Graham Manning

(at KEGS 1959-1966) writing in 2019

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I went up to the Grammar School in 1959 from the little village primary school in Whepstead. I was the only boy from the village school to pass the 11+, as the entrance exam was then called. I had an uneventful time at King Edward’s, but I now look back with gratitude, as I suppose that I was one of the bright working class boys that the system was designed to help. And it did.

After ‘O’ levels I had been expected to leave and find work, but to everyone’s surprise, I did very well and gained good results. So, on the first day of the September term in 1964 I presented myself to the Headteacher, the formidable Mr Elliott, and announced that I wanted to go into the Sixth form. He was most sceptical. By that stage my subject options were very limited, and so I was slotted into whichever subjects best suited him. I left after unexceptional ‘A’ level results in July 1966 and went up to London to work in the Ministry of Technology, in what was then the London Docks. From there I progressed to the College of Education in Streatham, and then the University of London where I gained a B.Ed in 1970 and M.Ed in 1975. I taught Science for several years, became a Deputy Head of a large secondary school in Essex, an Education Officer in a London Borough and then moved to Cambridgeshire as Area Education Officer. I still work there, although now on a part-time basis, dealing with school admissions and admission appeals for places in oversubscribed schools.

I live now in Boxted, just a few miles south of Bury, in an isolated farmhouse in the middle of the fields. My family of five children and eight grandchildren are scattered around the area, and life is comfortable. And as each year passes my memories of King Edward’s become more cherished.