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The Grammar Schools Debate: Old 'grammarians' find cause for contentment

SOME former grammar school pupils who went on to greater things look back on their education:

Sir Rhodes Boyson, Haslingden Grammar School: 'I was at a small country grammar school in Lancashire and there were only 250 pupils, with a small sixth form of about 30, but we got to university and it changed our lives.'

Alan Bleasdale, Wade Deacon Grammar School: 'Grammar school was hell. Absolute hell. Until I got to the sixth form . . . One of the major influences in my life was my English teacher when I was 14. He gave me confidence. If he had been a science teacher I'd be making nuclear bombs by now.'

Mary Whitehouse, Chester City Grammar School: 'There were only a few scholarship girls and most of the children were the children of paying parents. We were known as scholarship girls - we were rather in a class apart. I was happy . . . The pressure to do well and get everything was very great.'

Sir Bernard Ingham, Hebden Bridge Grammar School: 'Going to grammar school was definitely considered to be the thing . . . The teachers were disciplinarians. Some scared me. They were the worst ones - those who encouraged you and found a way to excite your interest while exercising discipline were the best.'

Michael Frayn, Kingston Grammar School: 'I only got moved to a grammar school because my father ran out of money to pay the fees . . . I thought I was sinking into the depths. It turned out to be a very decent school. And the educational standards were much higher than the private school. A good number went on to Oxford and Cambridge. It's now become a private school.'