Educated Burnley Grammar School and Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
1940-46 Signals Officer, RA FV R.
1946-49 Assistant Master, Watford Grammar School for boys.
1949-58 Assistant Master, Mill Hill School, London.
1958-81 Deputy Head, KES (Acting Head, Autumn Term 1965).

Married with four children, three of whom attended KES Sixth Form.

[Source: "Tha'll never gerr in theer ... "]

FLINKY and the Church of England

[By Chris Meakin, KES 55-62, March 2004]

There seems to be some retrospective confusion over the reason why Arthur Jackson, the school's deputy head from September 1958 for a long time thereafter, was known as Flinky. It's obvious. He flinked.

Specifically he had a nervous twitch in the muscles beneath his generous eyebrows which caused them to contract for time to time or, as the congoscenti would have it, flink. Anyway, by the time he began teaching me A level maths from 1959 onwards, which was only one year after he arrived at the school, Arthur Jackson was already definitely Flinky. It may be, in that lowly sixth form maths set (me, Mark Firth and a few others) we even coined it. Can't remember. It's more the kind of thing which Chris Mills or Phil Matthews, or the year above us, used to do.

I do remember struggling mightily with maths for those two A level years, staggering toward a modest C in July 1961, but that's not what matters. We used to have a double period of maths on Friday afternoons - the thought of it chills me now, over forty years on - for an interesting timetable reason. Mathematician Clapton had built his sixth form timetable round the reasonable assumption that four subjects  - Biology, Mathematics, History and Greek - would never clash in the same boy's A level selection, so they ran simultaneously in the timetable. And since the biologists really needed a double period to make any real headway, we all got double periods as well.

Those Friday afternoon double maths periods were an opportunity, grabbed by master and class alike, not to do any work. Flinky often just philosophised instead - some of the best general sixth form education I recall. One particular monologue has proved unforgettable, for it has governed my less than enraptured appreciation of the modern Church of England ever since.

Flinky was sympathising one particularly warm Friday with the way we really had to struggle with quadratic equations. "If it's any consolation," he explained "there are some quadratic equations which are nigh on impossible to solve. My sister is a researcher in mathematics at Cambridge, and one of her specialities is a particularly knotty and abstruse type of quadratic equation. In fact it is so abstruse that the only other person in the country who understands what she is on about is a Church of England vicar, whose private hobby those equations are.

"But he is a vicar educated in the old way, when the priest was purposely trained to be the wisest man in the village. He studied the real stuff - classics, philosophy and mathematics at university - none this superficial social worker stuff they teach them nowadays."

Just how many times in the decades since, I wonder, have I quietly prayed for a man in the pulpit, on the radio or on television (and worst of all on Radio 4's 'Thought for the Day' slot in the middle of the 'Listen Up All Of You, I'm John Humphries' Show) who has been properly educated in Flinky's Old Way?  Oh for a grown-up preacher able to observe humanity and then interpret it in a manner appealing to people in his congregation who are sentient, worldly and over 21. A preacher who even knows what quadratic equation means, or knows how to avoid an unsustainable value judgment, or appreciates the subtle distinction between Theos and Logos which alone explains what those amazing seventeen words at he  beginning of the Gospel according to St John really mean. No chance. They don't do Flinky's Old way any more.