Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Grammar schools?

During all discussions on Grammar versus Comprehensive I have to admit to some ambivalence. I have taught in comprehensive schools. But I attended a grammar school!
Passing the eleven plus heralded my first big battle with my parents.
When the letter arrived one Saturday morning in 1948 to say that I had passed and could go to the local grammar school I was amazed and pleased...
My parents were not. My mother insisted that I could not go. My father also believed that there was only enough money to send my brother because he was a boy!
Thus was a future woman's libber born!
The row as to whether I should go or not went on for a week. I felt very hard done by...and appealed to the grandad who had brought me up during the war.
He said I should go. My mum said there was no point..I would go in the mill like every other local girl....as far as she was concerned that was the end of the discussion.
Eventually I did go!
The school still had a sprinkling of fee paying girls and my years there were fairly unhappy ....but I did get an education. I learned many things as well as the subjects on the curriculum but I shall always be grateful for the teaching.
It allowed me to go to training college eventually. But my parents worst suspicions and fears were realised.
I definitely grew too big for my boots!
And the resentment of the attitude of my parents never really went away I'm afraid!
But as a small child I had taught myself to read long before I went to school...and as I grew a sort of hunger for knowledge grew in me which the grammar school fed admirably!
I am not sure I want to go back to those days but for me the grammar school was a life line that I have always been grateful for!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


PixieMum said...

All through primary school my parents were told I would pass the 11+ exam. but I didn't. Fortunately I went to an excellent secondary modern, in the top class with all the other girls who also had been expected to pass. Most of us had our birthdays in the Autumn term, we would have been penalised in the exam for being the oldest in our year. We were fortunate in having an inspired teacher, shades of Miss Jean Brodie, who was determined we would as far as possible have as good an education as those girls in the grammar school, we did and most went on to successful careers. Many of us are in touch still, when we meet it is we were back in room 2 of the long demolished building.
The classes were streamed, we had the best teachers, it was talk and chalk with plenty of facts which have been so useful at quiz evenings.

Jean Rolt said...

I'm glad you had a good experience....my first sec mod school as a teacher had eight streams of boys.... It was a very steep learning curve!