Modern misery

2nd August 1996 at 01:00
I'm delighted that so many teachers enjoyed teaching in secondary modern schools (Gillian Harrison, TES, July 19). But what of the students?

My education has never recovered from my "failure"of the 11-plus in 1971. Even though many of us did emerge from secondary school with a thorough education, the blight of that failure lives on.

O-levels were not offered - we took CSEs or nothing - and school ended for us all at 16. Those who "passed" and went to grammar school took O-levels and stayed on for A-levels.

I went to night classes, made it to university as a mature student and now, finally, have a satisfying career in educational work on peace and non-violence. I work with people who recognise my skills rather than question my earlier "failures" in formal education. My CV reminds all employers who ask with incredulity why I had such a poor academic start. I know no one else from my school year who went to university. Yes, we should learn from educational history and not repeat my experience.

MARIGOLD S BENTLEY Education adviser Quaker Peace and Service 173-177 Euston Road, London NW1 (in a personal capacity)

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