THOUGHTS ON COMING TO WENNINGTON

 I now know that I am a Dyslectic, eighteen months before coming to Wennington I was illiterate. My infant & junior schools had not been any help, using epithets stupid, lazy, a late developer ect. My parents tried all the ways they could think of to get me help, but with no success. My mother was told by our G.P. that it was her right under the 1944 education act to have me accessed by a psychologist, this is how I meet Dr. C.L. Casimir. He did not use the word Dyslexia but the term “Word Blindness”. He arranged for me to be taught to read by an expert  one to one, in about six months. When I could read Dr. Casimir I needed to go somewhere that would help me catch up.

Dr.Casimir as well as working for Essex, he also worked for Surrey in Sutton where Mrs.Gyngell, Kenneth’s sister also worked, serendipity the Wennington connection.

I arrived at Wennington at the beginning of the summer term in1956, never having seen it. I was interview by Mrs.Gyngell at Sutton. I was 11 nearly 12 on arrival but was put into the junior school presumable because of my reading ability and lack of writing ability. Vivien Young the junior teacher was confused by me, but was not sensorial. In my time I learnt many things from teachers and non teaching staff. There was a normal amount of teenage angst, but this would have happened where ever I was. I remember with gratitude, and wish I had thanked them for their care and encouragement, Martin Eden, John Swift, Louie, Frances, Kenneth & Brian who awoke in me a love of poetry which has never left. I wish Dennis had of kept my nose to the mathematical grind stone a bit more. I left in the summer of 1961 by canoe with Richard Stanley, but that a story on it own, I was expecting to return in the autumn but was told by letter that as I was 16 my funding had been stopped. With hind sight, Martin Eden having left to marry, there would have been no technical drawing and I am not sure that Frank would have stretched me in metal work, so it was probable for the best. So there I was out in the world with no “O” levels and missing Wennington people and place. My dyslexia inhibited me from keeping in touch with friends by letter.

I ended up at a technical grammar school, very well equipped workshop but nothing interesting being made, to get some “O” levels. There and at night school I ended up with four, failed English language five times and gave up. Started work as a tool room apprentice in a local plastic moulding company. Spent six years one day and one night a week at night school. Managed to pass with credit a City & Guilds full technological certificate in the principles of engineering production, it still surprises me that they were able to read my exam papers. At the same time I met and courted my wife Linda, married and built a house, I am still married and live in the house we built. We have to children, a boy & girl who both work in education, plus two granddaughters.

Kenneth once told me I would spend my life in boring factories, I have spent most it in them from El Paso to Osaka and a few other places in between, they have not been boring! I became a member of the Institution of Production Engineers. I am still working part time three days a week making very nice clocks.

In conclusion  Frances and Kenneth did not just talk about how education should be changed but got on and did it their way. I am grateful for having been part of it.

 

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