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Mr Benson by Johnny Ball

The children’s presenter was encouraged in his early love of maths by a teacher who inspired pupils so much, they begged for homework

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I went to school during and shortly after the war so I must admit my memories of Mr Benson at Kingswood Primary School in Bristol are vague. However, I do remember being seven-years-old and the whole class banging on their desks shouting: “We want homework. We want homework.” So he must have been doing something right. You didn’t get homework until you were nine, you see.

The paper-copying system then was awful– it produced pungent, oily sheets of paper – but he would go away and get pages copied of 100 simple sums. They smelt horrible but we took them eagerly. He said: “If you do 10, I’ll be ...

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