Aspirations and Expectations

Sue Bush: B for Backward

Sue Bush was born in 1948 in London. At the age of three she was sent to Chailey Heritage, a residential special school in Sussex, where she stayed until she was sixteen, then going onto college in London.

Here Sue describes how the classes were arranged into categories in her school.


It was divided into three different types of pupils, it, it was kind of an early version of, there was sort of the A classes which was stood for Academic, and then there was the C classes which stood for Commercial, so if you were in an A class, you had like a grammar, you were the grammar stream and if you were the Commercial class, you learnt things like, shorthand, typing, book keeping, so you weren't considered quite as bright as the Academic classes and then they had the - this is the one I took real exception to at the time and still do, is the B classes which stood for Backward.

And I had a few friends in the Backward classes, they were a bit slow that was all, they weren't backward, but I remember our head, head teacher announcing to a, a bunch of visitors, some WI group from somewhere that, you know, my, one friend that was in there she was really upset she was upset for days because he would, took these people round he said 'Oh and this is our, this is 6B' or whatever it was, 'these are these are our backward children, they're not very able,' he just announced that in front of a whole class of children to strangers.

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