Ex-woodwork teacher’s photos in plane view

Parklands High School - 1983''Photos by Arnold Pennington
Parklands High School - 1983''Photos by Arnold Pennington
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A long-serving teacher at Parklands High School has opened up his photo albums to share with the Guardian.

Arnold Pennington taught at the school for 14 years between 1980 and 1994.

He taught woodwork, metalwork and technical drawing, as well as serving as the official photographer.

“I started photography at an after-school class run by my science teacher,” said Arnold. “It’s been a hobby ever since.”

He has amassed a huge collection of more than 1,500 photographs from his time at Parklands. These cover everything from classes and sporting achievements to ceremonies and school plays.

Not all his photos are just keepsakes however. Some of them were vital memory aides.

“Students used to be cycled through the different technology classes every six weeks,” explained Arnold. “It was impossible to remember every name.”

So Arnold took a photograph of each new group of students he taught so he could remember their faces.

He said: “It was very useful at parents’ evenings. I could ask a parent which class their child was in and once they pointed out the face I could tell them everything they wanted to know!”

He is particularly fond of the photographs of his GCSE students, often photographed posing with their finished creations. Even after nearly 20 years, he can remember all their names.

Arnold first started teaching woodwork after he finished his national service in the Royal Air Force in 1961.

He hung up his hat in 1994, after the national curriculum changed his subject beyond recognition. He says: “The national curriculum abolished real woodwork, anybody will tell you that.”

He continues to work as an amateur photographer, and he’s even been the official photographer at the weddings of some of his old pupils!

- For the rest of the photos, see this week’s Guardian.

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