Interview: Glyn Lloyd

10th September 2010 at 01:00
The former head, who turns 100 next year, chose teaching over mining

Who has been your biggest influence?

Mr Miller, who taught me for two years at Plas Newydd Elementary School, which I began attending in 1916. There was a kindness to him, and if we ever asked him something that he didn't know, he would say: "I'll find out" - and he did. He also produced Gilbert and Sullivan shows such as HMS Pinafore and The Gondoliers at the school. The other person who influenced me was the headteacher there, William Glover, who would wear a top hat and cloak.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

I grew up in Maesteg, a mining town in Wales, and my father and his friends were colliers. When I was about five or six I remember hearing them all talking about how the best thing to have would be a teacher's pension. I thought that sounded good, and better than working in the mine. I have certainly benefited from the pension.

Which pupil are you most proud of?

There was one child who was the terror of the neighbourhood. He was a big lad, a Blitz evacuee and orphan whose mother had been killed in the bombing in Birmingham. But he never gave me any trouble, and now he works on my son-in-law's family farm. He was a good lad. There is good in all children.

What is your career high so far?

Building the swimming pool for the children at St Mary's School. It was important to me that they all could swim because lakes were being created in the gravel pits nearby. The children thought it was marvellous, and the health inspector said it was the best pool in the county.

What would you be if you hadn't become a teacher?

A musician of some sort. I played violin with the Wootton Bassett symphony orchestra until five years ago.

What car do you drive?

My last car was a Nissan. The first car I learnt to drive was an Austin. I was in Signals Corps during the war, when I was in North Africa, Italy and France, so I also learnt to drive motorbikes, big lorries and a small tank.

What is the worst excuse you've ever heard?

None of my pupils ever made excuses to me. As long as they said: "Please, Sir, I'm sorry," I would say: "That's all right." They were never afraid to say sorry - and that is the point. The last thing we should want is for children to be afraid of their teachers.

  • Glyn Lloyd, a former headteacher, turns 100 next April. He taught at St Mary CofE Primary School in Purton, Wiltshire, from 1932 to 1976, only leaving it to serve during the Second World War.
  • Original headline: Personally speaking - `The pension seemed a good thing to have'

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