2016年7月10日 星期日

Sir Albert Sloman (1921-2012) / Lord James of Rusholme (1909--1992)

繆詠華:我導覽時,絕不會一上來就自我介紹、強調自己是志工......

昨天聽說某大學新校長(1年多了)有個"big ego".....想起這篇:
 Sir Albert Sloman (1921-2012) / Lord James of Rusholme (1909--1992)是兩位我敬佩的英國教育家。 我在2013年的書《珍重集:師友僑生譯藝獎留英追憶》(臺北:華人戴明學院2013)中會介紹他們---此書沒寫成,遺憾。此篇這兩位是該國文化的精華。我在Essex 大學1年多,聽過校長作過著名的BBC的Reith Lectures,卻從沒一面之緣。

楊澤泉教授昨天的解釋是"校長要領導教師、職員,老師要服務/領導學生。"

Professor Ted Benton on the influential BBC Reith Lectures by Professor Sir Albert Sloman

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cCZhXr-ceE

 This week marks the 50th anniversary of the first of the BBC Reith Lecture by Essex's founding Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Albert Sloman which set out his vision for a new kind of university. In the first of a series of short vodcasts by Essex staff, Professor Ted Benton from the Department of Sociology reflects on the impact of the lectures and Sir Albert's founding vision.
Sir Albert's BBC Reith Lectures outlined how “radical innovation” was needed to break with tradition and create a university which met the needs of the modern world. This new university would be an inspirational place for students while providing the right environment for world-leading research.

Albert Sloman 爵士 (1921-2012)是英國 Essex大學的創校校長 (1962-87
,約當了25年校長),備受尊敬我昨天看ESSEX effect 校友刊物,才知道他過世了。
他任內的學生有人得諾貝爾和平獎(1987)和經濟學獎 (2000)。
他1960年在BBC發表的Reith 講座,很"膾炙人口":

英國1977-78Essex 大學,離創校校長 Dr Albert Sloman到BBC發表Reith Lectures『一所新興大學之遠景』 A University in The Making(據說,他談Essex大學校地Wivenhoe Park風景優美,所以學生宿舍必須「起高樓」(towers--每棟十來層,每樓約9-12間,可以男女各居一室共處之,這在近50年前可能很新潮)。每一tower 都以英國學術巨擘命名,譬如說我住紀念R. H. Tawny的;以前曾想過,我必須翻譯一本他的著作留念。

Professor Ted Benton on the influential BBC Reith Lectures by Professor Sir Albert Sloman

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cCZhXr-ceE

Sir Albert Sloman

Sir Albert Sloman, who has died aged 91, was the first Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex, one of the seven founded in the 1960s and given (by Michael Beloff) the label “Plateglass Universities”.

The new universities were expected to break moulds. Essex’s plans, set out by Sloman himself in his 1963 Reith Lectures, were as radical as any, and alarmed the traditionalists.
Sir Albert Sloman
Sir Albert Sloman
Its parkland campus outside Colchester was to be a university town in its own right, with study space for all its 10,000 students, whether resident or not; tower blocks would accommodate them (high-rise living being not at that time discredited), and the hope was for a vertical version of the Oxbridge staircase system.
Like his colleagues in the other new universities, Sloman wanted to break down stultifying barriers between the old subject divisions — or, as he put it in his Reith Lectures, “to emphasise the fundamental unity of human knowledge” and “combine a specialised training in depth and a truly liberal education”.
At Essex, there would be a limited number of departments, but students would specialise deeply only after their first degrees, so there would be a high proportion of postgraduates, who would share daily life with their undergraduate colleagues, as would the teaching staff.
In the event, Essex fell short of its planned size; but many of the tower blocks and interlocking piazzas were built. And often teachers and taught turned out to be almost indistinguishable from one another.
The residential towers were only a qualified success and were reported to have been used as squats by some of the less respectable citizens of Colchester; and the piazzas never gave the sense of enclosure their designers aimed at.

In May 1968, four years after the first students were admitted, Essex was swept into the student revolution. The campus was “occupied” and bonfires were lit in the main piazza. (At a later disturbance Sloman’s wife was harassed by disaffected students who threw a missile through a window of his house.)

In May 1968 the Vice-Chancellor himself had the humiliation of having to wait outside a meeting of the “liberated” university until its self-appointed masters should decide to call him in to give an account of himself. He went through this ordeal with considerable dignity — his handsome, rather slight figure contrasting touchingly with the aggressive dishevelment of the assembly — since he believed strongly in students’ right to dissent. It was only the method of dissent, he said, that was in question.

Here he was in advance of public opinion. Most ordinary people still thought of higher education in terms of the transmission of a hereditary culture, and were scandalised at the idea of mere undergraduates telling the faculty what to do.

There was a popular feeling that Sloman had been hoist with his own liberal views. But throughout his 25 years as Vice-Chancellor he never deviated from his vision of a unified community of scholars living together on more or less equal terms. (Paradoxically, one of the grievances he faced was that there were no plans for a separate students’ union building.)

There was more trouble in 1974, when 90 students were arrested and some of the more insolent insurrectionists (always a minority) invaded his study to throw abuse. But by the end of the decade the student revolt had collapsed, and Sloman was able to get on with the business of running a university.

Albert Edward Sloman was born at Launceston, Cornwall, on February 14 1921, and went from Launceston College to Wadham College, Oxford, where he read Modern Languages. In the Second World War he was a night fighter pilot with Nos 219 and 168 Squadrons and was mentioned in despatches.

After a year at Berkeley, California (not yet the flashpoint of student revolt), and another six at the University of Dublin, he was given, in 1953, the Gilmour Chair of Spanish at Liverpool. The ascent up the ladder had been swift: he was only 32.

By the early 1950s, when he was at Liverpool, he had become involved in the work of the great 17th-century Spanish dramatist Calderón, who had been called a plagiarist because his plays were reworkings of earlier ones. Sloman was among those who were able to show that the charge of plagiarism was absurd, and that in any case it betrayed a naive misunderstanding of the 17th-century mind, which did not regard literary borrowings as reprehensible. The Dramatic Craftsmanship of Calderón, published in 1958, is a careful comparison, in the traditional Oxford vein, of the playwright’s work with his predecessors’, and reveals Calderón as a perfectionist and an original genius.

His views on higher education brought him a higher reputation across the Channel than he had in Britain, particularly for his insistence on the need to get lay support at a time when all university costs were rising, and on close links with industry — a point that was then not properly understood at home.

An assiduous traveller, Sloman was president of the Conference of European Principals and Vice-Chancellors during a period (1969-74) when many of his European colleagues were struggling to adapt a 19th-century university system to the strains of the 20th, and his vision was appreciated.

At home, from 1981 to 1983, he did his stint as chairman of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals, where he carried on his long campaign for the expansion, rather than the contraction, then threatened, of higher education in Britain. By 1987, though debonair as ever, he had become an elder statesman. He was knighted in that year.

His tribulations at Essex gave him an abiding contempt for journalists, who, predictably, turned up on the campus only when trouble was brewing, and ignored the university’s not inconsiderable academic achievements. But he was as polite to them as he was to rebellious students. Only when he met one of his tormentors at a Wadham Gaudy (the Oxonian old boys’ feast) did the mask slip. “But what”, he asked, “are you doing here?” He could not understand how a mere journalist could have been a member of his own college, and was convinced that the man was spying.

He married, in 1948, Marie Bernadette, daughter of Leo Bergeron, of Cognac, with whom he had three daughters.

Sir Albert Sloman, born February 14 1921, died July 28 2012


*****

Obituary

Sir Albert Sloman, 1921-2012

The founding vice-chancellor of the University of Essex - an institution shaped by "his clear-sighted vision" - has died.

Sir Albert Sloman was born in Cornwall on 14 February 1921 and educated at Launceston College and Wadham College, Oxford, where he opted to study Spanish, for which he secured a scholarship, rather than his first choice of philosophy, politics and economics. A night-fighter pilot during the Second World War, he returned to Oxford for a PhD in 1945 but then took up an instructorship in Spanish at the University of California, Berkeley (1946-47).

A distinguished Hispanicist who wrote two books about the 17th-century playwright Calderon, Sir Albert worked at Trinity College Dublin (1947-53) before being appointed Gilmour professor of Spanish at the University of Liverpool (1953-62). For his last two years there, he was also dean of the Faculty of Arts.

Despite limited experience in senior management, the 41-year-old Sir Albert became the UK's youngest ever vice-chancellor in 1962, remaining at Essex until retirement in 1987. Greatly influenced by his experiences in the US, he was determined from the start to create a new style of British university.

The original Colchester campus was deliberately planned to foster an atmosphere of relaxed informality, which in Sir Albert's words would "provide an experience of living as well as an opportunity for learning".

The curriculum was always international and interdisciplinary, and the university soon developed a strong reputation, for example, in the hitherto neglected field of Latin American studies. Academics were expected to focus on research, to take sabbaticals at leading foreign universities and to attract their new colleagues back as visiting fellows.

Such bold initiatives received unusual public recognition in 1963, when Sir Albert delivered the prestigious annual BBC Reith Lectures on A University in the Making.

This proved something of a poisoned chalice, however, when Essex became a centre of student unrest later in the decade and the University Grants Committee placed strict limits on the expansion of student numbers.

Sir Ivor Crewe, master of University College, Oxford, who served as Essex's vice-chancellor from 1995 to 2007, recalled Sir Albert as someone "unswervingly liberal in his principles" who, despite these early setbacks, "took the long view and patiently repaired the university's reputation by promoting research excellence, expanding graduate numbers and attracting students from overseas".

"To this day," added Sir Ivor, "[Essex] bears the distinctive imprint of his clear-sighted vision of a university with a rigorous academic mission for modern times."
Sir Albert died on 28 July and is survived by Lady Sloman and their three daughters.
matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

Readers' comments (1)


The obituary points us through to the very interesting Reith lecture series of Prof Sloman, which is available as a transcript by following this link. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/the-reith-lectures/transcripts/1960/

*****


University of Essex

 

 

 

31 July 2012

Sir Albert Sloman 1921-2012

Sir Albert Sloman UPDATED: Sir Albert, who was married with three daughters, died on 28 July, aged 91. A private funeral was held on 15 August, with a celebration of Sir Albert’s life to be held at the Church of St James the Great, East Hill, Colchester, at 4pm on Friday 7 September. 

Sir Albert Sloman was the founding and longest serving Vice Chancellor of the University of Essex, which to this day bears the distinctive imprint of his clear-sighted vision of a university with a rigorous academic mission for modern times.

Sir Albert was born and educated in Cornwall, before attending Wadham College, Oxford in 1939. He had intended to apply for PPE, but switched to Spanish on the offer of a scholarship. After two years’ study he fought with the RAF as a night-fighter pilot, returned to Oxford in 1945 to begin a doctorate, but after a year took up an Instructorship in Spanish at the University of Berkeley in California. There followed appointments in Trinity College Dublin and Liverpool, where he held the Chair in Spanish from 1953 to 1962. In his last year at Liverpool he was Dean of the Faculty of Arts with responsibilities for the humanities and social sciences in a rapidly expanding civic university.

In May 1960 the University Grants Committee announced its decision to establish a new university in the county of Essex and in June 1962 it appointed from a long list of names Albert Sloman as the first Vice Chancellor. It was a bold choice – he was only 41, with limited experience of academic leadership – but an imaginative one.

Most British universities gradually evolve from their origins as local further education or extension colleges. The University of Essex would be different. Albert Sloman took full advantage of the opportunity to create an entirely new university, unencumbered by established systems and conventions, on the green-field site of Wivenhoe Park. He broke with what he regarded as the stultifying structures of the redbrick universities of the time and adopted the outlook and practices of the leading American universities, such as Berkeley, which he greatly admired.

He described his conception of a new type of university in the BBC’s 1963 Reith Lectures, ‘The Making of a University’. It would be international in its horizons, standards, faculty and students; inter-disciplinary in its curriculum; democratic in spirit; but above all committed to research and scholarship of the highest order. To build – and build rapidly - strong, internationally recognised departments, the University’s subject coverage would be highly selective but deep. Departments would be headed by leading academics on a rotating basis so that they could maintain their research. This enabled him to recruit brilliant young academics who shared his ideas to establish and lead the new departments, including the economist Richard Lipsey, the sociologist Peter Townsend, the political scientist Jean Blondel and the literary critic, Donald Davie. Departments would offer postgraduate as well as undergraduate degrees from the start, in particular taught Masters degrees, which were almost unknown at the time. Every academic would be expected to prioritise research, and to shape their teaching by it and would be guaranteed research sabbaticals. They were strongly encouraged to spend them in the leading universities abroad and to attract their new colleagues back as visiting fellows.

The curriculum would break out of subject silos. All undergraduates would sample a broad range of courses cutting across the science/arts divide in their first year before specialising. A notable innovation in the humanities and social sciences was the principle that students should study countries other than Great Britain: each department had specialists in the United States, the Soviet Union and, on his initiative as a Hispanist, Latin America - a neglected continent in British universities, but one in which Essex built up a formidable reputation.

Central to his idea of a university, too, was the creation of a genuine academic community, free from the hierarchy and stuffiness of the established institutions. There was to be no Senior Common Room or Junior Common Room, student accommodation would be mixed (considered daring before the Sixties began to ‘swing’), and the university campus would consist of a compact set of inter connected buildings clustered around four squares, surrounded by six student residential towers. The relaxed informality of relations between students, graduates and teachers was a notable feature of the campus culture.

Many of these ideas are taken for granted today, but in the 1960s they excited intellectually adventurous students and young academics as fresh and liberating and attracted them to the University.

Much of Albert Sloman’s vision came to fruition at Essex and has survived, despite serious setbacks in the early years. In 1966 the UGC, antagonised by the University’s commitment to research, savagely cut the planned expansion of numbers. Two years later student disruption of visiting speakers – including Enoch Powell – ushered in six years of sporadic political protest on the campus. It was no worse than in many other British campuses at the time, but the progressive idealism of the Reith Lectures made Essex a sitting target for the press. An essentially shy man, unswervingly liberal in his principles, and temperamentally ill-prepared for dealing with student disorder, he was personally scarred by calls for the closure of the university from the populist right, and by criticism of his handling of the protests from the romantic left.

The depiction of the Essex campus as a hotbed of revolutionary subversion seriously damaged the University’s reputation. Applications for undergraduate places rapidly dwindled and took three decades to recover. The local Essex community, which had generously contributed to its initial endowment, stepped back in embarrassment. The planned growth in student numbers was continuously scaled back, leaving little scope for new academic initiatives. But Sir Albert took the long view and patiently repaired the University’s reputation by promoting research excellence, expanding graduate numbers, and – in response to the collapse of UK undergraduate numbers – attracting students from overseas, where the University’s high standing remained intact.

Sir Albert was actively involved in higher education at national and international levels, with a particular interest in international scholarships and cross-national university cooperation. A committed European – his wife Marie, was from Cognac in France, where they had a house - he chaired the Conference of European Rectors and Vice Chancellors from 1969 to 1974. He also presided over the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals, the representative body for UK universities, in 1981-83, a particularly testing time marked by the large cuts brought in by the Thatcher administration.

Sir Albert Sloman retired as Vice Chancellor in 1987 after twenty five years, an unusually long period of office. The previous year the University surprised the academic world, and perhaps itself, by an exceptionally strong performance in the first Research Assessment Exercise, which it repeated in all the national research assessment exercises that have followed. Earlier this year, the Times Higher Education ranked Essex 20th among the world’s universities established in the past 50 years, a vindication of the principles on which he founded the University on his appointment half a century ago.

Professor Sir Ivor Crewe, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex 1995-2007, and Lecturer and Professor in Government at Essex for more than 35 years



 *****


89在臺灣大學外文系的看板上看到「約克大學」的英國文學研究所招募研究生海報,海報上頭說,該所在全世界這一領域排名第27……。這所大學與本書要介紹的University of Essex ,都是60年代初,英國新設的所謂「平板玻璃大學」。

這些學校大半都有很有特色的創辦者,我的母校Essex大學的Albert Sloman 爵士 (1921-2012),我在本書中會介紹。至於「約克大學」的創校()校長Lord James of Rusholme,很巧的是著名物理學家弗里曼·戴森(Freeman Dyson1923 )的中學化學老師 (名私立中學Winchester College) Dyson在《反叛的科學家作者序》(杭州:浙江大學出版社,2013,頁4-8。此篇在網路上可以試讀http://book.douban.com/reading/26628028/ ) 對這位老師有最深情的介紹。他的文筆很好,讓我所寫的Albert Sloman 爵士有點相形見絀。

不過,我還是會端出我的菜的,因為再怎麼說,這兩位英國新興大學校長在位都十一年至二十幾年,辦校成績都是一流的,這或許可以解釋英國高等教育的品質之所以可貴。





Eric John Francis James, Baron James of Rusholme (13 April 1909 – 16 May 1992) was a prominent British educator.
He was educated at York Place Secondary School, Brighton, Taunton's School, Southampton and Queen's College, Oxford. He taught science at Winchester College from 1933 to 1945, and was High Master of The Manchester Grammar School from 1945 to 1962. He then became the first Vice-Chancellor of the University of York, serving from 1962 to 1973.
He had well-known and controversial views on the importance of meritocracy and took very seriously "the University's obligation to be a cultural and educational force in the region". His three cardinal principles for the University of York were:
  • it should be collegiate in character
  • it should deliberately aim to limit the range of subjects
  • much of the teaching should be by tutorials and seminars
 Dyson訪問談這位愛現代詩的好老師 http://www.webofstories.com/play/freeman.dyson/13;jsessionid=A6D4E0A4BB54A8839D6B5E26DFE27DED


Works

  • James, Eric (1951). Education and leadership. Harrap.

References


Lord James of Rusholme


The Lord James of Rusholme, the former High Master of Manchester Grammar School and the first Vice-Chancellor of York University, who has died aged 83, stood out unflinchingly for academic standards - and in particular for grammar schools - against the meretricious educational nostrums peddled with such disastrous results in the postwar years.

His period at Manchester Grammar School between 1945 and 1962 must be counted one of the most notable headmasterships of this century, comparable in terms of contemporary prestige and achievement - if never in style or ideology - with that of Arnold at Rugby in the 19th century.
The abiding misfortune for Britain was that, whereas Arnold's muscular Christianity permeated the English governing classes for several generations, James's devotion to the cause of intellectual excellence made little appeal to the educational theorists of the 1960s.
Eric James was caricatured as reactionary and undemocratic when in fact he was by background, temperament and conviction a Fabian Socialist who believed passionately in equality of opportunity. Nonetheless he made a sharp distinction between equality of opportunity and uniformity of treatment.
To him it was axiomatic that able children are a nation's most precious asset, and equally self-evident that the academically gifted, no less than great athletes or musicians, will best develop their talents in company with their peers. In the 1950s and 1960s it required considerable moral courage to stand out against the dominant educational opinion, which had settled dogmatically upon scrapping grammar schools in favour of the supposedly more egalitarian comprehensive system.
James, however, had established his position on firm foundations. A man who had acquired a deep knowledge and understanding of de Tocqueville, Matthew Arnold and John Stuart Mill was not to be shaken by the hortations of Mrs Shirley Williams.
Above all, James responded eagerly to Plato's ideal of an aristocracy of talent. The educational system, he believed, had an essential role to play in ensuring that the brightest and the best became the Guardians of contemporary England.

James advocated a pure meritocracy. Selection at Manchester Grammar School was by competitive examination, with no marks added for wealth or family connections. It was the essence of his philosophy that grammar schools should serve as ladders, giving all levels of society access to the highest places in the land.

His High Mastership bore splendid witness to this ambition. In the mid-1950s Manchester Grammar School was attaining up to 45 scholarships every year at Oxford and Cambridge.
This success, however, only confirmed the antipathy of those who judged the system of selection by its ability to be divisive. Eventually Manchester Grammar would be obliged to become a private fee-paying school rather than submit to the comprehensive principle.
James, by that time, had long since ceased to be High Master, but his prolonged championship of grammar schools, although doomed to failure in his lifetime, looked for ultimate vindication in the spirit of his beloved Matthew Arnold: Let the victors, when they come, When the forts of folly fall, Find thy body by the wall] At York, happily, James was able to build a more enduring monument, for the university has always been one of the more successful of the foundations created in the wake of the Robbins Report.

James took up office as Vice-Chancellor in 1962, and was involved with every detail of the university's development. He described his work with the architects as one of the most exciting times of his life; a particular satisfaction was the creation of the lake, described as 'a balancing reservoir' in order to mollify the accountants.

Although James never intended, in his own words, "to set down a pale imitation of Oxford in the Yorkshire meadows", the new foundation followed the Oxford tradition in several respects. James stressed that at least half the students should live on the campus; he housed them in separate colleges which were conceived not simply as halls of residence, but as the centres of the university's social and academic life.

To create the closest possible relationship between teacher and taught, tutors as well as students were given rooms in the colleges; and the tutorial became the basic form of instruction. Rather less in tune with Oxford - at least in the early 1960s - half of the undergraduates were women.

James's prescription for running a university was deceptively simple: "First, get extremely good men on your staff. Secondly, create the kind of place where schools will want to send their best people. Thirdly, look after the students when you have got them."

He proved more successful than many of his peers in dealing with the student troubles of the 1960s. As he was always available for discussion with anybody, it could never be claimed that he was out of touch; when he retired in 1973 the president of the student union admitted to the respect and admiration which the Vice-Chancellor had earned.

James left a university which contained nearly 3,000 students; and, in higher education at least, he could be pleased with the advance of his meritocratic ideals. Jude (the Obscure), he wrote, "need no longer look despairingly at the towers and spires of an inaccessible university, provided he has three good A-level passes, can satisfy one of a multiplicity of entrance requirements, and is prepared, if necessary, to do without spires."

In 1970 Mrs Thatcher, then the Secretary of State for Education and Science, asked him to be chairman of an inquiry into teacher training. James developed a lively admiration for Mrs Thatcher; indeed one of his own pronouncements, in 1973, strikingly anticipated Mrs Thatcher's outburst about "caring" in the 1987 election campaign.

"Most people give the impression that I don't care about ordinary people," James said. "I do, only one can't say it, I can't go round bleating 'I care'."

In one respect James was an odd choice to head a committee dealing with teacher training because the essence of his position was that teachers should be educated rather than trained. He wanted teachers who could inspire children; beside this great principle, what or how they should teach were questions of lesser import.

James held that a single subject, well taught, might form the basis of a true education; equally that an apparently alluring spread of studies, badly taught, would simply become a drab routine.

The James Report on Teacher Training, which appeared in 1972, envisaged the colleges of education as mini-universities where students would follow a two-year, purely academic, course leading to a Diploma of Higher Education, before engaging specifically with teaching. Only after the DipHE, the committee recommended, should fledgling teachers undertake a further two-year course addressed to the theory and practice of work in the classroom. It was also proposed that teachers should attend an in-service course for not less than one term every seven years.

Despite opposition from the National Union of Teachers, both the Government and the preponderance of opinion supported the recommendations of the James committee, whose chairman went into retirement with the satisfaction of having established the basis for a better educated teaching profession.

Eric John Francis James was born at Derby on April 13, 1909, into a Nonconformist background; his family were Congregationalists. His father, a commercial traveller, was devoted to literature, an enthusiasm which the boy absorbed with a will from infancy.
Young Eric's early schooling was at Brighton; then, at 13, he went to Taunton's School at Southampton, from where he won an exhibition to Queen's College, Oxford.
He gained a first in chemistry and represented the university at chess; a steady player, he concluded a draw with his Cambridge opponent.

His earliest ambition had been to become a doctor, but since a medical training was scarcely feasible at that time without private resources, his decision settled upon a teaching career.

In 1933 the University Appointments Board offered him a temporary appointment at Winchester, where he soon secured a permanent place on the staff. Besides teaching chemistry, he became a "div don" - a master who teaches his form a range of subjects - of high repute.

James remained at Winchester until 1945, and the experience was crucial in the development of his educational ideas. In particular he was influenced by Spencer Leeson, the headmaster. James did not share his mentor's Christianity - for which reason he felt himself disqualified from a public school headmastership - but he did imbibe Leeson's conception of the headmaster as primus inter pares.


primus inter pares







noun

  • a first among equals; the senior or representative member of a group: the feudal king was primus inter pares among his vassals

Origin:

Latin

"You must not become a distant, inaccessible figure in office," Leeson wrote to him when he was appointed to the High Mastership of Manchester Grammar School. "Insist on doing a substantial amount of teaching. Encourage all possible contacts with parents. Get to know your staff as intimately as you can."

These precepts, however difficult to apply in a school of some 1,450 boys, were at the root of James's success at Manchester. Full of energy, and adept at the brisk discharge of routine business, as High Master he found time for everyone, until all the school's activities became imbued with the aspiration of excellence.

James possessed an infectious enthusiasm which conveyed that scholarship was not just a grind to be endured for the sake of exams, but an enduring source of satisfaction. His own intellectual range was exceptionally broad; always open to new ideas, he was both eager and formidably equipped to debate any issue - and more than willing to concede the point if he found himself bettered in argument.

The High Master never pulled rank. No style of leadership could have been further removed from the traditional conception of the headmaster as a distant authority figure; James's talisman was his own personality.


pull rank

take unfair advantage of one’s seniority: someone pulled rank and took my place

"To some of us he was almost too good to be true," a member of the staff, O R Corbett, has written. "By merely being about the place he brought a vigour to the school which amounted in the course of time to a kind of revolution."

James always maintained that clever boys were not pale little swots, but were more, not less, likely to be good at other things as well. The school had a good games record, and, as the High Master put it, was one of the foremost in "Outward Boundery". Art, music and drama were encouraged: Ben Kingsley and Robert Powell were both at Manchester Grammar during James's time.

The High Master also proved an effective fund raiser, and there were many physical improvements in the school, including a new physics block.

Neither at Manchester nor at York, however, were James's energies entirely absorbed by the task in hand. He was a member of the University Grants Committee, an experience that left him quite content that the government should inspect university accounts.

In 1953-54 he was chairman of the Headmasters' Conference. As a member of the Central Advisory Council on Education he made his influence felt in the Crowther report on secondary education, published in 1959; in particular he supported two of the recommendations - for the raising of the school leaving age to 16, and for specialised studies in sixth forms.

James was also a member of the Standing Commission on Museums and Art Galleries and of the Press Council. After his retirement from York in 1973 he served on the Social Science Research Council and was chairman of the Personal Social Services Council and of the Royal Fine Art Commission.

He broadcast in both the radio and television versions of The Brains Trust. He campaigned vigorously, however, against popular television, which he considered had a "diseducative" effect on the young.

James set forth some of his educational ideas in two books, An Essay on the Content of Education (1949) and Education and Leadership (1951). His Elements of Physical Chemistry, written in collaboration with another master during his Winchester period, became a standard school textbook.

James was knighted in 1956 and created a life peer as Baron James of Rusholme in 1959.
He married, in 1939, Cordelia, only daughter of Maj-Gen Fitzgerald Wintour, and sister of Charles Wintour, formerly editor of the Evening Standard.

Their son, Oliver, is a consultant and professor of medicine at Newcastle.



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