From caning to Cabinet

"I was a well-behaved child," Alan Johnson told The TES this week, but he was caned at both his junior and grammar schools.

However, it was not all bad. The future Education Secretary was encouraged not only to read but to write stories by Peter Carling, who taught English at Sloane grammar.

But perhaps his greatest influence was his mother, who made sure that he and his older sister Linda enrolled at Ladbroke Grove public library and who insisted Alan attend the distant grammar school, not the nearby secondary modern .

"We were a working class household without books, but we had the library,"

he said.

Read about Mr Johnson's schooldays on page 8 of this week's TES magazine.

(We have inadvertently identified the wrong child in this feature. The young Education Secretary is immediately to the right of the boy circled in the photograph on page 10).

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