A lesson to learn

MPMC fundraising postcard for St Dunstans
MPMC fundraising postcard for St Dunstans
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Regarding education, a few years ago some little horror asked me what was the point of school? “Don’t learn nuffin useful”. Which I suppose if you’re hot wiring motors is probably true. But of course one had to put him on the straight and narrow. And so I gently soothed, “Well, be no longer perplexed, my little puzzled pickle, for in the society which you happen to pollute it’s just the way it is”–silently reflecting upon what earthly use an O level in ‘Greek Literature in Translation’ has ever been to me in adult life. “So look upon it as a key, with which when unleashed from the cloisters of learning you can use to unlock the escape hatch from the purgatory that usually awaits the expendable underclass; of call centres or distribution warehouses, many of which appear to be some form of holding centre for care in the community.

Because when looking for candidates to promote, who’s an employer going to prefer? Some doughnut who messed about at school playing Jack the Prat, or someone with the proven resolve and self discipline to gain qualifications, accept responsibility, and rise above the herd.” And on the subject of cows, one possessed of such resolve was Henry Tattam.

At North Marston he was the son of a tenant of Camden Neild, Queen Victoria’s miserly benefactor, and whilst milking his father’s cows he would continue his study of Greek by suspending his book on a piece of weighted cord, thrown over the cow’s back.

In fact his potential was such that uncharacteristically Neild paid to educate the boy, who, following University, took holy orders and eventually became Archdeacon of Bedford. Another of the “right stuff” was Arthur Pearson. Born in 1866 he was the son of a Drayton Parslow rector, and entering a competition run by a magazine he would cycle two or three times a week to Bedford library to research the information.

His diligence paid off and he won a clerkship at 100 pounds per annum. In later life he founded the Daily Express and when he unfortunately went blind he founded the now famous St Dunstans, which in the first instance provided assistance to soldiers and sailors blinded in the First World War.

So to recap, there’s no excuse for wasting the opportunities that education provides. And to those adults whingeing how they ought to have paid more attention at school the response is quite simple. Well you didn’t. So, tough.