I came across an old school magazine from the grammar school I attended in Cambridge. In those days all children took an exam in the academic year that they were eleven, called the 11+, and you were allotted the school according to the result. Broadly speaking there were grammar schools for children who were deemed more academic, and secondary modern schools which were more vocational; in some areas there were also technical high schools which were definitely for young people who wanted to learn a trade. There is still an ongoing debate as the whether this system should be brought back and I guess there are strong arguments on both sides… however, I went to a grammar school.
My school was the Cambridgeshire High School for Girls, usually called just the County and I spent five on the whole very happy years there until my family moved to the west country when I was sixteen. each year the girls produced a magazine and I came across them recently and it is amazing to look through them, the forgotten names springing off the page and reminding me of people I last saw when they were teenagers. I was rather taken with the charming drawing by Janice Chapman who would have been twelve or thirteen when she drew it. The poem by Barbara Pulleyblank was no doubt inspired by the Viet-Nam War, the racial strife in the USA and the lingering despair over the assassination of Kennedy and the shadow of the Cold War. I wonder what the poems of today’s teenagers are like, and what anxiety and despair they express about their world?