. It also involved the somewhat puzzling procedure of reading stories to naughty boys just before they go to their dorms to sleep. The terrors of the school day suddenly became the children their parents wished they could have. The reward system involved many a trip to a local leisure centre, skiing or climbing activities, walking in Wendover Woods or just playing board games or table tennis in a common room at the house.


Wendover House teaching block.My classroom was on the top floor to the right.

The worst part of the day was the 10 o’clock drive home. This was sometimes enlightened by the pranks of the teaching staff. For an example I refer to my error of questioning any aspect of fishing as an activity of merit. I made the mistake of voicing my opinion one evening in the staff room, just as Deputy Head Nigel Morris was leaving for one such trip to a river bank near Tring. Ten past ten, a rainy evening, time to drive home. Turn on wipers and flapping across my windscreen flew a couple of mackerel. Ha, flipping ha, I thought as I carefully removed them, little thinking to check the bonnet. The next morning I was to discover a now defrosted and aromatic third fish. How did they get my keys to get in the bonnet, I hear you ask? ”It is a school for naughty staff you know” was the reply when making the same enquiry at the morning briefing.

I was completing my Post Grad. Cert. Ed. in SPLD. It was rather a luxury for the new school to let me come and visit well in advance of moving there. It is one of those things that schools might do more often. No, hang on a minute, schools are more likely to compete rather than collaborate nowadays. Silly old Stedders! I understand even Wendover House is now part of an academy, a consortium of schools headed by my good friend Ian from those Wendover days. My teaching colleagues are long gone but it would be good to catch up with them one day.

Regarding the football.

We scored the team and the referee.for every match. Out of ten of course.

The scores for part of  this season are below:-


We were pretty generous with our marking and a score less than 5 was rare. Mr Parker, a 2 at Crewe must have been a pretty poor ref but there is no surprise at Mr Alcock getting a 3 at Shrewsbury. You will note 5 referees scores of 9. Really? Take a bow Messrs. Foakes, D’Urso, Flood, Wolstenholme and Barry. Rovers must have been playing well.

The programme had this cover.


The game before, versus Peterborough, had the following content. We were the Milton Keynes Gasheads in the Sponsors Lounge.


Derek, Mike and Judy were East Anglian Gas although, like us, they don’t live there any longer. Fiona, myself, Clarkie and Ray made up the Milton Keynes Gas. Two separate photos were taken. In the next programme, versus Oxford rather than the Bournemouth game, one appeared in print.

This one:-



I have always wondered about the editorial judgement at Bristol Rovers programmes. Keith could have chosen the one that adorns my spare bedroom wall.

This one:-


Maybe not then.

For £30 a head you get the chance to choose the man of the Match. Matt Hayfield was making his debut so got the sympathy vote.

The day’s programme was laid out like this:-


It was good fun. Lifelong Gashead friends were made that day. It was hardly champagne and prawn sandwiches, more Bass Bitter with chicken and chips, but we got the full stadium tour and a chance to sit in the dugouts before the game.The club even provided the bottle of Asti Spumante

Coming up to date for a minute. Derek was on the pitch at the last Rovers game. He won some sort of supporter’s prize that might involve him kicking at a goal from the half way line sometime soon. Mike and Judy are regular huggables at away games as well as in the bar before the match. (Judy gets the hugs.) I am meeting with Clarkie this evening to take in his footballing love for Hereford United as their team take on Mangotsfield up the road. Ray will be heading my way soon, as soon as he relocates his bus pass that is.

1981       Luton V Rotherham 3-1

1987       1sts Hemel Hempstead H L 30-3

1992       Leicester A 1-0

1995       Bournemouth H 2-1

1998       Oldham H 2-2

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