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FROM the West Sussex County Times of Friday, May 28, 1971.

MRS MARGARET Thatcher, Secretary of State for Education and Science, agreed with the headmaster of Collyer’s School, Horsham, Derek Slynn, that examinations are important when she spoke at the school’s Founder’s Day prizegiving.

Said Mr Slynn in outlining the school’s successes: “I must confess that I am impressed by those headmasters who from their Olympian fastness make public their fine disdain for examination statistics as irrelevant to the business of education.

“No doubt their motives are unimpeachable and perhaps the parent who was told by his son’s headmaster that although his bright son had failed in his examinations, he had a fine education, might accept this verdict with gratitude.”

Mr Slynn believed, however, that examination results had their place in the balance sheet, so he gave them. Mrs Thatcher agreed that examinations were still important and that in some curious way provided equality between schools.

WITH ‘substantial’ help from the Mercers’ Company, a member of which founded the school 430 years ago, Collyer’s School, Horsham, is expected to see the start of the final phase of development, costing about £150,000, within 18 months.

Plans, which include three new classrooms, two geography laboratories, a visual aid centre, a sixth form centre and new art and crafts blocks, are already on their way to the Department of Education and Science.

The department is expected to provide 80 per cent of the cost of the development to this state-aided school.

The governors have to provide the remaining 20 per cent and it was the chairman of governors, Christopher Buckle, who announced at the school’s Founder’s Day prizegiving that only the previous day the Mercer’s Company had promised ‘substantial financial help’.

THE DUKE of Edinburgh opened a new convalescent wing at the Merchant Seamen’s War Memorial Society’s Springbok-Radcliffe residential rehabilitation centre at Alfold.

He was smiling when he stepped out of a red Wessex helicopter on a field 100 yards from the main building, raised many laughs while he was there, and was still smiling widely when he left.

He left behind him an impression of friendliness and affability, and throughout the hour and a half he was there showed a lively interest in everything shown and explained to him.

The vast new wing has been added to the existing residential centre, previously occupied only by disabled ex-merchant seamen receiving rehabilitation and training for work in farming or in market gardening.

It replaces the Henry Radcliffe Convalescent Home which the society ran at Limpsfield, Surrey, from 1920 until it was sold in 1968.