From caning to Cabinet

8th June 2007 at 01:00
"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).

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today