Short interview with a child who left school early about his experiences in education.
Q. Would you tell me something about the school you went to?
A. Yes, it was one of the big new schools on the other side of the river, with more than a thousand kids, and smashing workshops and everything.
Q. Did you want to stay there longer?
Q. Could you, if you wanted to?
A. Oh yes, a lot of them did, but I like to be out.
Q. What did your parents think about it?
A. They wouldn't have minded. Keeping me there longer I mean.
Q. What did you expect to do when you left?
A. Well, I could get a job in a garage, but a mate of mine got me in here. I want to get a job as a driver when I can get a licence. I can drive, and I want to get on the lorries afterwards. But I don't mind this job because I like getting about and I wouldn't like a job inside anyway. I might get a job in the building, driving I mean. I wouldn't mind that.
Q. Could you have learned something more about motor engineering if you had stayed at school?
A. Well, I did. We did all about motor engines when I was there. Stripping them down and grinding them in and all that.
Q. Who were your friends at school? Were they the people in the same year or the people from where you live? Did any of them stay on?
A. They were mostly the same lot from the flats where I live. I still go around with them in the evenings. Mostly they came from the flats and some of them went to the same school as me and some didn't. We all left as soon as we could. It wasn't that we didn't like the place, but we just wanted to go out and get a job. See a bit of life, you know. There were one or two kids that stayed of course, but I didn't see much of them. The brainy ones all sit for the GCE and they don't go out dancing or they haven't got bikes because they haven't got time. But I wasn't a scholar and I wasn't sorry I left. They haven't got the money either, which I have.
Q. Do you think they could have done more for you at school?
A. Well it's not a crime to leave is it? I mean, some kids got apprenticeships or things like that, but I didn't want to be tied down and I couldn't have got in on one anyway. There were some things I like about that school and some things I didn't
Q. Such as?
A. Some of them treated you like kids all the time, and they had a down on you if you made cracks about history and things like that. Some were all right though. There was one who was a bit of a lad. I liked him, he wasn't like a teacher at all.
Q. What was he supposed to be teaching?
A. Well, English. Only he was always talking about what was going on or what we'd seen on TV or the films, and what was good about them and whether it was true what they said about them in the papers. He used to get us to come up to the West End and see plays and shows and write about what was good or bad about them.
A. What did you see?
A. "West Side Story" and the "Hostage" and all these shows. He got the tickets.
Q. Do you ever go now?
A. Well, I'm buying a bike now, but I have seen a few shows since I left. Only I usually go around with the same bunch from our way.
EARLY LEAVER is now 16, but left the comprehensive school which he attended at the minimum statutory age of 15. He works as a messenger for a firm of photo-printers.