Rachel lives in New York City with her husband, their two sons, and a tortoise named Lightning. Now a full-time writer, he has also worked in journalism, in publishing and as a bookseller.
Crown copyright Michael Rosen and Emma-Louise Williams explain the background to their website, Sec Modwhich is collecting memories of education at secondary modern schools in Britain. I came to this subject in several ways: At the time this seemed odd.
She explained to me several years later that that is what primary school headteachers did. They had the ultimate say-so on who would pass.
On the first day of Year One, I saw her in her grammar school uniform. The two other streams were for the least able pupils. I neither wanted to be a nurse we had been shown around the local hospital to see tape worms in jars, etc or work in an office.
I suppose I must have plumped for the office option as I remember sitting at a desk with a typewriter.
As a young mother in my early twenties I studied with the Open University. Thank God for Jenny Lee! My parents were active in the movement to bring about comprehensive education. So, for many years I have been curious about what went on at the schools where some of my friends went, what happened to them after they left, how they view the relationship between their schools, their later lives, people who passed and so on.
Miss Williams says that only the top two rows will pass their Eleven Plus. She stands next to the last person on the end of the second row. She holds up her hand as if she is helping people cross the road. This side will pass, she says. This side will fail, she says.
My dad failed the plus. When I was a child, I remember him telling us that when his younger brother passed the exam, he got a bike. He went to a sec mod in Kenton, Harrow, left at fifteen to go to technical college.
He became an apprentice, a draughtsman, ran his own business and is now a specialised form of surveyor. I have never thought of him as being less able or less skilled than anyone else, but I wonder how he perceives himself.
I should add that my experience of studying in Germany in the late s showed me that people pursuing technical and vocational courses were valued as much as my German friends following more academic courses.
My mum came from a working-class family her father worked on the tugs on the River Thames and she passed the plus and went to grammar school in I went to a comprehensive school. This one family history expresses an intersection of some of the themes running through post-war English education.
Education is an aspect of our collective past that seems strangely absent from narratives about how we have lived.
Missing from either is a sense of what it was collectively like to have experienced a particular kind of schooling.
The two exceptions are accounts of life in the large private schools and, more recently, stories of life in the grammar schools of the s and 60s.
In themselves, there is of course nothing wrong with these, but highly selective view of the past has led to the construction of a particular ideology on the back of these stories: Both these ideas can be contested.
Post-war grammar school education was in many places seriously deficient in how it approached science and technology, and the education of the working class cannot be told in its entirety as a story of what happened to those working-class children who found their way into grammar schools.
However, the major gap in all this is the story of the secondary modern school. This divided schools in to grammar, technical and secondary modern. In their last year at primary school, when the children were aged ten-eleven, all children in state schools would sit an exam, which came to be known as the plus, which would decide the type of school that the children would go to.
The exams consisted of three elements:Unlike other conferences, the New York Pitch analyzes the novel, trains writers how to pitch it, and even provides pre-event studies for purposes of clarification and enlightenment.
Tonight at the usual venue we are having one of our always excellent Workshop nights, so feel free to come down and exercise your creative juices. ADVANCED DEPTH WORKSHOP Learn even more ways to keep your readers from ever leaving your stories. Requirement: You must have already taken the Depth Online Workshop to take this one.
All subject-relevant writers get notified about your order.
Available writers submit their proposals. Next time your child asks you to read a story, tell her that today you want her to tell you a story instead.
Use one of these Young Writers Workshop pages to help her get started. Discover the truth aboutWriters Bureau - revealing review of course to learn how to set up a profitable home business as a freelance writer.