Author Topic: Schools - long  (Read 2896 times)

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Miss Vertigo

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Re: Schools - long
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2011, 07:02:15 AM »
Going back a long way and I'm not sure I ever paid much attention so this may be inaccurate, but it's what I remember.

UK, south west.

Started roughly aged 3.5 in 1975 in 'playschool' - remember nothing about this.

Age 4-7 - very strict private school. Hated it. Spelling and times tables and being forced to eat school dinners and that sort of thing. This school took all pupils up to age 11, which at the time was the cut off age for going to what I assume Americans would call 'high school'; here, it's 'secondary education'. Left at 7 after begging my parents to let me go to the 'ordinary' school.

7-11 (79-83) - Junior School. Wide range of subjects, projects, etc, split into 4 years. In the 4th year at age 11 we took the '11-plus' exam which was a general test to decide your level of knowledge and therefore where you'd go in your secondary education. If you passed, you went to the Grammar school. If you failed it was the local Secondary Modern which at the time was seen as a lesser institution, academically. I passed and went to the local Grammar school. As I understand it this is now less common and Comprehensives are more widespread.

11-16 (83-88) - Grammar.  Pupils separated by age in years 1-5. For the first 3 years we covered a wide range of subjects, off the top of my head: English language, English lit, maths, geography, history, biology, chemistry, physics (in the second year: for the first year we just had what was called 'General Science'), french, RE, PE, music, woodwork, domestic science (home economics now, I think), computer studies (at the time in its infancy).  Re woodwork/dom sci - this is going back far enough that the class was split into boys and girls. For the first six months the boys did woodwork and the girls did dom sci, then it was reversed for the second half of the year.

At the end of the third year at age 14, we had to pick our 'options', ie, the subjects we wanted to study for the next two years at GCSE level for our exams. (GCSE stands for 'General Certificate of Secondary Education.) Maths and English were compulsory. From the rest you had to pick at least one language (you could also do German, but it was a bit of a gamble, because it wasn't studied in the first 3 years), at least one science, one humanity (geog or history) and a selection of the rest - I can't remember the criteria - so that we were studying for 9 GCSEs. There were some that clashed, so it ended up that you couldn't do both geography and history, or something. I took the following: English language, English Lit, Maths, Geography, Biology, Music, RE, French, German and ended up with 9 passes at grades A-C.

Final grades were awarded on a mixture of coursework (a number of assignments had to be completed over the two years) and the final exam, but I can't remember the percentage split. It was different for each subject, and as I recall, maths was 100% based on the final exam.

We also still had to do PE (urgh) while studying our GCSE subjects. Classes were segregated. At our school, the girls did tennis, outdoor swimming, athletics and netball in the summer, and hockey, indoor swimming and cross country running in the winter. One memorable year saw an experiment with Country Dancing which we all just laughed at, and what at the time was called PopMobility. Aerobics, in essense. I think the boys did rugby and football in the winter and cricket and tennis in the summer.

At some point during the last two years we had PSME - Personal, Social and Moral Education. I don't remember much about this - probably because I paid *no* attention due largey to my enormous and hideously inappropriate crush on the teacher - but I'm sure it included sex ed, careers education, interview techniques and the like. 'How to live in the real world' stuff.

At 16, after GCSEs (1988 for me), you decided whether you wanted to stay on into the 'sixth form' and do your A-Levels - a more intensive version of the GCSE subjects in which you picked three subjects to study at a higher level - or leave school and either go to

a) the local college, which offered courses that ecompassed different subjects at a higher level (for example, the business studies course that I did encompassed A-level politics, A-level business studies, AS level sociology and a secretarial component.) The choice offered was more vocational than traditional sixth form A-levels: courses included drama studies and performance art, tourism, bricklaying and building, chef courses - all sorts of stuff, mostly geared towards the local economy which was very tourism based

b) into some kind of apprenticeship scheme. At the time the government sponsored Youth Training Scheme was popular and offered by employers who were reimbursed for the expense - young people got paid a low wage of about 30 a week to be trained for 2 years in a trade of their choosing, usually with a day-release to the college for the academic side of it, or

c) into employment.

For those who stayed on at school to do A-Levels, you did this for two years until you were 18 and whether or not you went on to university was dependent on your results. You would apply and have your interview and be offered a preliminary place subject to your grades reaching the standard. You could also go to 'polytechnic', which was a sort of lesser-university, but now they're seen as equals (if they even still exsit these days). I don't remember if you could go on to uni after the local college, since I picked the wrong course, hated it, and bailed after 6 months.

ETA: We wore uniforms for all the schools except for sixth-form and college. Junior school had summer and winter uniforms. Grammar school was a navy skirt, white shirt, school tie and cardigan/blazer - if you had the blazer you had the school badge sewn onto the breast pocket. The girls weren't allowed to wear trousers in my day, but they are now. We also had separate uniforms for PE. A short pleated skirt that pinned at the front, an aertex shirt (like a polo shirt) and the infamous 'gym knickers' - navy blue full coverage granny knickers with a white stripe down each side and that were easily visible because of the shortness of the gym skirt. They are exactly as hideous as they sound.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2011, 07:33:27 AM by Miss Vertigo »