In the UK, we’ve just had two reality TV series where school kids have been put through a 1950’s style education. There have been two series, one following kids into a 50’s grammar school and the second has been about a Secondary Modern.

A note for my international readers. In the 1950’s the UK (or at least England & Wales) made school kids take an exam at the age of 11 and those that passed went to Grammar school and pursued a mainly academic curriculum, while those that didn’t pass the exam, went mainly to schools known as Secondary Modern. These undertook basic academic training but also pursued preparation for trades apprenticeships. Actually, the sexism in curriculum planning was immense with boys doing auto-mechanics, carpentry and brick laying, while the girls did home economics (cooking, later to become domestic science, and today Food Technology), needlework (now Design & Technology (Fabrics) etc.

Not surprisingly, during the secondary modern series, we had one girl walk out due to the no-tolerance approach teaching staff took with student behaviour vs. the school’s expectations. However, on the whole the boys enjoyed being allowed to diversify their school activities into the practical while the girls resented the trivialisation of their ambitions.

The series was called “That’ll teach them”.

Sugar & Spice
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