The Royal High School

Attendance at the Royal High School became more and more of a penance. The attitude of many teachers towards pupils was deplorable. They seemed to regard us as something of a nuisance and an interruption to their daily routine. There were exceptions. One devoted history teacher came up with a scheme by which any pupil who discovered a genuine error in any history text would be awarded an extra one per cent in the term examination. The enthusiasm with which his pupils combed their texts for mistakes was impressive, though there were rumours that their parents had been drawn into the research. Inevitably, a market economy developed around this precious information. Confident boys placed suspected errors on the market, charging rates according to the probability of acceptance. It was good practice for life, of a kind.

In the autumn of 1935, my father saw an advertisement for a Civil Service competition for a single appointment as a sorting clerk and telegraphist, and announced that I should apply. Sons in those days did exactly what their fathers told them to do, or at least I did, so at the age of 16 I sat for the examination. I took first place in the city, to my own astonishment and my familys, and on the morning the brown envelope came my father told me that I could leave school that day. I went to the Rectors office and told him that I was going. The Rector, a very elevated person named Dr King Gillies, told me in omniscient tones that I was being very foolish, that I could expect only to become a butchers delivery boy the ultimate social disgrace. I spoiled his day by showing him the letter from the Civil Service Commission. And so my formal education ended.


7.What does the writer say about his school days in the first paragraph?

A They made him more competitive than he otherwise would have been.

B He feels that his attitude towards them was not totally justified.

C Something that happened then taught him about human nature.

D The action of one teacher caused problems for him in particular.

8.What does the writer imply about the Rector?

A He was not as highly respected as he thought he was.

B He did not like being proved wrong.

C He was sad that the writer was leaving school.

D He disagreed with what the writer's father had done.

11. You will read the authors reminiscences and contemplations about the social value of education. For questions 1-6, choose the answer (A, B, C or D) which fits best according to what you read.


  1. At the Library. My School Library. (1)
  2. Crossing the school's threshold
  3. Different phonological schools and their concept of phoneme
  4. Education in Great Britain: Schools
  5. Elementary Schools
  6. English Schools
  7. History and Leading Scientists of the School
  8. History of the School
  9. History of the School
  10. History of the School
  11. History of the School
  12. History of the School

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A Child of My Time | A Proper Education by Jack Blackwood

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