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ring ring goes the bell


I read an article yesterday in which the writer described essentially leaving school at fourteen. She just stopped going, returning only to scrape through her GCSEs. The point she made was that, for a lot of people, school is a waste of time.

If you’re biddable, conscientious, diligent, then school can be good for you. That’s assuming you’re also socially competent and have no odd corners, rough edges or odd ambitions that others can use to beat you with. For many though, school is, at best, a waste, and worst, an ordeal.

My own schooldays were a complete waste of time. Like the author of the column, I would have been better served spending those wasted years in a library. I could read before I entered the school gates, and everything I knew when I left, eleven years later, I’d taught myself.

I left with zero academic qualifications, but I had a library card and a voracious reading habit – both gained years earlier, and both never left me, so when I eventually returned to education a decade later, I got through it by utilising what I already knew, what I’d already taught myself.

At school, I remember my English teacher telling me I wouldn’t pass the exam, so they wouldn’t be entering me for it. I also remember my music teacher telling me I wasn’t good enough to join the orchestra.

I have an MA in English. I write. I play live music almost every week. It’s not that my teachers were bad people, or even bad teachers, it’s more that I was a bad fit. Like a lot of others, my education began upon leaving school.

I should have left years earlier.





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