Sinking feeling about a bright lad's future;News focus;Case study

17th April 1998 at 01:00
David Bryan is afraid of what the future holds for Kevin, his 11-year-old grandson. Kevin is bright - exceptionally so in maths - and recently sat the entrance exam for Bradford grammar.

Although he passed the maths with flying colours, he was let down by his English and verbal reasoning, which were weaker. Stephen Davidson, the school's headteacher, suggested Kevin retake that part of the exam in June.

However, he was doubtful whether there would be bursary money left to support Kevin should he succeed. He is the sort of lad, Mr Davidson explained, who would have definitely got in under the assisted places scheme. Kevin's father, a roofer, earns pound;7,000 a year; so paying for a place is out of the question.

Kevin's grandfather, aged 62, formerly a painter and decorator and now a Bradford University undergraduate, does what he can to support Kevin's studies at his middle school, but believes Bradford grammar would have offered an educational lifeline.

He said: "The lad lives on a sink estate and goes to a sink school, what future does he have? I don't blame the teachers but they're struggling with a mixed-ability class of 35 kids and they tend to let the clever ones get on with it. Kevin is bored and he's starting to get into trouble. He was very keen to sit the grammar school's entrance exam, I didn't push him. I don't think it offers a form of education that would suit every child and I'm not saying that Kevin is a genius but he's bright and quick and would have come on there. If we can't get him in I think he will lose his edge, he will not realise his potential.

"In an ideal world I would not be in favour of private schools but in practice we have to use them."

Kevin, he explained, was now very disheartened about re-sitting the exam. Mr Bryan said: "He's afraid that if he passes he won't be able to go anyway. I've had to be honest with him and tell him that we cannot afford to send him. I hope he will do it, just to be able to say that he passed. I think that would be good for him psychologically, but I don't really know."

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