I repeated my first year due to performance and demographic squeeze in 1965. This was at a time when it was the student’s responsibility to learn, not the teacher’s responsibility to get the student educated. I was very far from the brightest student, but as the son of a farm worker, it offered the opportunity to do better stuff. I remember many inspirational teachers, especially Doug Little, Pete Smeltzer, Messrs. Beck, Bridges and Lang. I maintained my place in ‘S’ stream when you could have ‘Fast’, ‘Medium’ and ‘Slow’ streams. That’s not too PC these days. I tenaciously stuck at it though and got recognition for that.
After ‘A’ level disaster I went straight into industry. I took subsequent day release to get a Royal Society of Chemistry degree at 27 from the University of Hertfordshire, which was then Hatfield Polytechnic. I worked for several large global companies, GSK, Dow Chemicals, etc., then worked for a few years for myself, and obtained much peer review appreciation.
Now I review and decide upon applications for Chartered Scientist status through my Institute. I am retired but still active on LinkedIn … look me up as “Ian W Cooper”, just the 3,300+ followers. Cf. Social media this way that’s minimal, but these are significant folks.