VIDEO: Editor goes back to school

Belinda Bennett recalls the days when young people in Honiton were divided by an education system which favoured a few at the expense of the rest.

THE editor of the Midweek Herald, Belinda Bennett, went back to school last night (Thursday) to present awards to students at Honiton Community College.

Belinda, who went to the school between 1977 and 1982, was guest speaker at the event, attended by Year 10 and 11 students, as well as sixth form achievers and parents.

Instead of giving a speech, Belinda showed a four-minute film which she made to chart the school’s journey from secondary to comprehensive status.

The film explained how young people in Honiton had been divided by compulsory selective education, which saw some go to the former grammar school, in Ottery St Mary, and the rest sent to Honiton Secondary School.

Opportunities were limited, but students at the secondary school excelled in the competitive sphere - thanks to the former house system. The houses, Mackarness, Marwood, Courtney and Fortescue, were named after important figures in Honiton’s history - three doctors and a rector.

Honiton Secondary School was granted comprehensive status in 1980 and Honiton Community College was born.

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Since then, there has been an explosion in opportunities available to young people in Honiton - opportunities that they are taking.

After the presentation, Belinda said: “One of the many dubious ‘opportunities’ available to us in the 1970s was to learn how to iron clothes.

“A Miss Jones encouraged us to bring in a tea towel to practise on.

“To me, that was the State preparing us to be housewives - because we weren’t considered intelligent enough to do much else.

“But, as every savvy housewife knows, if you don’t overload the tumble drier, there’s hardly any need for ironing!”

Re-visit this website shortly for a full list of award winners and details of two extraordinary performances given by talented students during the presentation night.

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