Death of former headmaster who spent his entire career at same Burnley school

A headteacher, who spent his career at the same Burnley school, has died at the age of 89.

By Susan Plunkett
Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 3:45 pm
Mr Gerry Martland, who was the headteacher at the former St Theodore's RC High School in Burnley, has died at the age of 89.
Mr Gerry Martland, who was the headteacher at the former St Theodore's RC High School in Burnley, has died at the age of 89.

Mr Gerry Martland was headmaster at the former St Theodore's RC High School for Boys for several decades. He retired in 1993.

Originally from Preston, Mr Martland moved to Burnley for his first teaching post at the former St Mary's High School, which was later to become St Theodore's, when the new school was built in Ormerod Road in 1962.

The school led the way in education with Mr Martland at the helm when, in 1967, 19 pupils formed the first A' level group and were housed in a pre-fab building in the grounds of the school.

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Mr Martland with Pauline, his wife of 56 years who was also a fellow teacher.

In 1973 a purpose built sixth form was erected and it was so overcrowded by 1979 that an extension had to be added.

Mr Martland was rightfully proud of what he described as a 'centre of excellence' which boasted 270 pupils, of both sexes, drawn from 14 local schools whose exam results were well in advance of the national average.

Sadly the sixth form was closed under the new Building Schools for the Future programme in 2004 and Mr Martland voiced his anger and disappointment at the time.

Throughout his career Mr Martland taught the classics and also General Studies to A'level students.

A charismatic figure who was well respected by colleagues and students he had a reputation for being 'firm but fair.'

Mr Martland was a member of the Catenian Association, a Roman Catholic lay society, and he rose to the rank of grand director. His membership enabled him to travel all over the world meeting fellow members.

Mr Martland, who completed his national service in the RAF, had been married to his wife, Pauline, a fellow teacher who spent the majority of her career at Park Hill Convent School, now St Joseph's, for 56 years. They met while teaching at the former St Mary's.

Along with his wife, Mr Martland leaves his sons, Chris and Mark, daughters-in-law Elaine and Alison, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

A funeral service for Mr Martland will be held on Thursday.