We went to the Imperial War Museum today. As well as the expected tanks and antiaircraft guns there were several exhibitions.
The one called `The Children’s War’ is a most interesting area to visit. There were photographs on a number of screens of children being evacuated. The photos then faded into a montage to show the child growing into an adult.
One fact stood out: In 1939 95% of children left school at 14. The1944 Education Act provided free secondary school education to all children up to the age of 15.
If teachers were in the 5% of children who stayed on for further education no wonder that teachers were revered, honoured and looked up to by the general population. How times have changed!
During the war children read books and comics about heroic efforts. Many librarians during the war found it difficult to get hold of books aimed at children.
J.K. Rowling writes books for children – but is read by children and adults alike. It is amazing to think of those children who will have their imagination captured by the one of her books. How those war time children would have loved the escapism that Harry Potter represents!
Three hours went by in a flash.
The children walking around the exhibition need to offer up a little prayer of thanks to their grand parents – and indeed to their great grand parents.
The school leaving age is could soon possibly be eighteen. Many more of our bright ten year olds will enjoy educational opportunities denied to the children who lived through the war. For that we are all very grateful. The eleven plus came in after the war.