Grammar Schools

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 4th August 2016

I do hope Theresa May reverses the ban on new Grammar Schools.

I am not an academic - I'd call myself more of a plodder but a hard worker - and I passed my 11+ well enough to be offered a place at Christ's Hospital.  According to my father - (an ordinary working soldier who scraped together the £4 a term to send me to a private Convent School in Charlton) - because we lived in an LCC district (London County Council) and he had 'paid' for me to go privately, that disbarred me from the Public School Bursary.  However I did get a grant and attended St. Joseph's Convent in Abbey Wood.  The nuns left a long time ago and it is now sadly apartments.

At St. Jo's we girls were from all walks of life - a Docker's daughter and another whose family ran a market stall in Beresford Market in Woolwich alongside the daughters of professionals.The school was not huge and I cannot remember how many pupils they had but I do know, as the daughter of divorced parents and very much at sea with life, I got care and attention which would have been impossible in a large comprehensives.  And had my father had to pay the fees, there is no way I could have attended that school.  We were not poor but there was no money sloshing around.  (I had my school uniform and one best dress for the weekends, we always had good nutritional food but no extras and sweets were on ration - but we never felt hard done to because everyone was in the same boat after the war. The only way was up - we respected our elders and were disciplined)

Why does everything have to be dumbed down. I think it is wonderful that our country really cares and looks after those who are less able but why must the more able be penalised.   In my day if you were reasonably academic you went to a Grammar School, technically minded and you went to a Tech. College and if you showed neither ability you went to a Secondary Modern - but everyone had their role/place - it was Horses for Courses.   You were guided along the paths best suited to your ability.  To be in a situation where you are always striving to keep up is damaging.  Tony Blair's idea of sending 50% of pupils to University is plain daft - many attend and do 'nonsense' degrees which will not equip them for a job or for life.  And employers are not stupid. I have met many people who work with their hands who are far more affluent than the academics if all that matters to you is 'money'.  

The world has changed dramatically in the last 50 years.  In the UK we've lost so much of our manufacturing which along with mining fell foul of cheap competition from emerging nations, and so much is now IT based.  We have a growing population but what will they do for work?  So much is now being done 'on-line' or by robots.  I feel we should be giving youngsters a much more rounded education - an education for life so that they appreciate the good things in life which are free.  In this country we are blessed with so many wonderful Museums, Art Galleries, Historic Buildings - places to enjoy and refresh the 'soul'.  We live in such a materialistic society that we have no time 'to smell the flowers' - not sure where that line came from but I'm sure you know what I mean.  

I know I am now  'a grumpy old woman' but somewhere in the last 50 years, we have lost our 'Soul'.

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