The Camp School and failing my 11 plus.
In 1951 when I was five years old, I began my education at The Camp School in Kent. It was idyllic. Set in bluebell woods the school was made up of ex army huts from WW2. Each hut was surrounded by a garden where we grew our own vegetables. Those vegetables were used for our daily lunch eaten in the main hut.
Along with learning the three rs.- I remember days filled with colour, laughter, country dancing and much more.
Everyone walked to school….very few people had cars in those days. I remember certain teachers very fondly and to this day I still have good friends that I met there.
Then came the infamous 11 plus examination….taken when we were 11 years old. This examination was to determine our path through life. Those who passed went onto the Grammar School which lead to university and higher education…those who failed went to a secondary modern school, which lead to trades etc.
I failed the Eleven Plus twice!
I failed twice because I didn’t pass the IQ test. (intelligence quotient)
I now understand why. Back then, there was no understanding of left brain/right brain thinking.…or for that matter the word dyslexia had yet to be heard of. In short, it was all pretty black and white. My brain didn’t and still doesn’t work that way. I saw multiple answers for the IQ test rather than the one answer prescribed by the examiners…..
Along with the practical element of ‘what were my parents going to do with me – there was the strong emotional upset that this caused for me and probably many others
In hind sight failing the 11 plus was probably my first major rejection…the first of many to come!
I was fortunate in that my parents could send me to a small, private girls school, which is another story – or should I say the source of more vignettes. That school opened the door for me to go to art school when I was sixteen years old………something I will be forever grateful for.
So what did I learn from this rejection…..??? To pick myself up and get on with whatever fate had presented to me…and most importantly – to never give up.