On Grammar Schools

Angela Topping

On Grammar Schools


In 1966, my class was told we were going to do a test. I think we had a good idea what it was for. It tested three types of intelligence, though I later found out there were a lot more. Later, we had letters from the local authority, telling us we had passed – a total of six, out of the 56 girls in our year. I was very relieved, because I’d heard the local secondary modern was ‘rough’, and as a kid with specs who always had her nose in her book and was terrible at sports, I knew I’d be on the receiving end of some nastiness. So thankfully, I set off for grammar school, in a city 12 miles away from my home town, with a briefcase and a tie, feeling like the world was at my feet.

Even at 11, I felt the…

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