Wednesday, 7 March 2012
1. I was from a single parent family and my mother and I moved around a great deal. I went to 11 different infant and primary schools. I don't actually remember taking my 11+. What I do remember was being called to the girls grammar school for an interview because I was '' borderline" the interview was terrifying. Four very stern women kept asking me what I wanted to do when I left school. I was really very uncertain but thought I might want to be a teacher!
2. That was obviously the wrong answer. I remember a letter coming addressed to my mother. She opened it in my presence, and I learnt I had failed to achieve a place at the girls grammar because 'I was uncertain about my long term future, and what I wanted to be' I felt angry having got to an interview and then being rejected, but even then I knew deep down a girls grammar was not for me. No one in my family had ever got beyond secondary modern school so why should I be any different? was the thought going through my head.My family were not bothered one way or the other.
3. My first experience of secondary school was perhaps different from many because at the time my junior school extended into a secondary school. Therefore all of my friends who had been with me at junior school moved through with me.I enjoyed those two years, and felt my learning experience was a good one. However 2 years into my secondary school, the school became junior only and I ended up at an all girls secondary modern. I hated it. That settled. I became a prefect, and two years after that I moved again at the age of 15 to the local technical college to take my GCSE's followed by A levels. The four years there were some of the most formative of my life.
4. One thing I do remember in my first secondary school was that the local weekly paper ran an essay writing competition, and we were encouraged to send in essays, for which the winning one got 2shillings and six pence! I got rich on that. I also remember that you sat in the class according to your ability, so as the teacher faced the class,in the first desk on her left hand side sat the brightest pupils whilst in the bottom right hand corner sat the 'least bright' I remember being in the middle because I was hopeless at maths. It was very intimidating.Your places were read out at the beginning of the week. The other thing that was intimidating was that if you received free school meals your name was read out on a separate register. There was always separatism in relation to free school meals. Even at college we were given meal tickets and had to stand in separate queues.
5.The expectations of me were not made clear till I went to college. At my first two secondary schools I was left to drift. Goodness knows how I actually got to sit the entrance exam to go to college, because my secondary school finished at 15 and that was it. At college I remember being encouraged to take A levels and in my first year I applied to university to do sociology and social administration after A levels. My law lecturer nearly persuaded me to change to law saying that I would never get into sociology after a secondary education, but I stuck to my guns and even though I had 5 rejections in a week from my chosen universities, I eventually got an offer of a two Bs and and a C from Newcastle
6. I left my secondary education with 6 O levels and three A levels, two As and a B. My friend called round to tell me he had got three B's and I was ecstatic for him, but he embarrassingly relalised I hadn't got mine, so he told me. I had the best results of the college. I was ecstatic!!!! But I had to work for it. It didnt come easy. My mother spent the summer telling friends I hadnt got the grades to go to teacher training college, my initial career choice, I had to go to university instead.