OK – so picture this. I went to (at the time) the only non fee paying girls grammar school in Manchester. To get there you didn’t have to have money, it wasn’t about your social class or who you knew (good job cos we knew no-one!!). All you had to do to get into this school was be bright. That’s it. You had to have brains – and score in the tope 60 of all the girls who took the exam. Yes – that’s right …..60!!!! We had 2 classes per year at 30 students per class. My God – I would KILL for an opportunity to send my kids to a school with 60 students per year – that I didn’t have to rob a small bank to pay for.
At this amazing school every child took and passed the majority of their O Levels _ yes I am that old. Most got 8, 9 or 10 grade A – C. The vast majority of those went on to do A levels and got 3 or 4. (In fact I don’t think I realised you could actually leave school at 16 and if I did I couldn’t contemplate why someone would rather go and work in a supermarket (which was the only summer job I could get). Most of the girls who did A levels went on to university – or if not they went into nursing or to teacher training college.
What this school taught us is that anything is possible for anyone. One of my friends who lived in a terraced house with an outside toilet next to the Old Man City ground (proper Coronation Street stuff), now lives in the south of France and teaches English as a foreign language – amongst other things. Another – who lived in a flat in MossSide with her brother and mother (who was a single parent) – is now a GP. And I – who remember living in a house so cold that there was ice on the inside of the windows when I woke up in the morning as a small child (sounds like a Monty Python sketch!!) – now run my own business and employ people. There are many many other success stories from the girls from Fallowfield High School for Girls. Why? Because we were taught that it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor – if you are clever, and you work hard to turn that into something sustainable, then you can achieve whatever you believe you can.
Do you know what happened to that amazingly fantastic school? One where the parents and children cared about the school enough to work hard, and fund raise enough money to build an entire music wing onto the original building. Do you know what happened to the years of hard work and dedication of pupils and students alike put in to continue the excellence that school nurtured?? They murdered it. Jealousy killed it stone dead.
The Labour led Manchester City Council hated that school. It was everything they though was wrong with the world. In their universe no-one should have an advantage over anyone else. Everyone should be brought down to the lost common denominator and how DARE these clever people have such a good school?? It was elitist. It wasn’t fair to the academically challenged !! So they shut it. Not only did they shut it, they demolished it and then sold the land to a developer who built a much needed housing estate.
And so died the only non fee paying grammar school in Manchester – and the class divide widened.
After that you could only go to a grammar if you were rich, or if you were one of the very small percentage of people who get a bursary. So – that’s obviously a lot better then!!
Numpties – all of them, raving looney numpties, with an inherent jealousy of anyone who has something they do not have like brains in this case. Of course if you have money, well there’s not a lot they can do about that (apart from try and tax you so much it really isn’t worth your while trying to earn a lot of money). But if you have brains and your grammar school is partly church and partly state funded – well they can do something about that for sure – they can withdraw their funding.
So – I was horrified today to read Nick Cleggs suggestions for making it easier for certain people to get into Uni. It should be easier for people to get into Uni – IF…..IF….they are clever enough. Just because you are poor – that doesn’t mean you should get into Uni with poorer grades than someone who is “middle class” or “rich”. I was “middle class” – still didn’t have central heating and woke up with ice on the inside of the window.
It brought back a lot of anger which I had obviously buried a long time ago. But please please please Nick Clegg – do us all a favour and stop creating rules for others that didn’t apply to you, and shouldn’t apply to anyone. Where you get in life should be entirely due to your ability, your work ethic and your desire to do it, and not to filling political quotas or getting an easy ride, or getting things handed on a plate which are not deserved.
Stop it….right now.