Wrong School, an 11+ Mistake?

We did get the letter about the school but Mam said that they must have got it wrong. They said I was going to Southwell but we never put down Southwell.
It all started one day near Easter at the Junior School (Hardwick Street Juniors if you know it) when they said that we had to do a test that afternoon but not to worry because it was only a practice.

Next week it was the 11plus for real. Some of the questions were easy and some really hard. One said ‘if it took 6 men to dig a hole in 2 hours how long would it take….? Pete from up the street said that they all worked for the council and his dad said that they never dug more than one hole a day anyway. But it seemed to be OK since we got a letter saying that I had passed to go to the Grammar School.

Mam and Dad were really pleased because my brother Brian was the clever one (he went to Brunts in Mansfield you know) and nobody expected me to pass, but I had done. The letter wanted to know which school to go to. Easy, Brunts like my brother Brian, but what about the second choice. That was also easy; QUEGS (Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Mansfield) because it was good as well and lots of kids went there. My Aunty Alice said not to bother with the third choice since only ‘border liners’ had to go there and that they would send me to the same school as Brian because they always did. So we didn’t fill in the third choice.

Well then the other letter came and it said that I had got a grammar school pace at Southwell Minster Grammar School or SMGS as it was know then. The Aunts and Uncles had never really heard of Southwell and no one had really been their except someone had one been to Eakring and they said that was nice although there was an oil well in the woods but that wasn’t as bad as the local Kirkby pit tips.

Mam went to see the local education man to get it sorted out. The man said that it was right and that I got to Southwell because I was a borderline pass and that Southwell had some places left after the cleverer kids had got there choices.

After a while our Brian said that he had heard that Southwell wasn’t bad but that hey did play rugby, which no one could understand. The kid, from the bottom street, appeared to go to Southwell and he said that they had a tuck shop. Aunt Lily said that the blazers looked very nice which did not cheer me up in the slightest.

Apparently the man from the education department said that I was lucky, as some kids had been sent to Newark Magnus last year. Now that would have been really ridiculous.

For those who have never taken the eleven plus of the fifties or those who want to have another go follow the link to eleven plus papers.