South Shields Grammar-Technical School for Boys  
home|past |present |traditions|people|photos|site||the ATOM |school photos

BLANCE, James to Main Staff Index
Jim Blance in 1966
born: 17-May-1940 (South Shields)
died: 24-Jul-2009 (Hexham)

joined: 1965 (SSGTSFB)
left: 20-Jul-1973

Jim Blance was born in South Shields, and was a pupil of the South Shields Grammar-Technical School for Boys from 1951 to 1958, gaining an Open Exhibition to Exeter College, Oxford, in 1958 to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics. After getting his BA Hons in 1961, he stayed on an extra year to complete his Diploma in Education.

In 1962 he joined the staff of Brinkburn Secondary Modern School and a year later the Marine and Technical College. He took his position at the SSGTSFB in 1965 teaching History up the 5th year, as well as Economics and British Government.

It is thought that he was the only teacher at the school to be directly related to a Peer of the Realm - he was supposedly the nephew of Baron "Billy" Blyton of South Shields, once the chairman of the school's board of governors, and Labour MP for Houghton-le-Spring for nearly 20 years. However, initial genealogical research does not support this.

Jim Blance did not have a dramatic delivery in the classroom, preferring to remain seated and to offer perspectives. Yet he was an excellent teacher able to teach at all levels, with his experiences at Brinkburn school (which had a reputation of being something of a tough school) providing him with a fund of anecdotes.

His natural, relaxed style lent itself to the new sixth-form way of thinking, bridging the gap between the didactic style of the lower school and the tutorial style that students would face in university or college.

Many believed he would stay at the SSGTSFB for life, but surprisingly he left in 1973 to teach in Northumberland, where it was rumoured that he had bought a share in a race horse (he taught at Haydon Bridge County High School).

Jim Blance died on 24th July, 2009, after a short illness.

home|past |present |traditions|people|photos|site||the ATOM |school photos
This site and its design and contents are copyright © Mike Todd, 2001-2008 - school copyright is acknowledged - contact me