Ike describes his school days.
IG: And I sailed through the scholarship so I went to the grammar school and I was one of 7% of the kids that got there without any further testing and another 10% got there with further testing.
So of course they expected great things of me and there wasn’t anything great there; I came bottom of every class or close to the bottom three terms running. So they transferred me from the A Form to the B Form and after I’d still come close to the bottom they thought ‘well we better gee this fella up a bit’ so they put me back into the A Form with the hope that it would gee me up a bit…it didn’t. I was still close to the bottom three terms running.
And then they put me into, they had a lower and an upper five, they put me into the lower 5B and my brain must have gone into action at last and I came top of the class three terms running and got the Form prize, which I still think is rather spectacular.
And then I was forced into taking eight subjects in School Certificate and it was the last year of the School Certificate and one subject I’d taken all the way through, which was French…And nobody had ever told me what the hell the point was in learning a foreign language. They’d tried me in the school in learning German for one year, Latin for one year and French for six years and I failed the French and I also failed technical drawing. I was useless at the French, I’d never paid any attention at all.
I did get six subjects, which was School Certificate, but I didn’t get a foreign language and of the A and B Forms only six kids got a credit in maths and I was one of them which was surprising because I was in the B Form at that stage. And then I wanted to leave, I was sixteen and wanted to leave.
INT: Had the war finished by this time?
IG: It must have done, yeah.