What makes this spare, sad account of an avoidable, mournful little moment in our history is that the school involved was being attended, at exactly this time, by Theresa May, or Theresa Brasier as she was then. It was Holton Park girls' grammar school, a few miles outside the City of Oxford (close to Forest Hill where John Milton's wife grew up) now long merged into the Wheatley Park comprehensive. Mrs May was for a while the Tory shadow Education Secretary. She was on BBC Question Time on Thursday last week, defending David Cameron's policy on grammar schools.It seems it is not only Labour politicians who feel compelled to blur the truth about their education.
Now, here's the interesting thing. Mrs May joined Holton Grammar at the age of 13 (later than the usual 11) from a private school, in 1969. She then had about two years of grammar school education. And she completed her schooling at a new comprehensive, successfully enough to win a place at St Hugh's, then a women-only college at Oxford. But in 'Dod's Parliamentary Companion', the more detailed 'Who's Who' for MPs, she sums up her secondary schooling as 'Educated at Wheatley Park Comprehensive School'. As you see, it's a lot more complicated than that. And I don't think she needed to use the word 'comprehensive' when describing her school.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Theresa May's schooldays
In the course of a column describing the change in culture brought about by the merger of a grammar and comprehensive school near Oxford, Peter Hitchens casts an interesting light on the schooldays of Theresa May: