Gary Sutton

Gary Sutton, media analyst, screen-writer and journalist, writes about a defining moment in his education.

My Catholic primary school had a deserved reputation for success at the 11+ examination. What we did – and what other schools in the area failed to do – was hold mock 11+ exams in the weeks approaching the real thing, so on the day of the proper test, we were seasoned, and unsurprised. Passing the 11+ secured a place at the local grammar school and a path to a successful middle-class future. Failure led to the local secondary modern, skewing one’s opportunities towards a blue-collar job.

I was particularly adept at the kind of thinking required by IQ tests like the 11+. There was little doubt that I would pass. My best friend Pascal was a prodigiously gifted artist and seemed no less intelligent than me. But the nature of the 11+ meant that his chances of passing it were slim.

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