Another founder pupil

a memory of Ashtree school

By John Bissell

Hi everyone

When I had just turned five my mum had to put me on a bus to go to Camps Hill School.  When Ashtree opened a few months later it was fantastic as mum could walk me the mile or so to the school.

The headmaster Mr Speight seemed very old to me at the time, but I can see from the old photos that he was probably still in his 20’s.  He was enthusiastic about everything, but most particulary about sport and music.  I was fortunate to have David Holmes as my teacher for all four years at the school.

Pupils I remember as if it were yesterday are John Thorne, Paul Nuzza, Peter Cashmore, Alistair Prickett, Janet Hayden, Jennifer Mason, Rita Bennefield and Jennifer Mason.

Great school, great memories.

John Bissell

This page was added on 21/09/2012.

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  • I joined Ashtree Juniors in 1962 from Peartree. Mr Speight, also ex-Peartree, was kindness itself. Very sad loss but I still have pie slice he bought me for a wedding present in 1972. Many fond memories of Mr Jarrett and Mr Thomas who put me under the protective wing of Gordon Phelps to find the right bus home and get off at the right stop. How I cried when he went to Canada and South Africa. Mario Charalambou, Steven Chappell, Roger Thake, Deborah Fowler and Christopher Fry and many more. Jeanette Rodgers who nearly married my brother but sadly he died. I used to swim with Neil Prentice. Many lovely happy memories are still with me.
    Ann Curry (nee Clayfield) 21/6/22

    By Ann Curry (21/06/2022)
  • I only learned today that Trevor Speight passed away in 2013. Mr Speight was headmaster at Ashtree the whole time I was there in the early 1960’s. It wasn’t until some years later that I realised what an influence for the good, he has had on my life. I will remember him fondly and I wish I had known of his passing in 2013, as I would have wanted to attend his funeral. My belated condolences to his family.

    John Bissell

    By John BISSELL (27/04/2020)
  • I started there in September 1961.  Mr Speight was the head of the Junior School, and I believe there was a female head of the Infants part.  I think Mr Williams was my first teacher, followed by Mr Holmes (possibly a different one to the previous comment as the period overlaps) and Mr Thomas.  I believe Ann Clayfield was in my class.  As with Gordon Phelps, I also went on to Alleyne’s.  It was quite a shock to my system when I saw my niece in her Alleyne’s uniform.

    By NeilPentice (09/08/2016)
  • Hello … I remember Ashtree … I would have been there 1962 ish to 1964 ish .. in the primary bit .. I also remember ‘Johny’ Speight the headmaster .. along with Mr Williams .. my teacher … who sadly passed away when I was in my mid teens … and his daughter Patricia who was in my class at Ashtree …. and a very small girl that I sat next to named Leslie Whale … Mr Williams was always saying he’d put us both in a bucket of manure to get us to grow … we were both short … Half a century on I have fond memories of Ashtree .. and another little girl named Ann Clayfield .. with whom I used to walk up to Six Hills Way to catch a bus home … she was lovely !! From Ashtree I went on to Alleyne’s … then Bath University … subsequently Newcastle University (UK) .. and work now as a research scientist in Perth Australia …. Such a journey … where has all the time gone … and what has happened to all those people ….

    By Gordon Phelps (18/02/2014)
  • My eldest children went to Ashtree school too, 1976 and 78. Nicholas and Hayley Saunders. Nick now lives in Canada and is a bird and wildlife photographer in his spare time, with one published book.

    By Kathleen Nye (28/12/2012)