Mr Southworth becomes “history” at Camp Hill Boys.
After some fifty years deciding what he was going to do when he left school, Mike Southworth has decided that retirement might be the best option and will therefore leave Camp Hill at the end of this Term.
Mike started teaching at Camp Hill in 1966. It is impossible, in this short piece, to do justice to his amazing contribution to the life of the School, so this is a very short summary of a few of his achievements over the years. Taken on as a young teacher straight from his PGCE at Exeter University, he became Head of the History Department in 1968. The Department developed a fine record, maintaining strong numbers in the upper school, with particularly impressive results at A Level. A steady stream of students were sent to read History at top class Universities, and many aspiring Oxford candidates will have cause to be grateful to Mike for the way in which he prepared them for their ‘HAT’ or ‘Historical Aptitude Test’. The Battlefields Trip, first set up in 1982, has become an important and much enjoyed fixture in the Year 10 curriculum.
However, his contributions to school life have extended far beyond the classroom. As Housemaster of Beaufort for 30 years, Mike initially managed to keep the House in the top four – just! – before eventually Beaufort came, for a number of years, to dominate the House Championship. A keen sportsman, for over 30 years Mike ran the Cricket 1st XI and also the Hockey 1st XI, a sport he introduced into the school curriculum “because he had nothing much to do in the winter”. However, it is possibly for his contribution to School drama that many will remember him – indeed, many have mused that Mike was good enough to take this up in a professional capacity. Be that as it may, he took over producing the musicals in 1971, and the rest, you might say, is history! After that, he branched out into straight plays starting with “Journeys End” in 2004. It is sometimes difficult to believe, when watching these productions, that these are schoolchildren on stage, such is the quality of the performance. Younger pupils have also welcomed his support, and he has enjoyed nurturing their talent and then seeing this come to fruition at Senior level. Mike has been a source of calm and wise advice to his colleagues and has seen off no fewer than six headmasters! Mike received a Ted Wragg Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Teaching Awards of 2009.