RMTF and Canon Collins
Last week, the Canon Collins Trust had the exciting job of informing the 2019 scholars for postgraduate study in South Africa that they would receive scholarships from the Trust. Ten of those scholarships are to be funded by the Ros Moger and Terry Furlong fund, who have been working with the Canon Collins Trust to provide scholarships since 2001, and who assisted in the selection process for the RMTF scholars.
In light of welcoming new scholars into the Canon Collins Trust family, John Richmond, Coordinator for RMTF, shared the below story of RMTF. and how our funders have come to support our scholarships programme:
“Ros Moger and Terry Furlong were British teachers of English. The values they shared, in a country with a less tumultuous recent history than South Africa’s, nonetheless echoed the vision of the Canon Collins Trust, and of all those who work to challenge and undermine injustice, to bring freedom and equality of opportunity to those who have been denied these rights.
Both Ros and Terry died young: Ros in 1999 and Terry in 2002. Here is some information about them, and about the work they did.
Ros was born in Wiltshire in 1949. Her parents ran a farm in the village of Bratton. Ros went to the village school until she was eleven, when she was awarded a scholarship to the High School in Trowbridge, the local town. From there she went to University College, London to study history, although her passion was always the study of English. After completing her degree in London, she became a Slater Fellow and went to Wellesley College in Boston, USA to study for a year. (Another notable student at Wellesley at the time was Hillary Rodham, later Hillary Rodham Clinton, the US Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013 and the Democrats’ candidate in the US presidential elections in 2016.) Ros loved her stay in America and developed life-long friendships there, returning often and introducing friends from the UK to her new friends in the US.
Back in England, Ros completed her Post-Graduate Certificate of Education and went to teach English at Countesthorpe School in Leicestershire. She returned to studying and completed her Master’s degree in education at Exeter University. From there she went to teach at Kidbrooke School in Greenwich, south London. Her work at Kidbrooke introduced her to other young progressive teachers who were passionate about literacy and about teaching inner-city students, many of whom came from socio-economically poorer families.
Along with others, Ros started an influential magazine for teachers called Teaching London Kids. She went from Kidbrooke to advise London teachers at the English and Media Centre in the Inner London Education Authority. This was a formative period for her; she realised that training teachers to teach creatively was really her strength. She was appointed Senior Teacher at Plumstead Manor School, where gender in education and the underachievement of working-class students became interests she would pursue for the rest of her life.
Ros then went to Enfield in north London to be the English Adviser. She made a great impact on the teachers in that borough. From there she moved to South Camden Community School as Deputy Head, then to the University of North London, where she set up a Post-Graduate Certificate of Education course in English. She moved again to the University of Greenwich to manage its secondary-school PGCE programme. Whilst working at the University of North London, Ros started another Master’s degree, this time at the Tavistock Clinic. This degree was awarded posthumously. Ros was planning to start a doctorate at the University of North London at the time of her death.
Ros was a great lover of the countryside and the natural world. She also loved living in a vibrant city. She was passionate about theatre, books and poetry and the impact that they have on students’ learning. She had planned to go to Africa in the last two years of her working life to work for Voluntary Service Overseas. She was never able to realise this ambition.
Terry was born in Cardiff in 1942 and brought up there. He excelled academically at Cardiff High School, where he began to study for A-levels in physics, chemistry and maths before switching to English, French and German. Between 1962 and 1966, he took his first degree, in English, at King’s College, London. After experimental starts to his career, in advertising and as a chef, he turned to teaching.
His first job was at Spencer Park School, in south-west London, from where he went to Holland Park School in west London in 1973, remaining there until 1986. Holland Park was then one of the most famous comprehensive schools in Britain. Terry was Head of English, and later Head of the Faculty of Languages and Humanities. He then became English Adviser for the London Borough of Brent. When he left Brent in 1994, he set up his own educational consultancy, which he ran until he died.
Terry had a huge influence on the reform of school examinations in English. He was also Chair of the National Association for the Teaching of English and of the International Federation for the Teaching of English. After he left Holland Park as a teacher, he became Chair of the school governors there.
Terry was a major force in English teaching in the United Kingdom for 35 years. He had a passionate desire to make the English curriculum more relevant to children’s lives; to introduce them to a broader range of literature than before, including literature by African, Caribbean and Asian writers; to inspire children to be makers and shapers of language, and therefore of their lives. He had a particular concern to improve the achievement of children from working-class backgrounds, and of those whose families had come to Britain from other parts of the world.
After Ros’s death, a group of her friends and her partner founded a scholarship fund in her name. Terry was a member of the group. When he died only three years later, the remaining members of the group founded a second scholarship fund in his name. The combined Ros Moger/Terry Furlong fund is administered by the Canon Collins Trust, part of whose mission since the liberation of South Africa in 1994 has been to enable students in southern Africa, who could not otherwise have afforded to enter or to continue in higher education, to pursue their studies at universities in South Africa.
Most of the funding for scholarships comes from small regular payments made by contributors in the UK. There have also been occasional large contributions from a charitable foundation in the US and from individual donors. The small group of friends and former partners of Ros and Terry continues to fund-raise and to choose the scholars who will benefit from the scholarships every year. Most years, a member of the group goes to South Africa to take part in the selection process. Since the foundation of the scholarships in 2001, the funds have supported the studies of about 120 students from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Lesotho, Rwanda, Malawi, Swaziland, Angola, Namibia and Mozambique.”
‘You would not know what your financial contribution means to students such as myself. It opens doors and learning opportunities that we, otherwise, would not have. It has a profound impact on our lives.’ Venicia Smith, scholar
John Richmond, London, November 2018