Mr. James Barker
Mr James Barker, Principal from 1961 to 1971, had been the foundation Headmaster at St Albans High School and so was familiar with the frustrations experienced by the Strathmore community.
When he arrived at Strathmore the basic buildings (what are now A, B and C blocks) had been completed but there were few amenities for the 932 students who were now enrolled from Forms 1 to 5.
The school site faced further challenges over the next decade:
Significant additions to the site occurred during this decade:
Most significantly, from 1963 onwards the school included Form 6 (at the time known as Matriculation). Students achieved consistently good Matriculation results thus adding to the purposeful, positive atmosphere of the school.
Late in 1967 the Board of Inspectors of Secondary Schools visited Strathmore High School and reported that:
“In spite of its large enrolment and difficulties of accommodation this school functions very well indeed. The students are well-behaved and courteous and responded excellently to sound and stimulating lessons in the classroom. The school has continued to provide a number of extra curricular activities and out of school functions which give broader experience to its pupils and which play a part in the development of sound civic attitudes and qualities of initiative and self reliance. The Headmaster, over some years now, has conducted this school with commendable care and has maintained a strong interest in the wellbeing of his pupils in all spheres of the school’s activities. His staff have given him admirable support and many have, indeed, been more than generous with their time in forwarding a number of valuable activities which contribute towards a full school life. Many too exercised a marked influence in the school in the development of good attitudes and spirit.”
The size of the school remained relatively stable during this period with 1971 being the tenth year in succession that the school had started the year with an enrolment of over 1000 students. For most of the 1960s practically all classes had 35 students or more and a number would be over 40. This was also a time of increasing teacher shortage. In his 1971 Principal’s report Mr Barker talks of the number of teacher appointments being less than required and as a result Form 5 students having their time allocations reduced by 1 hour per subject.
Mr Barker’s final remarks in his report to the school “As my retirement approaches after 11 years at Strathmore I take the opportunity of expressing my appreciation to all who have worked with me during this time. It has been a happy experience for me. I feel a great deal has been accomplished but the school is still developing and I wish it further advancement and every success in the future.”