A PIONEERING headmaster who took Rotherham Grammar School into a new era as a college has died aged 93.
Arthur Prust, who was the first principal of Thomas Rotherham College for 14 years after being appointed in 1966 to oversee the transition from school to college, died at Rotherham Hospital on July 2 after a short illness.
His daughter Elizabeth Kemp said the concept of sixth form colleges was new at his appointment and TRC was only the second such college to be established in the country.
“As a pioneer in sixth form education, many of my father’s ideas and innovations have been used as a blue print for the numerous sixth form colleges now established around the country,” she said.
Mr Prust was born in Castleford in West Yorkshire in 1923 and as a baby he moved to Scarborough with his family.
His childhood was spent, along with his younger brother, in a very modest home in the town centre of Scarborough.
He attended Gladstone Road primary school and from there he gained a scholarship to Scarborough High School for Boys.
It was at the High School that Arthur’s love of learning really flourished and his outstanding academic ability was soon recognised.
From there he gained a place to read Modern Languages at Queen’s College, Oxford.
The Second World War intervened and instead of taking his place straight after school, he enlisted on the Royal Air Force.
He served in the Royal Air Force from 1943 to 1946, training as a Navigator-Bomb Aimer and obtaining the rank of Flying Officer.
On release in 1946 he took up his place at Oxford to read French and German.
On graduating in 1949, he took a Diploma in Education, also at Oxford, and obtained a post at Wallasey Grammar School, where, in addition to teaching French and German, he coached the Boat Club, having taken up rowing at Oxford.
In 1959, he took up the post as Head of Modern Languages at Heaton Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, and subsequently became Deputy Headmaster, before moving to Rotherham.
Ms Kemp said: “My father will be well remembered in Rotherham for his contribution to secondary education.
“He was influential in the lives of so many young people and was always deeply committed to the role education plays in everyone's lives.
“He had an extraordinarily active academic mind and could recall an astounding amount of detail about all sorts of subjects, especially anything to do with languages, history or literature.
“Indeed at the age of 90 he decided to start studying medieval Spanish.
“His quick wit and kindness earned him many friends throughout his life and he was a much-adored husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.”
Mr Prust was due to give an address at TRC’s 50th anniversary celebrations in September. His funeral will be held at Rotherham Crematorium next Thursday at 11.15am.
Donations in lieu of flowers should be made to the RNLI Scarborough branch.
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