The following article appeared in the Kentish Times in January 1974. The text is included below. It certainly represents some interesting views of secondary education in the 1970s, not least the radical idea that boys and girls should both learn needlecraft and woodwork! Ambitions to knit the school more securely into the fabric of the nearby housing estate were certainly realised in subsequent years. Fascinating stuff!
THOMAS TALLIS pupils should grow up to be the most "liberated" people in the area if their school training is anything to go by.
They are the only local school to have mixed classes in all the indoor lessons with boys learning needlecraft along with the girls, and girls joining the boys for woodwork and metalwork.
"If anything, the girls are better than the boys at metalwork because they come along with no preconceived ideas and are very willing to be taught," says the teacher.
And the boys are as good as the girls at needlecraft - last term some of them made needlework collages, which involved hemming and, in some cases, sewing on. buttons. It should one day cut down on the mending of their wives!
Gym lessons and some other games classes are also mixed, and so is the basketball team, which is often a great surprise to teams from visiting schools. The school even boasts a female football team.
Yet such modern ideas come from a very young school. Thomas Tallis opened in Briset Road, Kidbrooke, in September 1971, and moved to new buildings in Kidbrooke Park Road last September.
The new premises are not yet complete. The first block is occupied by nearly 600 pupils, aged from 11 to 14, but the second block, which will house another 700 pupils, is not expected to be completed until next year.
Built on a fairly open plan, the school has many unusual features - carpet on ll the floors, except in the laboratories, a games hall, a sixth form common room, with snack bar, and the latest equipment in the gym and laboratories.
The Thomas Tallis Youth Centre is also housed at the school, and an evening institute block will be incorporated in the new building - along with a home economics wing and more classrooms.
One of the criticisms often made of comprehensive schools in that they are impersonal but headmistress Mrs Beryl Husain is adamant that this does not apply in her school.
"Although we do not have a house system here, each year has a year head, who gets to know everyone and, of course, from teachers get to know their pupils extremely well," says Mrs Husain. "I cannot claim to know all the pupils, but then how many heads of smaller schools can really claim to know the pupils well, even if they know them all by name."
The school was designed to be an integral part of the Ferrier Estate, and Mrs Husain is always happy o arrange for visitors to look round the school - although few take the opportunity.
Later, it is hoped to start various community projects, leading to the children becoming more involved with the area.