Contained here are some documents archived from the school website and personal collections

Pool School

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Welcome to the Pool School Archive!


This is purely a personal collection of items relating to the school that have been placed here for the benefit of those who want to take a trip down memory lane or find out a bit more about their school.


Please be aware that this page is NOT affiliated with Pool Academy in any way and it’s very much a work in progress. Some dates and details are approximate - feel free to send in any corrections.


Pool School has gone through many name changes, Pool Comprehensive, Pool County, Pool Secondary until it became Pool School & Community College in 1992 under the leadership of Dr Patrick Hazlewood. After Dr Hazlewood left in 1996 Mr David Howley (former deputy headteacher) took up the post. Mrs Liz Terry became headteacher in 1998, Mr John Oddy (also a former deputy) took over in 2000. In 2002 Mrs Zelma Hill was appointed. The school renamed as Pool Business and Enterprise College around 2006 and became Pool Academy in 2011. In 2017 Mrs Hill retired and Miss Claire Meakin became principal.


The school funded the build of it’s new Sports Hall in 1994 through a ‘buy a brick’ scheme.


The school was split site since the ‘new’ school was built mid 1970’s until 2002 when the school became part of the first Cornwall PFI scheme. WS Atkins were awarded the contract to move the school to a single site and maintain the building for 25 years. Although the PFI contract fell through, the move was completed and Pool was able to close the ‘old site’ following construction of a new school hall / music / drama block, new maths / art block and renovation of the existing buildings.

The Fibre Optic Link - Environment Week activity  Summer 1996

Mr Lamin & Mr Clayton

The fibre optic link was one of two tasks undertaken by the IT department at Pool School during the 1996 Environment week (an anual event at the school where pupils are encouraged to particpate in activities normally benefiting the school.)

One part of the group worked on a store for the new Sports Hall (See the article on the Straw Bale House) while the second group worked on the fibre optic link.


The exisiting computer network was a "temporary" installation as the school was forced to have two networks due to the main road running between the sites. Because the schools are also separated by a playing field it would have been impossible to use standard network cable to link the two networks (the distance is too great.)

In step Microcomms, a local firm who specialise in computer networking. The equipment was supplied by the firm and they sat back and enjoyed the rain while the school pupils dug a trench for the cable.

The playing field was no problem - the cable was in and a repeater was installed at one end of the line. Now came a problem - the road!

There was already a telephone cable running along the footbridge crossing the road so first some trunking was fixed to the bridge, next the fibre optic cable and telephone cables were placed inside.

Another repeater was installed in the computer lab on the KS4 site and after a little test the operation was a success.


It was the end of term and the pupil's wanted to know why they couldn't access their files through the fibre optic link. Ah! The next job was to connect the existing networks to the repeaters. Over the summer holidays, it was the task of Tim Walters, Adam Scott and Mark Clift-Matthews to install new Cat5 cabling around both school sites, ready for the new batch of computers. At the same time, the existing networks were linked to the new fibre and for the first time ever, pupils were able to access their files from any computer on the network. Previously it was necessary to save your work to a floppy disc and take it to the other site.

It appears that some of the pupils were glad to get the work done. Even laying a cable wrongly can annoy some people!

School flyers - click the image to view a PDF of the flyer

Circa 1993/1994


Pool School in 1982 - these photos were used to highlight the problems faced by the school at the time.


An overcrowded bridge was all too familiar to pupils as they moved between the sites for different lessons.

Also highlighted are damp problems in the maths block.

Pool School Prospectus - 1991 & 1993 


My complete prospectus from when I joined the school (sadly missing the original site map)

Click on the front cover to read the contents

The second prospectus is from around 1993/1994 - once the school had become a ‘Community College’

The Straw Bale House (Failed)

The theory is reasonably simple. A concrete base needed to be laid with metal spikes - two per bale and threaded bars, to link the ground to the roof, embedded in it. A plastic membrane keeps the concrete dry. It also seemed a good idea to slope the base slightly so that the roof would eventually slope to lose water. Straw bales are used like building blocks to build the walls. With a store, there would no need to worry about windows and other complications.

The straw bale house was a great idea. Bill Lamin, the Director of Information Technology had read a pamphlet on the building system and thought of it as way of providing an equipment store for the School's sports hall.

The school was storing equipment in hired metal containers. The straw store could be built by pupils and would save a fortune in the hire of the containers. It was to be an "environment week" project. the pupils would have three and a half days to complete the task with a limited budget. (at the same time, the†group of around 30 pupils would be digging a trench for the fibre optic computer link - but that is another story).

The roof of the large garage like structure would be covered with wooden sheeting, a layer of plastic and a raft of old straw bales. they would be allowed to rot down and seeded with a good selection of wild flowers! what could be simpler. The walls were to be strengthened with metal spikes. The threaded bars were to extended using long nuts and would be used to pull down the wall plates to compress the walls prior to plastering with a cement mortar. What could be simpler? Let's go for it! July 1st to 4th 1996 - let's hope that West Cornwall stays dry for those few days!

The team was assembled. Two teachers, Bill Lamin and Roy Clayton, and 26 willing pupils. The concrete base was laid on the Friday afternoon in an hour or so. A 4inch layer of hard core topped with sand and plastic was used to lift it above the ground level and to keep it dry. The metal spikes and threaded rods were duly embedded and tied in place while the concrete spent the weekend setting.

The very rough wooden shuttering did an excellent job and, by the Monday a reasonably respectable concrete slab, complete with spikes, was ready for the off. Many thanks are due to the concrete suppliers "Western Blocks". They were so helpful and did a very good deal on the price. Well done Western Blocks.

The main task started on the Tuesday morning. The straw arrived and the excited pupils stacked it in the lee of the Sports Hall. The weather was worryingly unsettled.


We started building!


Mistake ONE: We had tried to match the wall length to a whole number of bales so that we could minimise cutting. Bales are not exactly the same size and they just wouldn't go together right.


"Let's take this first layer down and start again, it was a good practice!"

Mistake TWO: This is building not "Leggo". Don't build a layer at a time. Sort out the corners first. Do three or four layers at each corner and then fill in the gaps. Watch a builder at work. That's the way he does it.

We had scrounged a truck's roller door and that seemed to be a good secure solution to the doorway. It was time to start thinking about how to fix that in place.

Advice via the internet arrived from the University of Arizona. "Make sure that the bales are high density and get the corners and doorways tight and square." Thanks, but a bit late. The bales didn't seem to be too compact but they were all we had. The corners had all gone wrong as we had struggled to fit in exact numbers of bales. Never mind, the Telly people are arriving around lunchtime and so we'd better press on!

It was easy to hammer the first layer of bales down over the 10mm spikes embedded in the concrete. Eventually, we realised that it would be essential to cut bales to build the walls. It was not easy. We had a wire twisting machine. Unfortunately, the wire broke before it had sufficient tension. it was difficult to tie string tightly enough. We tried and made a job of it but wrecked several bales in the process.

Layer one looked reasonable.

Mistake THREE: Fix the doors in place first and build to them.

We started moving a bit faster now so that we would have something to show the cameras. (probably mistake four - never rush! Lets say, mistake 3a) The metal spikes hammered in easily. We had got quite thin spikes for this task - 8mm, they bent alarmingly under the weight of the bales.

Mistake FOUR (definitely!): 10mm spikes as a minimum to keep enough stiffness and stability to the structure. We thought they may be difficult to hammer in and were in to cutting costs!


The walls grew rapidly. By the time that the TV people, BBC Spotlight, arrived at midday, We had reached level four. About five feet high. They spent about two hours filming and went way with pupil interviews and film clips that were edited into an impressive presentation on that evening's show. The local Radio - Radio Cornwall - did an interview and featured the project several times on their broadcasts during the day.

It was getting worryingly unstable. At five feet high, the pupils were struggling to reach up and there were several near accidents as the wall swayed and pupils lost their balance. The real concern was the threaded bars that stuck menacingly out of the top of the wall. It was easy to imagine pupils impaled on them.


Mistake FIVE: limit the number of workers. We had up to 16 at a time. It was difficult to control their enthusiasm. They were leaping around trying to finish the job but not understanding the care that was needed. This job could have been tackled with five or six as a maximum.


At the end of day one we had avoided rain and built a substantial chunk of the walls. The weather forecast was poor and so we covered as much as we could with plastic and weighted it down as well as we could with anything that was lying around.


Day two was wet. Very wet. The expensive ( a quarter of our total 500 pounds budget) roof timbers was due to be delivered. The walls swayed in the breeze!


It was decision time. There was no way that the kids could work in the rain and so there was some breathing space to sort out possibilities. Several phone calls were made to see if we could get someone to rebale the straw in a more compact format. It was a bit of a panic measure and not really practical (and unsuccessful). The stabilty of the walls was very worrying. another layer was necessary - two if possible. Would it be safe? Would the roof timber increase the stability sufficiently? What was going to stop the whole thing swaying, even with a rigid roof? We hadn't put in the door structure yet and the magnitude of this error (Mistake THREE ) in stability terms was very evident. Mark Clift-Matthews, one of the more practical pupils, set about building a door frame and fitting it to the concrete base.


The rain eased but the decision had to be made. With great reluctance, we sadly told the pupils that we had to cut our losses and stop. everyone - not least the teachers, Bill Lamin and Roy Clayton, was extremely disappointed but understanding. It would be possible to concentrate on the fibre optic link - see the page on that.


We could return the undamaged bales to the supplier and cancel the timber. We still had the concrete base which could be used for a conventional building. The steel was a right-off but not too expensive. The whole process was likely to cost us around 200 pounds.


Was it worth it? Most definitely and emphatically, YES! It was a great experience for all involved. It was presented as a gamble and it didn't quite work. With the lessons learned, it is clear that it is a viable method of building. I would be quite happy to try again with a good chance of success. We made mistakes. Too often pupils get the impression that everything in school always works. It certainly didn't this time! That must be a valid lesson. I now have acquired a collection of information and a list of contacts that would make success probable.


I would hope to try again. The help, support and encouragement we got from a wide variety of sources would have made it woth while. I must mention Treloweth Developments in Redruth for their help and material contributions, Graham builders Merchants and Western blocks for their super deals in materials and the University of Arizona, "Development Center for Alternative Technology" - Director David Eisenberg, for their advice and comments. If you want to try, get in touch. I can certainly advise and suggest expert contacts.† Bill Lamin †


Again, thanks to all and a special thanks to the pupils for their (almost) constant cheerfulness when things didn't go exactly right. Well done kids!

Some school publications

Click the front page to open the document

The Ghost of Rock - School production 1993

Written by Mike Brown (Drama teacher)

Misc Photos

Webcam snap of the ‘old site’ computer room - Room J

Third computer suite as it was being finished (2004/2005?)


- this is the former Lecture Theatre

Environment week 2001 -


Music group trip to Pirate FM

More environment week photos - 1998?

More random photos…


Mr Lamin trying to get to grips with the new digital camera

Mrs Cullis (Photocopier at the back of the old library)

Mrs Martin, Mrs Ruddock, Mrs Lloyd and Mrs Walters - school office staff

Mr Harris outside careers office (in between canteen and Room H, old site)

2x Pierre (library manager) in the old library

Mr Payne (Resources manager - in his photocopy room

2x Mr Clayton in old site ICT Suite (Room J)

Mr Creeper in old site ICT Suite (Room J)

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