One of the most popular books of the twentieth century was `How Green is My Valley’. I recall one section of the book vividly. It was when the hero, Morgan, was moved from Standard 4 to Standard 6.
While he was out of the room the boys broke his pencil box into three pieces.
The pencils were cut up, ink was on his books and everything was broken.
He vowed to fight the boys who had broken his pencil box one by one.
The pencil box was over a hundred years old and had been used by three scholars before him.
He had his first fight before he went home – and was hopelessly beaten.
His father, when he arrived home, taught him to fight. The advice he gave was: “The best fighter is the one that can slip under a punch and give two in return.”
Before Morgan went back to school he repaired the pencil box as best he could.
As the days went by he was trained to box by a real fighter – and went on to beat up the boy that had abused him on his first day in the new school.
Morgan, you see, was attending school so that he could win a place at Oxford. In those days, just as today, Oxford was the ultimate prize.
Today’s parents know full well that their children will not have to fight on their first day at the new school. Boxing is no longer offered within the curriculum. Few children will have wooden pencil boxes. Even fewer children, however able, will be allowed to `jump’ a class.
Yet the fierce burning desire to succeed is still within some of our Eleven Plus children. Not all children have to be coerced to study. Some children just aim for the best and work hard to achieve that goal. If your child is one of the children with vision and determination then we wish you, and your child, every good fortune.