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Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Gentlemen and Players

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Gentlemen and Players

A Novel

by Joanne Harris

Gentlemen and Players
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2006, 432 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2007, 448 pages

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Beyond the Book

The English School System
Established in medieval times, the original purpose of grammar schools was to educate select members of the young in the grammar of Latin and other useful topics.

In 1944 England established a tripartite education system which placed grammar schools at the top of the heap. Less gifted children (as defined by those who failed an entrance exam at the age of eleven) attended either secondary modern schools or technical schools. In the 1960s the Labour government tried to do away with the grammar school system by introducing comprehensive schools which taught all ability levels.

In response, some grammar schools moved to a fee paying system but retained their "grammar school" designation, and some managed to fly under the radar long enough to escape the Labour axe and survived into the Conservative Maggie Thatcher years; thus, in a few English counties, grammar schools still exist as an option within the state education system.

Some others (...

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