Fred Brierly

Maths Teacher: 1950 - 1963

There's a danger that now I have discovered the website I shall become the email green ink equivalent. However, I can't allow the entry for Fred Brierley, maths teacher extraordinary, to stand without letting you know that it was him and his deputy, John Day, who were responsible for the amazing run of success in Oxford scholarship exams, though John Day himself would have accepted that it was Brierley who was the non-pareil. He was so successful in coaching his students that the examiners at Oxford devised a "problem paper" to test innate mathematical ability in an attempt to neutralise inspired teaching but Fred was always one step ahead of them. The Oxford mathematicians were then rumoured to have started discriminating against Institute boys on the grounds that their subsequent degrees did not reflect their Scholarship results. Fred got round that by teaching his Scholarship winners the Oxford first year syllabus in the 2 terms remaining to them after they acquired their scholarships. He was inspiring, so much so that I arranged to attend his Maths classes in the 6th form, although I was really Science 6th rather than Maths and Physics 6th. I got my Cambridge scholarship largely because of my maths and that was entirely due to his teaching rather than great innate ability.

Fred also supervised the stage machinery, scenery etc for the school plays. He was also a fund of stories about his war service. It is true that he backed up boys having problems with the Baz.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Zalin