T H U R S D A Y, 2 1 S E P T
Did stair duty. Had to tell off two little first-formers.
We had philosophy first, with Mr Weller (i.e. ‘Teddy Bear’). Honestly, I’ve never had such a boring lesson in my life. I was so looking forward to philosophy and he’s going to wreck it. He glares at you if you can’t answer one of his questions, and then picks on somebody by shouting “YOU”. He scares the daylights out of me, and the trouble is, he looks so bored.
Current Events was really super, we’ve got Mrs Evans. It is quite staggering the difference between a good teacher and a bad one. Somehow she catches the class's whole interest and imagination, it's marvellous. First we talked about the bi-elections this week but I really don't understand any of the 'majority' stuff, then we got onto comprehensive schools. It seems if you have enough streams they are the answer, but you’d need at least six because the IQs of secondary modern children range from 80 to 125, and grammar school children from 125 to 140. Or perhaps the whole idea is not to stream them in order of intelligence but just to mingle a whole lot of different types together.
In English she mostly talked about Desdemona. What people forget is, she is terribly young, about 14, but able to run a palace the size of Hampton Court. She has had moreorless no childhood.
We were given homework books today - we have to write down how much time we spend on what. It's really a very good idea and forced me to do 3.5 hours this evening! I also spent 1.5 hours on Polnareff. I added dark brown eye lids, and cut out an orange mouth for Anya to sew. He looks rather good, especially if you hide the chinless bit with the scarf. But what I’m really pleased about are the records – I made all five of them. Used cardboard from a Weetabix packet, covered it with black sticky paper and added a circle of blue in the middle! The holes were the hardest bit.
Traffic were on T.O.T.P. and there’s this chap who looks so staggeringly like Polnareff did before he dyed his hair fair that Chump and me can hardly believe it.
Light out at 12.
The '11-plus' used to divide children at the age of 11, sending one lot to grammar schools, from which they could apply for university, and the rest to secondary mods. In came the sixties, and a new awareness of the extraordinary wastage of ability among working-class children, especially girls. The pace of change was rapid and, between 1965 and 1975, the majority of state schools went comprehensive. The 11-plus is only used in counties that still offer selective schools.
"I sat the 11+ test in Yorkshire in 1958, and failed it. It was only some years later I knew why. It was really a sorting out of working class children from middle class children. That's why we were all asked prior to the test: 'What job does your father do?'' Luckily for me, I left the UK and came to Australia. It was here I applied for entry into a university and sat the entrance test, which I passed. I became an academic."