Anthony Hoskyns, teacher ‘utterly devoted’ to his pupils

'He had this passion for taking on authority if there was wrong going on'

Friday, 22nd January 2021 — By Harry Taylor

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Anthony Hoskyns with Tony Remy

TRIBUTES have been paid to a pioneering physics teacher described as “utterly determined” to help his pupils and credited with giving disadvantaged students more confidence to succeed.

Anthony Hoskyns, who died from cancer aged 88 last month, has been remembered for his long service at William Collins School in Somers Town – now Regent High.

In the 1980s he established a national group of Information Technology Centres, helping to give people with few qualifications a way into careers in electronics and IT.

He also helped to launch the first women’s microelectronics course at a time when most involved in IT and electronics were male, and the first black technology organisation, Minorities Information Technology Awareness Group.

Mr Hoskyns’ inclination to go against the grain came to the fore after he arrived at the school in Charrington Street in 1967: his new, more practical teaching methods were contrary to the standard theory-heavy approach of the day. A group of older teachers at the school were initially sceptical, but exam results improved.

Tim Hague, a former colleague, said: “The problem was that he was utterly determined and devoted to the kids. “He was a maverick in a good sense, but irritating to some others. He had a number of good friends on the staff, but a number of others were quite Luddite.”

Anthony Hoskyns

Mr Hoskyns’ love of music was another way pupils warmed to him. He arranged a school disco and also set up a loaning library for records.

According to ex-pupil David Bailey MBE, he was keen to embrace “black music” at the time.

“You have to understand, at that point you’re in an educational environment where it’s pretty harsh and pretty racist,” said Mr Bailey. “It was all about having representation – and that came from people like Anthony.”

Jazz guitarist Tony Remy, 58, said: “I was in the third year at school and I had some trouble with the police, and I really noticed that he’d taken me under his wing. He made me join Camden Youth Centre – he gave me my first job there teaching the flute.

“He knew my upbringing and he noticed that I had some talent and I wasn’t too bad academically, so he always pushed me. You could ask him anything, you could go to him. I’ll remember him as someone who was massively important in my life, and a real big light for me to follow.”

Mr Hoskyns was known for covering the cost of school trips for pupils who couldn’t afford them and arranging ambitious activities. On one occasion a group were dispatched to Brands Hatch to help time races as part of a practical lesson.

He left in 1983 and formed the Nottingdale Technology Centre and later founded the London New Technology Network in St Pancras Way. His rebellious spirit was apparent at an earlier age.

His daughter, Jane-Frances Hoskyns, said: “He had this passion for taking on authority if there was wrong going on.”

On leaving school in 1950 Mr Hoskyns joined the British Army, serving first in Germany and later in the Korean War.

Ms Hoskyns said: “He defied orders in order to protect the people he was responsible for and he really went against the authorities.”

Outside of work, Mr Hoskyns was a fervent Arsenal fan, socialist and a member of the Labour Party – and he played 1930s songs on his piano.

Ms Hoskyns said: “He’d wait for us to get ready to go out, and he’d be there with his keys on top of the piano, playing away while waiting.”

He is survived by his wife Katharine Kaldor, who he married in 1958, children Jane-Frances, Teresa and Nicholas, and three grandchildren.

The family are raising money for music courses in Nicaragua, where Mr Hoskyns’ son lives and he visited several times.

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