I failed my eleven-plus in the winter of 1969
My father was not best pleased
My cousin
A year older than me
Had failed the year previous
Which was some small consolation although we were both expected to pass

The secondary school became a middle school
And two years later everyone went to the high school

But it was always an us and them situation

The kids who had passed and those who had not
And the teachers knew it
And we knew it
And the caretaker
And the bus driver
And the dinner ladies knew it
And those who had shone a little
Were streamed with the high school kids who had not shone

And I lost the plot somewhere around then

Arriving in the third year ill equipped to face the music of their world

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