Nobody prepared for Entrance Exams or 11+ in 1977 or the experiences that were to follow.
Of course, it did help if you were bright and listened at school. In those days Grammar Schools didn’t warn parents about over tutoring. Times were different. So it was a level playing field..
I wasn’t to know it in June that I would have to survive in a pit with snakes, vipers and poisonous spiders when September arrived, but survive I did.
On the bus at 7:30 wearing a “posh” blazer, trying to avoid other schools in height of the hooligan age was virtually impossible. I wasn’t even a fast runner, or a fighter!
Everything seemed like a haze. What was this crazy world where days were numbered one to six, not Monday to Friday?We studied subjects such as Latin, Classical Studies, Technical Drawing and Woodwork. Football was only permitted at break, we were the Rugby Union champions of Manchester and games lessons reflected this. The trick was to cover yourself in mud before the the long limp to the showers and allow someone else be the grungy sacrifice.
I learnt very quickly that teachers were nicknamed “Snapper”, “Doco” and “Bully Bates” for very good reasons. Each teacher seemed to be armed with a weapon of their choice from smelly, ripped slippers to air slicing canes. Innumerable punishments were dished out for terrible crimes such as walking down the wrong side of a corridor or allowing a pencil to trickle off a table.
Predictably when troubled flared between rival classes, or a game of “Scrag”was howled in the overcrowded, ball invested playgrounds, there wasn’t a cane or rancid slipper in sight. With only one small gate and an eight foot metal fence there was nowhere to run.
Those days were the last remnants of a truly terrible age.
Nobody prepared for Entrance Exams or 11+ in 1977.
But we were expected to achieve and most of us did in one way or another.