City Grammar - Analysis - Christopher Bird

Streaming and Examination Performance

An analysis of the relationship between ability grouping and GCE examination success at Sheffield City Grammar School in the 1950s

By Christopher Bird (May 2005)

Sheffield City Grammar School was a co-educational grammar school from when it was first officially recognised as a secondary school in 1936 to when it became a comprehensive school in 1969. In the 1950s, it was a four form entry school, and its pupils were streamed according to their general ability (see ‘HM Inspectors Report on the School – March 1954’, on the school website). First year streaming was done on the basis of the ‘eleven plus’ selection examination – while the top two forms (‘upper section’) took the top quarter and next quarter of the order of merit of the 11-year-old entrants, the division into the two forms in the ‘lower section’ was done either by gender (i.e. by creating two single-sex classes), alphabetically or by some other non-academic criteria (e.g. randomly). The pupils were regraded at the end of the first year (in order to provide a more accurate allocation), with the streams continuing as before (except that a few pupils from the ‘lower section’ wishing to do music may be placed in one of the two forms). In the second year, Latin became an option for pupils in the ‘upper section’, which at that point was also divided into ‘sets’ in each of the main subjects. In the fourth year, the two lower streams were shuffled around into forms assuming a bias in their studies either, in 4S, towards science and mathematics with less time devoted to history and French, or, in 4H, towards history and French and devoting less time to mathematics and science. (The two lower streams were made parallel throughout the school, perhaps in order to avoid creating ‘sink’ classes.) It should be noted that the minimum school leaving age at the time was 15 (it was raised from 14 to 15 in 1947).

As grammar school pupils were in the ablest 20-25% of the secondary school population, all of them were expected to stay at school until at least the age of 16 and pass at least some ‘O’ levels (normally taken in the fifth form). The vast majority of academically selective schools at around that time streamed their pupils according to ability (though by no means all of them since some of them were too small to do so). Those in the top stream were often groomed for university from an early age – indeed, some grammar schools at that time (especially boys’ schools) accelerated the pace of their ablest streams so that they took ‘O’ levels and entered the sixth form after four years rather than five; this enabled them to spend a third year in the sixth form improving their ‘A’ level marks, attempting ‘S’ level papers and/or university scholarship examinations. However, pupils at Sheffield City Grammar all followed a five year course to ‘O’ level (as there were no ‘express streams’) and took up to 9 subjects. (The experiment of ‘bypassing’ – where some pupils were moved from 4A to the lower sixth in the subjects that they were most likely to take at ‘A’ level – was not repeated since it had proved to be too impractical.)

The school’s own website (for former pupils and staff) includes a large amount of archive material. The annual school magazine, ‘Holly Leaf’ (produced during the period 1946-69 and scanned in full on the school website) showed the examination successes gained by the pupils up to the year 1956 (later editions only showed the prize list and higher education destinations of upper sixth form leavers, due to ‘lack of space’). There are some class photographs (each of them containing a list of names) on the website, including some that make up a whole year group, e.g. first and second forms of 1950-51 and fifth form of 1954-55. This makes it possible to find the ability streams of the pupils who sat the GCE in certain years even when they were in the first or second year, and find the relationship between stream and examination success. This is all the more intriguing when the analysis relates to a time when the reliabilities of the ‘eleven plus’ were being questioned.

We begin by examining the relationship between first year streaming and fifth form ‘O’ level success of the 1950-51 first form (who sat ‘O’ levels in 1955). A small number of ex-pupils on the fifth form 1955 ‘O’ level list were either missing or marked ‘XXX’ on the relevant first form class photos; these were placed in the ‘Unknown/late transfer’ category, along with others who may have entered the year cohort at a later stage. (The ‘Unknown/late transfer’ category includes two pupils whose names were in the class photos of two different first year forms.) Otherwise, the pupils were deemed to be in forms 1P, 1Q, 1R and 1S (where 1R and 1S were parallel single-sex forms). The results are shown in the subtables below.

Table 1a: Numbers of each first year form (1950-51) achieving number of ‘O’ level passes in fifth form in 1955.








Table 1b: Percentages of each first year form (1950-51) achieving number of ‘O’ level passes in fifth form in 1955.






Table 1c: Percentages of each first year form (1950-51) achieving ‘O’ level passes in each subject or subject group in fifth form in 1955.






Notes to the above subtables of Table 1:

1. Form 1P – top 25% of 11+ entry; Form 1Q – next 25% of 11+ entry; Form 1R – lower 50% of 11+ entry (boys); Form 1S – lower 50% of 11+ entry (girls).

2. Pupils who achieved no ‘O’ level passes in the fifth form may include a few who passed some ‘O’ levels after transferring to another school, in addition to any ‘premature leavers’ who left the school before reaching the end of the fifth form.

3. The ‘Total’ columns include the ‘Unknown/late transfer’ category, who made up the remainder of those who achieved at least one ‘O’ level pass in the fifth form in 1955.

The above three subtables show that there was hardly any relationship between first year stream (based on 11+ results) and later ‘O’ level success. In fact, the most successful first year form of 1950-51 was not 1P but 1R (where the pupils were in the bottom half of the successful 11+ entrants)! Table 1a shows that Form 1R (a single-sex boys’ class) gained an average of 5.3 ‘O’ levels per pupil, compared with 4.8, 4.9 and 2.9 for the other three forms 1P, 1Q and 1S respectively (so 1Q did slightly better than 1P, and the girls in 1S were the least successful). The correlation coefficient between first year stream and number of ‘O’ levels passed was 0.12 (a positive but very weak relationship) when scores were allocated to each first year form as follows:- 1P=6 points, 1Q=4, 1R=1 and 1S=1 point. (While a correlation coefficient of 1 represents perfect positive agreement, a correlation coefficient of 0 represents no relationship whatsoever and a correlation coefficient of -1 represents perfect negative or inverse agreement). It should be noted that first year streaming was done solely on the basis of the overall marks gained in the written tests taken at eleven plus, and no other factors (such as industry, character and interview performance) were taken into account. These other factors were usually only taken into account in the admission of borderline candidates to grammar (and other selective secondary) schools.

Table 1b shows that 1R was the most likely to obtain a large number of ‘O’ levels, especially the maximum number of 9 passes – 19% of 1R passed 9, compared with only 4% of 1P and 1Q and none from 1S. When the two supposedly lower ability forms of 1R and 1S were taken together, they were only marginally less successful than the two higher ability forms in gaining ‘1 or more’, ‘3 or more’ and ‘5 or more ‘O’ levels’, but more successful in obtaining ‘9 or more’ than both 1P and 1Q. These results show that there must have been a strong case for unstreaming the first year forms of grammar schools by that time – indeed, many grammar schools had already made their first year forms completely parallel in ability by the mid-1950s, due to the fact that the 11+ results were poor predictors of success even in the end of first year internal exams. (The 11+ merely tested English, maths and intelligence in the middle of the last year at primary school.) If these results did not show that the 11+ was a poor indicator of ‘O’ level success (when one only considers pupils that ‘passed the 11+’, that is), then they would have provided some evidence that children in single-sex classes performed better in exams than those in mixed classes (this being especially true of boys)!!!

Table 1c shows that the 11+ results did predict future success to some extent in two ‘O’ level subjects – English language and French. While there were no significant differences between 1P and 1Q in those subjects, the main difference was between the ‘upper section’ and 1R and 1S. (We consider 1R and 1S together here, since these were single-sex and the other two forms were mixed, and the object of this report is to analyse the ability groupings rather than the two sexes.) Nearly 90% of the first year ‘upper section’ passed ‘O’ level English language by the end of the fifth year, as against 58% of the ‘lower section’. 61% of the ‘upper section’ went on to pass French (the only modern foreign language on offer at the school in the mid-1950s), compared with 41% of the others. The ‘upper section’ of the first year were also more successful than the ‘lower section’ in achieving ‘O’ levels in English literature and certain other subjects, such as those in the humanities and art/music areas, but they were less likely to obtain ‘O’ levels in mathematics, a science subject, a craft/domestic subject, and (believe it or not) Latin! Latin, despite being the preserve of the abler grammar school pupil in most cases (a second year option for the top two streams only in this particular school) was achieved at ‘O’ level in the fifth year by 7% of the 1P pupils and 4% of the 1Q pupils, but by 19% of the 1R boys and 4% of the 1S girls – thus, the first year ‘lower section’ were more than twice as likely as the abler pupils to pass ‘O’ level Latin! While the English (or verbal) component of the 11+ selection exam may have had some value in the allocation of new pupils to the first year forms, the mathematics and intelligence aspects of it seemed to be virtually useless! (Grammar school mathematics – algebra, geometry and trigonometry in those days – seemed to be very different from the maths done in primary schools.)

Overall, 52% of the 1950-51 first year achieved the main yardstick of 5 or more ‘O’ levels by the end of the fifth year (in July 1955); while a quarter gained 7 or more passes, around 91% managed at least one ‘O’ level pass. Five sevenths passed ‘O’ level English language, a third English literature, while a half passed mathematics and ditto French, and rather more than that achieved an ‘O’ level in a science subject (either general science or physics and/or chemistry – biology was only taught as an examination subject at ‘A’ level). It is worth noting that ‘premature leaving’ (before the end of the fifth year, when ‘O’ levels were normally taken) had fallen considerably since the start of the 1950s (according to the ‘1954 Inspectors Report’).

Sheffield City Grammar was not the only grammar school in the country to have shown a very weak or no correlation between their eleven plus and ‘O’ level or other later results. There were even grammar schools that had shown a very weak or no relationship between eleven plus results and performance in their internal end of first year exams. By the early 1960s, there had been an important MA thesis published, entitled “An enquiry into the causes of gross discrepancy between the performance of pupils in the 11 plus examination and their performance at the end of the first year in a Welsh grammar school”, a work deemed to be of outstanding value (Bibliography of ‘Down Stream – Failure in the Grammar School’ by R R Dale and S Griffith). (Welsh grammar schools had usually admitted a higher percentage of the secondary school age-group than in England – on average, they took the top third of the ability range.) And another teacher had claimed (in another book) to have found a negative relationship between eleven plus results and performance at the end of the first year in his grammar school.

Indeed, there was some evidence of a weak relationship between the eleven plus results of those that were successful in the examination and their future examination success nationally by the mid-1950s. The Central Advisory Council for Education (England) had commissioned a report on ‘Early Leaving’ at around this period (published in 1954) which (among other surveys) analysed the relationship between social background and eleven plus grading and GCE success (and age of leaving school) among a national sample of pupils who entered grammar schools in 1946. Here, we are concerned with the relationship between eleven plus results and GCE success (in local authority maintained grammar schools – since the much smaller number of direct grant grammar schools tended to have a more highly selective entry, both academically and socially). The pupils were allocated to one of three groups according to their eleven plus results by their grammar schools, and there was a fourth group comprising late transfers from secondary modern schools. The pupils normally took their ‘O’ levels in 1951 (first year of the new GCE exams) and ‘A’ levels in 1953, and the report recognised six levels of academic achievement at school. The results are shown in the table below.

Table 2: Percentages of entrants to maintained grammar schools (in 1946) in each eleven plus selection group (including late transfers from secondary modern schools) achieving highest level of academic achievement at school.






Notes to Table 2:

1. A pupil achieving a given level was deemed to have achieved all of the lower levels; thus a pupil who reached the upper sixth but passed fewer than 5 ‘O’ levels would be deemed to have passed 5 or more ‘O’ levels.

2. ‘Attempted 2+ ’A’ levels’ relates to those who entered for 2 or more ‘A’ levels in Summer 1953, including those who already passed 2 or more ‘A’ levels by Easter 1953. ‘Reached upper sixth’ relates to those who were still at school in Easter 1953 (regardless if they actually reached the upper sixth form or not). Those who passed School Certificate in 1950 (or earlier) are deemed to have passed 5 or more ‘O’ levels and completed the fifth year (even if they had left school prematurely).

3. Secondary modern transfers relate to those who transferred from secondary modern schools into the year group in question, e.g. those who transferred into the third year of a grammar school aged 13+ in September 1948.

4. The results were calculated from Table 7 (page 79) of Appendix II of the ‘Early Leaving’ report.

Table 2 shows that the relationship between eleven plus results and GCE success nationally was rather weak (but better than our grammar school sample, where there seemed to be hardly any relationship). While around 45% achieved the main benchmark of 5 or more ‘O’ levels, those graded in the top third of the 11+ entrants were only twice as likely as the bottom third to achieve this standard (61%, as against 31%). A fifth of grammar school leavers at the beginning of the 1950s had left school without completing the fifth form course – the bottom third were almost twice as likely to do this as the top third (26%, compared with 14%). The greatest differences appeared to be at the top end of the scale (where these differences happened in reverse in our sample!) – the top third were more than three times as likely as the bottom third to enter for at least two ‘A’ levels (28%, as against 8%). Late transfers from secondary modern schools appeared to do slightly better than the regular entrants, although they were more likely to leave prematurely. The correlation coefficient between the eleven plus selection group (excluding transfers from secondary moderns) and the highest academic level achieved at school was 0.26 (a weak but positive relationship) when scores were allocated to each eleven plus group and academic level as follows:- ‘Top third’ = 2 points, ‘middle third’ = 1, ‘bottom third’ = 0 points; ‘attempted 2+ ’A’ levels’ = 5 points, ‘reached upper sixth’ = 4, ‘passed 5+ ‘O’ levels’ = 3, ‘passed 3+ ‘O’ levels’ = 2, ‘completed fifth year’ = 1, ‘left prematurely’ = 0 points.

Indeed, GCE results seemed to be more highly correlated with father’s occupational group than their position in the eleven plus exam, for Table K (page 18) of the ‘Early Leaving’ report shows that those whose fathers were in professional and managerial jobs and were placed in the bottom third on admission did considerably better in their GCE exams than unskilled workers’ children who were in the top third of the grammar school intake. Almost half (48%) of the former achieved five or more ‘O’ levels, compared with only 30% of the latter group – and more than half of the latter group (54%) did not even get as many as three passes at ‘O’ level. Perhaps some of the pupils of forms 1P and 1Q in our sample grammar school did less well than expected partly because they came from a poor or unfavourable background, and some of the boys of 1R (and a smaller number of the girls of 1S) exceeded all expectations partly due to the fact that they had well-off or better educated parents who were more willing to help them with their homework.

We would naturally expect that the examinations taken at the end of the first year in a grammar school would be a much better predictor of future success within that school than the 11+ tests (especially as the abler pupils of our sample school were given the opportunity to start Latin at the beginning of the second year). It was the end of first year internal exams that determined the allocation of pupils to the forms for the second year and we now examine the relationship between second year streaming and fifth form ‘O’ level success. We take the 1950-51 second form (who sat ‘O’ levels in 1954) as our basis for this part of the study. As before, those on the fifth form 1954 ‘O’ level list that were missing from the relevant second form class photos (no ‘XXX’s were found on the name lists) have been placed in the ‘Unknown/late transfer’ category, along with others who may have entered the year cohort at a later stage. The second year forms were 2P, 2Q, 2R and 2S (where 2R and 2S were parallel mixed-sex forms). The results are shown in the subtables below.

Table 3a: Numbers of each second year form (1950-51) achieving number of ‘O’ level passes in fifth form in 1954.






Table 3b: Percentages of each second year form (1950-51) achieving number of ‘O’ level passes in fifth form in 1954.






Table 3c: Percentages of each second year form (1950-51) achieving ‘O’ level passes in each subject or subject group in fifth form in 1954.






Notes to the above subtables of Table 3:

1. Form 2P – top stream; Form 2Q – second stream; Form 2R – ‘lower section’ stream; Form 2S – parallel to Form 2R.

2. Pupils who achieved no ‘O’ level passes in the fifth form may include a few who passed some ‘O’ levels after transferring to another school, in addition to any ‘premature leavers’ who left the school before reaching the end of the fifth form.

3. The ‘Total’ columns include the ‘Unknown/late transfer’ category, who made up the remainder of those who achieved at least one ‘O’ level pass in the fifth form in 1954.

The above three subtables show that there was, indeed, a very much stronger relationship between second year stream and later ‘O’ level performance. The internal end of first year exams had proved that they were a far better guide to a pupil’s future academic achievement than the tests sat at eleven plus. Table 3a shows that Form 2P, proved to be the strongest form this time (as expected) – this form went on to gain an average of 6.4 ‘O’ levels per pupil, as against 4.6 for Form 2Q and 2.7 for the other two forms in the ‘lower section’. Everybody from 2P gained at least 4 ‘O’ levels (apart from two pupils who almost certainly changed schools if they did not leave school prematurely), whereas nobody from 2R or 2S passed more than 6 by the end of year five. The correlation coefficient between second year stream and number of ‘O’ levels passed was 0.59 (a fairly strong positive relationship) when scores were allocated to each second year form as follows:- 2P=6 points, 2Q=4, 2R=1 and 2S=1 point. This means that much of the errors of eleven plus selection can be attributed to the adjustment process during the first year in a grammar school.

Table 3b shows that around 90% of Form 2P and 57% of 2Q went on to pass 5 or more ‘O’ levels, whereas only one in five of the lower streams did so. Six tenths of 2P and a sixth of 2Q (none from 2R or 2S) passed 7 or more and 10% of 2P (none of the others) achieved the maximum of 9 ‘O’ levels. At the other end of the scale, while everybody from 2P was supposed to gain at least one pass (none of these gained from 1 to 3 passes), only 3% from Form 2Q and 23% from the ‘lower section’ failed to achieve a single ‘O’ level while at the school (no information is known about any pupils who transferred to another school). If the two pupils of 2P who did not achieve any ‘O’ levels at the school were excluded, the percentages would have been 100% of 2P achieving 3 or more ‘O’ levels, 93% passing 5 or more, 64% gaining 7 or more and 11% obtaining the maximum 9.

Table 3c shows that nearly all pupils from Form 2P achieved ‘O’ levels in the core subjects of English language, mathematics and a science subject – if the two pupils of 2P who did not achieve any ‘O’ levels at the school were excluded, the percentages would have been 100% of that form passing English language, 75% passing mathematics and 96% passing in a science subject; 96% would have passed English literature, 90% French, 83% either history or geography and 14% Latin. On the other hand, less than half of the ‘lower section’ went on to pass ‘O’ level English language, and less than a third of these pupils passed English literature and even fewer passed in maths by the end of the fifth year. Less than a sixth of 2R and 2S passed in French and none of these were good enough to have even started Latin. Only in the practical subjects such as woodwork or housecraft were pupils from 2R or 2S more likely than those from 2P to have achieved an ‘O’ level, as the ablest (of grammar schools generally) were often allowed to drop them after only one or two years.

Overall, 47% of the 1950-51 second year achieved the main benchmark of 5 or more ‘O’ levels by the end of the fifth year (in July 1954); while a fifth gained 7 or more passes, around 87% managed at least one ‘O’ level pass. Two thirds passed ‘O’ level English language, a half English literature, while 44% passed mathematics and 38% French, and rather more than half achieved an ‘O’ level in a science subject. A somewhat higher proportion of this year cohort had left school prematurely than the year group that took ‘O’ levels the following year (in 1955).

The end of first year exams (deciding the second year streaming) were reasonably good forecasts of GCE achievement and so one might expect fewer changes of stream as pupils move up the school into the third, fourth and fifth years. From the class photos of 2P/2Q (boys), 2P/2Q (girls), 2R and 2S of 1947-48 and 3P, 3Q and 3R of 1948-49 (3S missing), I presume that no more than 3-5 pupils were ‘promoted’ from the ‘lower section’ to the ‘upper section’ and a similar number ‘demoted’ from P/Q to R/S as the 1947-48 second year moved up to the third year in September 1948. In the fourth and fifth years, the two lower streams followed ‘biased’ courses to ‘O’ level (in that more time was devoted to some subjects than others) and sat for fewer exams than the higher streams at the end of the fifth year.

While there are no class photographs (or class lists) on the website relating to the period September 1951 to July 1954, that followed the progress of these pupils up the school (at the time of writing), a complete year group of four different fifth year form photos of 1954-55 exists on the website. (These fifth year photos were taken in July 1955 – there was no such thing as ‘study leave’ in those days and even pupils who have finished all of their exams and due to leave school were required to remain until the end of the summer term.) This allows us to analyse the relationship between fifth year or final main school streaming and ‘O’ level success. These were the same pupils that were in the 1950-51 first year (apart from late transfers, premature leavers, etc.) and we now have a better indication of how they were streamed. This group sat ‘O’ levels in 1955 and those missing from the relevant class photos (including one ‘XXX’) have been placed in the ‘Unknown’ category. The fifth year forms were 5A, 5B, 5S and 5H (where 5S and 5H were parallel mixed-sex forms biased towards the sciences and history/French respectively). The results are shown in the subtables below.

Table 4a: Numbers of each fifth year form (1954-55) achieving number of ‘O’ level passes in fifth form in 1955.






Table 4b: Percentages of each fifth year form (1954-55) achieving number of ‘O’ level passes in fifth form in 1955.






Table 4c: Percentages of each fifth year form (1954-55) achieving ‘O’ level passes in each subject or subject group in fifth form in 1955.






Notes to the above subtables of Table 4:

1. Form 5A – top stream; Form 5B – second stream; Form 5S – ‘lower section’ stream with bias towards sciences; Form 5H – parallel to Form 5S but with bias towards history and French.

2. These subtables exclude any ‘premature leavers’ who left the school before reaching the end of the fifth form.

3. The ‘Total’ columns include the ‘Unknown’ category, who made up the remainder of those who achieved at least one ‘O’ level pass in the fifth form in 1955.

The above three subtables show that ‘O’ level results correlated more highly with fifth year streaming than with second year streaming. Table 4a shows that Form 5A went on to gain an average of 7.2 ‘O’ levels per pupil, compared with 5.5 for Form 5B and 2.9 for the other two forms in the ‘lower section’ (3.5 for Form 5S and 2.4 for 5H). Everybody from 5A and 5B gained at least 3 ‘O’ levels, whereas nobody from 5S or 5H passed more than 6 by the end of the fifth year. The correlation coefficient between fifth year stream and number of ‘O’ levels passed was 0.78 (a very strong positive relationship when one considers that one of the three ability groups contained half the total number of pupils in the sample) when scores were allocated to each fifth year form as follows:- 5A=6 points, 5B=4, 5S=1 and 5H=1 point.

Table 4b shows that over 90% of Form 5A and four fifths of 5B went on to pass 5 or more ‘O’ levels, whereas only one in five of the ‘lower section’ did so. Four fifths of 5A and a fifth of 5B passed 7 or more and only the pupils from 5A (almost a quarter of them) achieved the maximum of 9 ‘O’ levels. While all the pupils from the ‘upper section’ obtained at least 3 passes, just over half of the two lower forms did so, and over 90% of these lower forms managed at least one pass (that is, of those pupils from 5S or 5H who were still at school in July 1955). Form 5S (science) did rather better at ‘O’ level than 5H (history) perhaps because science subjects tend to be more difficult to pass at ‘O’ level than ‘arts’ subjects, such as history.

Table 4c shows that all pupils from Form 5A passed English language ‘O’ level at the end of the academic year, compared with just over 70% of the ‘lower section’; the corresponding proportions for English literature were five sixths and 15%. Form 5S had a science and mathematics bias with less time devoted to history and French, and 5H were similarly biased towards history and French with fewer lesson periods per week on science and maths (in at least one set there were non-examination courses in these subjects). While nobody from 5H achieved an ‘O’ level in maths or any science subject (a far cry from their importance in today’s schools), maths was passed at ‘O’ level by four fifths of 5A, two thirds of 5B and almost half of 5S; over 90% of 5A passed in a science subject, compared with three quarters of 5B and almost as many from 5S as from 5B. Only the ‘upper section’ were allowed to attempt two science subjects at ‘O’ level (physics and chemistry) – half the top fifth year form (and 8% of 5B) managed to pass both physics and chemistry. French was passed by virtually all of 5A (97%), five sevenths of 5B and two sevenths of 5H, though nobody from 5S was expected to pass in that subject. Latin ‘O’ level (only available to pupils from the A and B streams) was obtained by 30% of the A form and a twelfth of the B class. Most pupils (including almost two thirds of both 5S and 5H) passed in history and/or geography. In the non-academic subjects, there was often much less difference between the streams – a similar proportion of 5A passed in art and/or music as the ‘lower section’. The ‘technical’ subjects were most likely to be achieved at ‘O’ level by pupils from 5B or 5S (around 40%) and least likely by those from the top stream (only 7%).

Overall, 55% of the 1954-55 fifth year achieved the main yardstick of 5 or more ‘O’ levels by the end of the academic year; while 28% gained 7 or more passes, virtually all (97%) managed at least one ‘O’ level pass (most pupils failing to gain a single pass would have left ‘prematurely’ without sitting any exams). Around three quarters passed ‘O’ level English language, 35% English literature, while just over a half passed mathematics and ditto French, and around three fifths gained an ‘O’ level in a science subject. Only one in 12 passed Latin, while 36% passed in art and/or music and three tenths obtained an ‘O’ level in a craft or domestic subject.

An analysis of the first year forms of the 1954-55 fifth year group shows that, of the 82 pupils whose first year and fifth year forms were both known, the pupils of 5A were only marginally more likely to have been in the top first year form than the others – 31% of 5A had been in 1P, as against 21%, 22% and 26% of forms 5B, 5S and 5H respectively. The form that was most likely to have started off in the two parallel supposedly lower-ability first year forms (1R and 1S) was Form 5S (67% of pupils), followed by 5B (47%), 5A (42%) and 5H (26%). To put it another way, the Form 1P of 1950-51 was only marginally more likely than the other first year forms to have been in the top fifth year form four years later – 38% of 1P had moved up to 5A, compared with 29%, 33% and 25% of forms 1Q, 1R and 1S respectively. And there was very little difference in the percentages of the first year forms being in the two parallel lower-ability streams four years later – 43% of 1P had been in 5S or 5H (the same percentage as the boys of 1R), compared with 46% of 1Q and 50% of the girls of 1S. The correlation coefficient between the first year and fifth year streams was only 0.04 (almost no relationship whatsoever) when scores were allocated to each stream as follows:- ‘Top stream’ = 6 points, ‘second stream’ = 4, ‘lower-ability stream’ = 1 point.

It would be worthwhile extending our analysis to the sixth form and ‘A’ level, though this is hampered somewhat by ‘pressure of space’ in the school magazines after 1957 – later editions of the ‘Holly Leaf’, though omitting the ‘A’ level (as well as ‘O’ level) achievements of the pupils did, however, show the university and other higher education destinations of leavers from the upper sixth form and any State Scholarships won. The last year for ‘A’ level results in ‘Holly Leaf’ related to the year 1956, which was when the second form of 1950-51 would have taken ‘A’ levels (if they had stayed at school long enough to have at least two years in the sixth form). Of the 131 pupils listed in the 1950-51 second year photographs, only 12 (9%) went on to pass at least one ‘A’ level at the school in 1956 (in the second year sixth) – of these, five were in Form 2P (top stream), four were in 2Q and three were in the less able parallel 2R and 2S forms. Only 6 gained three ‘A’ levels in that year (three from 2P, two from 2Q and one from 2S) and only 4 had entered university by the end of 1959 (three from 2P and one from 2S). The ‘Holly Leaf’ of 1958 did note that two boys from the 1950-51 second year cohort had gained at least one distinction at ‘A’ level (both in 1957, in the third year sixth) – one was in 2P and the other was in 2S. Perhaps the much more specialised nature of the sixth form was more likely to throw up examples of ‘late development’ than lower down the school.

A much higher proportion of pupils from the 1954-55 fifth form than the 1953-54 fifth year entered the sixth form or went to university. If there was hardly any relationship between first year stream and ‘O’ level achievement, there was an even lesser relationship between first year stream and success at ‘A’ level (there may even have been a negative relationship at this level!). Of the 115 pupils listed in the 1950-51 first year photographs, 23 (20%) were in the upper sixth form photograph of 1956-57 – of these, four were in Form 1P (top form), five were in 1Q, 12 were in 1R (less able boys’ form) and two were in 1S (girls’ class parallel to 1R). 16 of these 115 pupils (14%) had entered university or medical school by the end of 1960 – only two from 1P and four from 1Q but ten were from 1R and none was from 1S; this means that almost a third (32%) of Form 1R entered university or medical school compared with 14% for all four first year forms. What is even more interesting is that of the two boys in this year group who won State Scholarships (for outstanding performances in their ‘A’ and ‘S’ level examinations), both were members of 1R! Another boy who obtained at least one distinction at ‘A’ level was also from 1R! (What had gone wrong with first year streaming?) Obviously, 1R turned out to be the most successful first year form of 1950-51, even though it contained boys who were in the bottom half of the successful 11+ entrants – not only did it establish a lead at ‘O’ level, it then extended it at ‘A’ level!

Of course, one would expect a much stronger relationship between fifth year stream and ‘A’ level attainment than between first year stream and ‘A’ level, especially when fifth form stream correlated 0.78 with the number of ‘O’ levels passed for the 1954-55 fifth year. Of the 101 pupils listed in the 1954-55 fifth year photographs, 24 (24%) were in the upper sixth form photograph two years later – of these, 14 had been in Form 5A (top form), six had been in 5B, four had been in 5S (‘lower section science’ class) and none had been in 5H (‘history’ class parallel to 5S). 17 of these 101 pupils (17%) had entered university or medical school by the end of 1960 – 13 of these were from 5A and four were from 5B but not a single pupil this time was from the lower streams; these results mean that nearly a half (43%) of the A stream and a sixth (17%) of the B stream went on to university or medical school. The two boys from 1R who won State Scholarships had both moved up into the A stream before they sat their ‘O’ levels – as did a third boy from that form who gained at least one distinction at ‘A’ level. So, it would have been sensible for grammar schools to have delayed streaming until at least the second year (or even the third year).

Many of the ablest pupils in our sample grammar school (particularly from the 1953-54 fifth year group) had left school at 16 (without entering the sixth form), often because their parents wanted them to earn money or could not afford to keep them at school longer, or they were not well educated enough to fully understand the advantages of a longer education (this was barely ten years after the passing of the 1944 Education Act). Girls were more likely to leave at 16 or earlier than boys – the gender ratio in the upper sixth form was around two boys to every girl. The effects of streaming could really only be measured by ‘O’ level results rather than ‘A’ level ones, since when pupils enter the sixth form, pupils are usually grouped by subject choice (e.g. Lower Sixth Arts or Lower Sixth Science) rather than ability when the numbers entering the sixth justify the division of pupils into more than one form for the Lower Sixth and/or the Upper Sixth. A more instructive (and interesting) analysis of ‘A’ level results would be to examine the relationship between ‘O’ level and ‘A’ level results for a given year cohort (or cohorts) of pupils. Unfortunately, since the ‘A’ level results were only available for the 1953-54 fifth year cohort, we have decided to analyse the relationship between ‘O’ level results and the proportion entering the school’s upper sixth form or going on to university (the latter an indication of having obtained good ‘A’ level results – most of the university entrants had obtained three ‘A’ level passes); this makes it possible to compare the 1953-54 fifth year cohort with the 1954-55 fifth year cohort (especially when a higher proportion of the later cohort had enjoyed a longer education). The results are shown in the table below.

Table 5: Percentages of the fifth forms of 1953-54 and 1954-55 with a given number of ‘O’ level passes who went on to enter the upper sixth form and university.






Notes to Table 5:

1. For the 1953-54 fifth form, entering the Upper Sixth is defined as either passing at least one GCE subject in 1956 (at either ‘O’ or ‘A’ level) or entering a higher education course during 1956-59 (according to the school magazine). For the 1954-55 fifth form, entering the Upper Sixth is defined as either being present in the Upper Sixth Form photograph of 1956-57 or entering a higher education course during 1957-60 (according to the school magazine).

2. University includes an institution affiliated to a university, such as a medical school or university college. Those who entered a university after 1959 (1960 for the 1954-55 fifth form) are excluded.

Table 5 shows that the upper sixth form (excluding those who had entered the sixth form from other schools and those in the third year sixth) had suddenly almost doubled in size in September 1956. This was brought about in the main by an increase in the proportion of the ablest pupils staying on for the full seven year course. Whereas probably less than half of the 1953-54 fifth form with 8 or 9 ‘O’ levels stayed on at school to the age of 18, almost everybody with 8 or 9 ‘O’ levels from the year below did so. The proportion with 7 ‘O’ levels staying on to upper sixth had doubled from around 20% to around 40%. The upper sixth continued to welcome a few pupils who had fewer than 5 ‘O’ level passes on entering the sixth form and wanted to improve their qualifications – one boy who entered the sixth with three ‘O’ levels added two or three more in the lower sixth and even passed an ‘A’ level subject the following year. But what is even more astonishing is the increase in the numbers going to university (or medical school). While only four pupils from the 1953-54 fifth year had entered university (all of them boys), 19 from the year below did so (15 boys and 4 girls). Of those who had achieved 8 or 9 passes at ‘O’ level in year five, the proportion who went on to university had increased from less than 30% for the 1953-54 fifth year cohort to around 80% for the year below them. One would naturally expect that the probability of staying on to the upper sixth or going to university would correlate more strongly with ‘O’ level results than with fifth year stream but it was still very wide of the mark with the earlier year cohort – plenty of social factors must have come into play there.

At the top end of the scale, those who had won a State Scholarship or gained at least one distinction at ‘A’ level were very much more likely to have done well earlier in their school course (though not necessarily in their ‘eleven plus’ examinations before they came to the grammar school), but even so, there are examples of these pupils who have come up the school in one of the lower streams and/or have only done moderately well in their ‘O’ level exams. Of the two boys from the 1953-54 fifth form cohort who had gained at least one distinction at ‘A’ level (both in 1957, in the third year sixth), only one of them was in the top stream in the second year (2P); he, however, won a prize for achieving the third best ‘O’ level results in his year (according to overall mark in 9 subjects – he passed 8 of them), and another prize the following year for coming second out of everybody in the end of lower sixth exams. The other boy had been in 2S (bottom half of the second year) and had passed 6 ‘O’ levels. (Both boys won prizes in the second and third year sixth for good ‘A’ level results.)

Of the two boys from the 1954-55 fifth form cohort who had won State Scholarships, after both being in forms 1R and 5A (as already described in an earlier paragraph), one of them seemed to consistently win school prizes throughout his grammar school career – he was second in the end of second year exams, second in the end of the third year, top in the end of fourth year exams, gained the best ‘O’ level results in his year in the fifth (with 9 ‘O’ levels), came second in the lower sixth exams and also won prizes for good ‘A’ level results in the second and third year sixth (he obtained at least one ‘A’ level distinction in 1957, and again when he resat his ‘A’ levels in 1958). The other State Scholar – who did not gain any distinctions at ‘A’ level – also obtained 9 passes at ‘O’ level, but his only school prize (apart from the one for gaining his State Scholarship in the third year sixth) was one for ‘High Standards of Attainment’ in ‘O’ levels in the fifth year (these prizes were awarded only to boys that year – they were awarded to the girls the previous year). Another boy from the 1954-55 fifth form cohort who had obtained at least one distinction at ‘A’ level (but did not win a State Scholarship) – who was also in forms 1R and 5A – managed to pass 8 ‘O’ levels (and win a ‘High Standards of Attainment’ prize) in the fifth year but that was his only prize in addition to the one he won for achieving good ‘A’ level results in the second year sixth (he chose not to take his ‘A’ levels again).

In addition to the regular sixth form entry from the main school, there was a small number who entered the sixth from other schools. At least 7 pupils joined the lower sixth form from elsewhere in September 1954, and five of these managed to pass at least one subject at ‘A’ level in 1956 (one of them in Classical Hebrew). What is interesting is that no fewer than three of these went on to university, so the school could boast that nearly half the 1954-55 lower sixth (or 1955-56 second year sixth) who went on to university had entered the sixth form from different schools (which could have included secondary modern schools!).

It was common in the 1950s for sixth formers to stay on for a third year in the sixth, often to resit their ‘A’ levels in the hope of obtaining higher marks (this was before the days of mandatory student grants). Also, university entrance was getting more and more competitive at around this time. No fewer than 9 of the 24 boys and one of the 7 girls who passed at least one subject at ‘A’ level in 1956 had already passed at least one ‘A’ level the previous year; all of these ten pupils had sat the same ‘A’ levels as before and passed at least two subjects more than once. And not all of them were able to improve their marks in all of the subjects they resat. Three of these ten had actually failed a subject at ‘A’ level that they had already passed the year before, while only one of them managed to pass a subject at ‘A’ level that he had failed the previous year.

The higher the ability of the sixth former, the more likely that he or she had retaken ‘A’ levels. Of the 15 pupils (13 boys and 2 girls) who won State Scholarships awarded on the results of the GCE exams at ‘A’ and ‘S’ level during the ten years 1951-60 (when there were 2,000 so awarded per annum), no fewer than 13 had required a third year in the sixth form in order to win their awards – only in 1958 and 1960 had a State Scholarship been awarded to a pupil in the second year sixth. All the 8 pupils (five boys and three girls) who won awards made by the universities themselves during the five years 1952-56 (four by London and four by Sheffield) had spent three years in the sixth form and had sat ‘A’ levels in two successive years. Only one pupil (a girl) had entered ‘Oxbridge’ (Oxford or Cambridge) during the 1950s – she went to Oxford University in 1959 after winning a place there in the third year sixth.

A closer analysis of the eight pupils (seven boys and one girl) who won State Scholarships (awarded on GCE performance) during the four years 1953-56 (all sat ‘A’ levels twice), shows that on the first sitting of ‘A’ levels, three pupils had one ‘A’ level distinction and none had two or more (one person had his first sitting in the first two years of ‘A’ level, when distinctions were not awarded); on the second sitting (when they won their awards), all but one pupil gained at least one distinction and three pupils gained two distinctions (none gained three or more). Three of the eight pupils retook two of their ‘A’ levels whilst taking a new, fourth subject in the third year sixth, while the other five had simply resat all three of their ‘A’ level subjects. Of course, there were able pupils who sat ‘A’ levels twice and gained at least one distinction who had to settle for a local authority award instead of a State Scholarship. Possibly the closest a person at the school got to winning a State Scholarship during this four year period is demonstrated by a boy who passed mathematics, physics and chemistry at ‘A’ level in 1954 (getting distinctions in mathematics and physics); the following year, he retook mathematics and physics and passed a fourth subject (theoretical mechanics), but on this latter occasion he not only failed to gain a State Scholarship but he only obtained one distinction at ‘A’ level (in physics). Perhaps it was the staleness and/or disillusionment of having to repeat two of his ‘A’ levels that prevented him from doing better on the second occasion.

Possibly the main reason why State Scholarships were abolished in 1962 was that so many candidates hopeful of winning one had stayed on for a third (or even fourth) year in the sixth form, mainly in order to retake ‘A’ levels – although at least some of these had attempted university scholarship examinations in the earlier part of the third (or fourth) year sixth (which, incidentally, gave them a chance to win ‘Supplemental State Scholarships’, meaning that they would have no need to resit their ‘A’ levels or take ‘S’ levels in order to win a State Scholarship). The Government had then decided that they would be a system of mandatory grants for every person with two or more ‘A’ levels who was accepted for a degree course, which would replace the previous system of discretionary local authority awards and State Scholarships. Also (at around this time), Oxford and Cambridge were reforming their entrance and scholarship examinations to make it easier for a pupil to win an award or a place in the second year of the sixth form (before he or she has taken ‘A’ levels). The other universities had generally abolished their entrance and scholarship examinations by the mid-1960s in order to make the system fairer for all.

Since the school did not possess any ‘express’ streams during the period covered by the study (1950s), staying on for a third year in the sixth form (which was what most winners of State and University Scholarships did) usually meant staying on at school until the age of 19. Money might have been saved if the ablest pupils were allowed to complete their ‘O’ level courses in four years and enter the sixth form a year early (as happened in many grammar schools during the period), also, it would have been easier to persuade many of the ablest pupils (who would have left school at 16) to enter the sixth form. Entering the sixth form at 15+ would give pupils a third year in the sixth form – which would significantly increase their chances of gaining a university place (especially to one of their first choice) and would be even more of an advantage in winning a State or University Scholarship (since these exams often relied on an extended syllabus that went considerably beyond ‘A’ levels). Also, pupils might be better prepared for university methods of work if they spent three years in the sixth. (An alternative to ‘express’ streams would be to admit the ablest pupils to grammar schools at the age of 10 – as was practised in some areas.)

Schools with ‘express’ streams usually made their selection of pupils for the ‘express’ stream (or streams) by the start of the second or third year (when the pupils’ abilities have become more apparent). If a school decided to create an ‘express’ stream, all pupils in it should be reasonably expected to gain at least four ‘O’ levels at the end of the fourth year and then spend up to three years in the sixth form – the third year sixth could make up for at least some of the ‘premature’ specialisation by offering options such as a fourth (or even fifth) ‘A’ level and additional ‘O’ or ‘AO’ levels (e.g. a foreign language), in addition to ‘S’ level and university scholarship examinations. Some of the most academically selective boys’ schools (grammar and public) had even taken this a stage further – by allowing their ablest pupils to take ‘O’ levels and enter the sixth form at the age of 14 (two years early); such pupils often spent four years in the sixth form, and typically took ‘A’ levels at 16, ‘S’ levels at 17 and ‘Oxbridge’ open scholarship exams in the autumn or winter of the fourth year sixth.

On the other hand, the school may have been better off by making all its pupils follow a broad, five year course to ‘O’ level. This would probably have been better for the pupils’ all-round development – social and emotional, as well as academic. If the school had an ‘express’ stream then not only would the pupils in the top stream have to decide on their ‘A’ level subjects a year earlier than it is educationally desirable but they would also have had to decide on their ‘O’ level options a year earlier too (at the age of 13 or even 12) and possibly sit a more limited number of subjects at ‘O’ level (e.g. 7 or 8 subjects instead or 9 or 10). The ‘express’ system would lead to more pupils repeating ‘A’ levels since many pupils would have no desire to sit a fourth ‘A’ level subject and many 17-year-olds were regarded as too immature to cope with university life and work. Many ‘express’ streams started from the second year; even though the end of first year exams were much better predictors of future exam success than eleven plus tests, they were still quite some distance from being perfect – one of the two boys from the 1950-51 second year cohort who went on to get at least one distinction at ‘A’ level was in the bottom half of the school’s ability range in the second year, while two of the pupils in the 1954-55 fifth year top stream had achieved fewer than five passes at ‘O’ level (and would probably have gained fewer passes if they had sat them a year earlier). Only a small minority even of top stream pupils were able enough to profit from ‘S’ level and university scholarship work (that was often done in the third year sixth), and when State Scholarships and most university scholarships (except ‘Oxbridge’ awards) were abolished, they would have even less reason to spend an extra year in the sixth.

In conclusion, the school may have done better to have delayed streaming until the beginning of the second or third year, since there was very little correlation between the eleven plus and ‘O’ level results of the selected pupils. (If there was a stronger relationship between eleven plus and ‘O’ level, then the boys appeared to do considerably better when placed in single sex classes!) The end of first year examinations correlated much more strongly with ‘O’ level success though not as strong as with the end of third or fourth year examinations. It may have been better to keep streaming to a minimum. In the 1950s, the school kept its two lower streams parallel (perhaps in view of the considerable overlap that may have resulted between them if there was a ‘bottom’ stream) – perhaps, the school could have made the top two streams parallel as well since subject ‘setting’ between the top two streams in most subjects would have been sufficient. The streaming in the fourth and fifth years, however, seemed to limit ‘O’ level opportunities in the lower streams; in 1955, no pupil from 5H had passed at ‘O’ level in either mathematics or a science subject, while no pupil from 5S had passed in any foreign language – they almost had to choose between mathematics/science and French at ‘O’ level by the end of the third year.

While the ‘O’ level results of the school in the mid-1950s were around the national averages of maintained grammar schools of the period, the staying-on rates into the upper sixth form had remained somewhat below the national averages of these schools, despite the considerable increase in the numbers in the second year sixth in 1956. In that year, a higher proportion of the ablest pupils had stayed on at school, so that it was becoming the exception for a pupil with 8 or more ‘O’ levels to leave school at 16. At the highest level, an average of one and a half State Scholarships (awarded on GCE results) per year were won during the 1950s (mostly by candidates in the third year sixth), a good achievement in the light of the staying-on rate. Only one person (a girl) entered Oxford or Cambridge during that period. On the whole (including findings from the 1954 Inspectors Report), I think that it was a good school.
 

Christopher Bird - Authors Notes

I was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in April 1974 (an only child) and I am a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. As a result, I spent most of my schooling in special schools (including nine years at Alderman Knight, the excellent school the county council are trying to close – recently dubbed the ‘Best Special School in Britain’). Fortunately, there was a comprehensive school nearby (Tewkesbury School), and one of the teachers there recognised that I had a talent in mathematics. As a result of that, I began maths lessons over at the comprehensive school at the age of 12, and though I was bewildered by the sizes of the classes at first, I not only passed GCSE Maths a year early, I also passed Maths ‘A’ level a year early as well (and won a school prize for that). I thoroughly enjoyed the special individual treatment that I received at school, which included computer sessions when I had earned a full day of stars for good behaviour – I was treated like a prince (and often felt like one as well)! I got a grade B in Maths ‘A’ level the first time, so I resat it the following year and got an A, along with a ‘merit’ in the optional ‘special paper’ (‘S’ level). I also took ‘A’ level Further Maths twice (the only candidate on each occasion) – upgrading a D grade to a B on the second occasion. (I spent four years in the sixth form – sat ‘A’ levels in ’91, ’92, and in ’93!) I had the special honour of getting my picture in the front page of the Gloucestershire Echo on two occasions. I also gained some other qualifications in the sixth form (including a C in GCSE English and B in GCSE Social Science), and just after I left school I carried off Tewkesbury School’s most prestigious prize – ‘Special Achievement Award’.

My academic success did not stop there! Three years later (in 1996), I achieved a First Class Honours BSc degree in Maths with Computing at what is now known as the University of Gloucestershire. More recently, I have achieved a Master’s degree (a taught MSc) in Maths with the Open University. I am currently taking some time off from formal studying as I am undecided whether to do a PhD or not (an enormous undertaking and a big change from years of taught courses). I attend a centre for autistic people in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire twice a week and another centre in Gloucester once a week.

I am fascinated by exam results (as they are mathematical) and the history of the education system (one of my other interests is social history). The 1944 Education Act introduced ‘free secondary education for all’ and ushered in the ‘eleven plus’ and the ‘tripartite’ system – really a bipartite system of grammar and secondary modern schools (since most technical schools hardly got off the ground). Only 20% of children went to grammar schools in the postwar years until comprehensive schools gradually replaced most grammars and secondary moderns in the later 1960s and 1970s. Streaming by general ability had been ‘almost universal’ in all types of school – primary, secondary modern, technical, grammar, comprehensive and even certain ‘public’ schools had used this system. GCE ‘O’ level and ‘A’ level exams were originally designed for grammar, public and other independent schools – very few secondary modern pupils attempted even ‘O’ level exams until the 1960s. ‘S’ level exams (additional papers for the ablest ‘A’ level candidates) were retained after the abolition of State Scholarships in the early 1960s, and have now been rechristened ‘Advanced Extension Awards’ even though only a small minority of students expected to gain A grades in the corresponding main ‘A’ levels now get the opportunity to take these exams. Only the most brilliant pupils won ‘open’ awards to Oxford or Cambridge (in the mid-1980s, these had moved to the end of the first undergraduate year).

The most amazing thing that I found, when writing the report, was that there was almost no correlation between first year streaming (determined by the eleven plus results) and later ‘O’ level success. The new entrants of 1950 happened to be divided into two higher-ability mixed forms (1P – the top stream – and 1Q) and two parallel lower-ability single-sex forms (1R for the boys and 1S for the girls). And I found that the 1950-51 first year form that was the most successful in their ‘O’ levels five years later was not 1P, but 1R!!!

As I was writing the report, an interesting article appeared in the Daily Mail that showed that boys do better in single-sex schools or single-sex classes. Since the most successful 1950-51 first year form according to the number of ‘O’ levels passed five years later was 1R (the single-sex boys’ class where the pupils were in the bottom half of the successful 11+ entrants), I decided to send an e-mail about these findings to the paper (where the school was an anonymous school), and not only did it get published but I have also won a prize for producing the ‘Letter of the Week’! The timing could not have been better, especially as an English football club (Liverpool) had also won Europe’s top club competition (Champions’ League) with the most amazing comeback in the history of the finals (3-0 down at half time) – and get to keep the Cup this time (since they have won it five times)!

Here is my letter to the Daily Mail (published on Wednesday, 25th May – the exact day when Liverpool won the Champions’ League).


Here is my ‘Letter of the Week’ award (published on Friday, 27th May) – a £49 Amstrad E3 videophone plus another for a friend.

I believe that the 1950-51 first year had to be completely reclassified into the second year forms since the eleven plus results (of ‘selected’ pupils, that is) showed hardly any relationship with ‘O’ level results, while there was a strong relationship between the end of first year exams and ‘O’ levels. (Much of the errors of eleven plus selection can be attributed to the adjustment process during the first year in a grammar school – many grammar school pupils seem to have ‘sorted themselves out’ by the end of the first year.) And since this year cohort were placed into forms which were all mixed-sex from their second year onwards, I really ought to have analysed the end of first year results (if I was a serious researcher) – they may even have showed that 1R (rather than 1P) was the form with the highest average overall marks in the first year exams! Even a year in a single-sex class can make a lot of difference! (I, myself, had been in an all-boys’ form one year when I was at the co-educational Alderman Knight.)

I hope you have enjoyed reading my mini-PhD – it took me around two weeks to complete and ran to 18 pages when saved as a Microsoft Word file. One of the school’s former pupils is the politician Roy Hattersley (now Lord Hattersley), who (incidentally) is also a columnist for the Daily Mail. I bet he would be very pleased if he read my report and newspaper articles. Maybe he could write something about my findings, e.g. boys do better in single-sex classes.

I look forward to receiving any replies, e.g. comments on my report and press cuttings.

Please E-MAIL to :- cmbird@supanet.com

Best wishes,

Chris Bird,

Cheltenham, Glos.
 

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