Sixth Form Size

Jon Bratton writes...
I read in the 'Memories of Gateshead Grammar' book something said by Arthur England Intake Year 1949 "The sixth form was small, with only about twenty two in our year..." .In the same book Jeff Child Intake Year 1947 says "Most students left school after obtaining O Levels at age 16 to embark upon their chosen careers. Only about 30 students moved up into First Year 6th, a roughly equal number in 2nd Year Sixth."
 I have checked in the Speech Day Programmes for the Sixties and it would appear that only about 25 in several different year groups stayed on for A Levels..that is, from an Intake of 120, only about 15% seemed to stay on. 
That may seem surprising for the period after the 1947 implementation of Rab Butler's 1944 Education Act , and the political transformations from the 1950s, when free University places were available to all, but I was in the top stream of Intake Year 1960 and I recall telling people, over the years, that more than half of the A stream, most of the B and all the C and D streams left with O Levels because then there was virtually nothing in industry and commerce that wasn't available to you with five O Levels, including Maths and English. It was, for example, sufficient for me to start (and finish) the Chartered Insurance Institute examinations and this was true for accountancy, banking and many other professions. A Levels and a subsequent degree was necessary to join the teaching profession and that's what perhaps most of the 15% stayer-ons did least up until the Fifties/Sixties. For most of the life of the school free university education had only been available for those wanting a career in school teaching. You had to be wealthy or win a university scholarship to pursue any other career that required a degree.
By contrast to what I did, 20 or so years on, my nephew, after the dumbing down of the exams, needed the degree he got from University, to start the Chartered Insurance examinations. Unlike me, he never finished the course but then he had done 5 years more study than me before even starting the course and was, by then, fed up with exams!
John Niven Intake Year 1948 tells this tale in the aforesaid "Memories" book..a slight variation on my experience "My stay in the sixth form was not to be long...I was offered the possibility of a career in the National Provincial Bank by the manager of the local branch...I had struggled to grasp the concepts of calculus.. I attended a formal interview...and began work at the Swinburne Street office..."
Times have changed and I'm sure the process of dumbing down of the exams has achieved nothing useful.
Let me finish by telling you of my best pal at GGS. He did A Levels, went to Uni to drink York dry.. then quit. He got a job in a shop, did some further part time studies and hey presto a few years on became a multi millionaire! I shan't name him but a Google search of "multi millionaire gateshead grammar" will reveal all!
Begging letters to him will do you no good. Trust me, I should know!