So Mrs May has decided were going back to the Grammar School era to help with social mobility ?
I was a Grammar School Girl back in the 70s , most kids got huge gifts and much acclaim from their families if they passed their 11 plus , My mothers response ?
"Do you know how much the uniform costs ?"
Thus began several weeks of arguments between my parents , my dad was solidly working class to the core, a Labour man who had missed his chance to go to Grammer School due to his dad doing a runner , he wanted me to go . But my mother just got more and more angry at wasting "her " money on the damned uniform . The rows just got more and more unpleasant , it go to the realms of her screaming at me that she supposed that I had done this just to spite her , because I didnt have the looks to find a decent man to support me .
My dad eventually won by just not moving an inch whatever vileness she spewed , he funded the uniform , I dread to think how and off i went to the other end of town and another world . Congleton Girls Grammar , long demolished and replaced with yet another identikit middle class housing development .
To say i was a square peg in a round hole was an understatement , I just didnt fit in so many ways, but ive never fitted , these days i would have been statemented . As everyone says , im just like my dad , a man who believed in the Workers Education programme , read endlessly but was a proper working class male of his time .
Mrs Sproson stuck in my mind forever , that woman hated me with a vengeance , she was our French teacher and was French married to an Englishman , she just spent her time sending me to repetition and detention , mainly because I informed her I saw little point in learning a language that had no relevance in the modern world .
The super bright kids were streamed up to learn Latin and Greek the rest off us just toddled along , Im quite sure we had a staffroom like no other , Miss Maynard our maths teacher seemed to spend a lot of her time weeping in the store cupboard , I did hear she eventually married and grew a spine .
Miss Foukes , scary Domestic Science teacher , she seemed to think learning to clean a cooker correctly was akin to a Nobel Prize , I still have a filthy cooker by her standards , so that was time wasted . Mrs Fanshaw stereotypical 70s teacher , with a trendy bob and little car and endless enthusiasm , in fact she was the only teacher i ever got along with . Mr Mitchell a very strange bloke who seemed to be terrified of women , yet was teaching in a girls school? There was the history teacher who hated me for knowing more about history than she did and the fact that i got 100% in my end of term exams despite never doing a stroke of coursework . I was good at the sciences , hopeless at music and the arts . I think a lot of my problems back then were that i get a bit obsessive about a subject and learn it to death but if I see no point in it , its not going in my head whatever the punishment .
I think I saved the best till last , Miss Wilkie our headmistress . Scary lady, drove a little car like a mental midget , wore tweed trouser suits and smoked endless fags , usually had one of her cats draped around her , they came to school each day in the car . She taught us English Grammar , we were all terrified Back then we hadnt heard of lesbians but she was was i think very asexual, very educated and a bit of a man hater . She actually resigned on the day she was told the school was going to become a comprehensive , with boys!
I think I baffled her , by then my mother was "a bolter" so it was just me and my somewhat baffled father , who had to have endless meetings with her about my behavior . I was the first child to have divorced parents and the first to see a psychologist , but i was the second to be asked to leave . The first having been my cousin who was the only girl ever to get pregnant .
So do I support Grammar School education ? Not really , a good school is a good school . there could be much more equality within the schooling system than there presently is . The current educational lottery system for senior schools serves no purpose , the wealthy will always get the schools they want . Probably the best educational move would be to issue senior school teachers with tasers , fear was the one thing that kids understood , the truly scary teachers always had the best results . Streaming kids works , it doesnt need to have the label of Grammar schools stuck on it , every kid has potential , just not with how many A grades they score, which sadly is all they are judged on .