Chapter 9 about Poundswick Graffiti in 1985 now online

graffiti on a blue wall tags yellow and red not clear to read

Copyright Bernard Young – not the graffiti from Poundswick

An incident in 1985 of graffiti by a group of pupils and ex-pupils at Poundswick High School, in Wythenshawe, triggered a series of events leading to strike action in schools throughout Manchester. The school at the centre of these events was closed for a whole year and the pupils in the critical exam years lost a vital period of their education. The issue challenged the Left administration of Manchester City Council being on the opposite side of the negotiation table than they were used to, and left scars on the Education Committee councillors for many years. Read the full account in chapter 9.

graffiti on a wall with words do you trust the government

Copyright Bernard Young – not graffiti from Poundswick

The editing of this chapter has involved adding sub-headings, minor typographical and layout amendments. I have struggled to understand why this incident has been given a chapter of its own and why it is in the section ‘Putting Policies into Practice’. I see that it was a matter of considerable time and effort and stress and has merit to be included because of the very matter of the Left being the employer and being on the other side of strike action. I wonder if it was of greater significance to Kath because of her Education interest. With my 2016 viewpoint, I can’t help agreeing with the quote from Ed Glinert that the Headteacher should have made the offenders wash the graffiti off and that would have been the end of it. Clearly there were other forces at play.

Image Credits

The images used in the post are not covered by the Creative Commons licence and are all copyright to Bernard Young. They are of graffiti around Manchester, but not of the actual graffiti referred to in the chapter.

Further Reading

pen graffiti on a wall 'eat god + see acid' 'derric is not fit for purpose'

Copyright Bernard Young – not graffiti from Poundswick

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16 Responses

  1. lesley mccrann says:

    The school was closed for the whole year and the graffiti was done at the youth club in the evening.

  2. no name says:

    No it wasn’t. It was on the wall facing the football playing towards the flats on Grayfriars Rd.

  3. no name says:

    Oh and it was done at Poundswick lower school on Portway Road not the high school at Simonsway.

    • karencropper says:

      As the quote on the location and description of the graffiti is from a documented report, I wonder if what you are referring to was in addition. Especially since the offending graffiti was supposedly removed the next day.

  4. Karl says:

    I was at the lower school at the time and from what i remember the grafitti was at the high school,
    both schools wher closed for quite a while but for months after re-opening we had random lessons here and there as only a few teachers felt the importance to carry on teaching the innocent, I remember going in for a 1 hour long lesson in the afternoon and only 5 or 6 of us attended, it was the pupils choice if they turned up!
    Alot of children only went in for dinner then left, it was laughable!
    The hardest thing to stomach is that it was all over name calling, the sort of thing we as pupils was just told to just ‘get over it’ or ‘ignor it’
    I wonder if the teachers involved are proud of their actions and the potential consequences it has had on peoples lives!?

    • karencropper says:

      Thanks for sharing your personal experiences and insight, Karl. It seems from reading Kath’s account in this chapter that there were other background issues between teachers and government, and even more generally issues about unions trying to maintain their stronghold. The graffiti was just the trigger and the real issue seems to be about power and control. All this militant strike action is what led ultimately to anti union laws. You all got caught in that cross-fire. I hope that this chapter sheds some light on that context. I was at secondary school in Chorlton 1976-81 and remember strike days then too, but not to the extent of the disruption you experienced. Then I went to Wythenshawe College 81-83, but a lot of my sixth form year group got caught in the sixth form restructure in Manchester. My peers who stayed on in the sixth form at school had no lower sixth pupils when they were in the upper sixth and a similar situation that you describe of temporary teachers, lesson disruption and no continuity of teaching in the second year. Then surprise surprise people didn’t do very well in their exams. One of the reasons for putting things on record is the hope that someone learns from history, so it doesn’t repeat itself.

    • James says:

      hiya Karl I was wondering if anyone has had any compensation who was at the school at the time of the strike as I feel as we have been cheated out of a large lump of education with the length of the strike and the standard of teaching and morale in the place for years after

    • James says:

      hiya Karl has anyone ever been compensated on this as I was in the first year poundswick at the time I’m sure this had an impact on everyone’s education who was in the school as it was a terrible place to get an education

  5. Zoe says:

    We lost a year of education over this facade. Absolutely ridiculous and an utter disgrace. How many exam results suffered as a result? How many children gave up on their education after missing a whole year? How many missed the chance of University?
    If our teachers didn’t value our education, how could we as children be expected to take ownership of it after that?
    There was never any compensation or help for the children that suffered as a result of this of course.
    Poundswick High School was an utter joke.

  6. James says:

    I feel like someone somewhere has to answer some questions on this matter I was in the first year when this happened and it seems to me my whole education here was affected the following years as we only ever had a4 paper to do our work on !no text books it was an utter shambles of a school from then on.

    • karencropper says:

      James, I’ve approved your comments here, for the record, but if you want to get answers from other pupils at Poundswick at the same time as you, you may have more success getting in touch with people via facebook. The fb group ‘Wythenshawe‘ is a good one to post a message in. I’m sure you already know, but just in case, you need to be a member of a group to post a message and it may take some time to be approved as a member once you click the join button. Other fb groups worth trying are: ‘Manchester Memories‘, ‘I survived growing up in Wythenshawe‘ and ‘Growing up in Wythenshawe‘. There are also a few comments on the post on the facebook page for this book.

      Good luck with getting your answers.

  7. Wayne phillips says:

    We was off school for a year it was mint wayne phillips

  8. J H says:

    Myself and a friend of mine were expelled for doing the graffiti, before the real culprits got caught, I lost my last year at school for this very reason, I didn’t find it fun being accused of something I didn’t do and neither did my father, he refused to let me go back to school, until the headteacher Mr H******* or his deputy Mr G*** apologized to me for accusing me of something I hadn’t done and ruining my reputation, the apology never came and I never finished my education. I often wonder how my life would have turned out, if they had only said Sorry, a pretty easy word to say, don’t you think!….

    • karencropper says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting. It must have felt awful to be wrongly accused. I think sorry is often a very hard word for people to say.

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