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Wednesday, August 5, 1998 Published at 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK


School standards minister failed A levels

Estelle Morris flunked English and French

As students wait anxiously for exam results the School Standards Minister, Estelle Morris, has recalled her own disappointment at not passing her A levels.

It meant she could not go to university, but at the time the failure was no obstacle to her becoming a teacher instead.

As a schoolgirl in Manchester, Estelle Morris sat A level exams in English and French, but failed both.

Without the qualifications to study for a degree she enrolled on a teacher training course at Coventry College of Education.

Her recent promotion in the government reshuffle means that she will be responsible for driving up standards in schools and ensuring that the teaching profession attracts the brightest students, rather than those who cannot get into anything else.

The School Standards Minister recalled in an interview with the Daily Mail that in a girls' grammar school 30 years ago the most able pupils went to university while the rest went into teaching and nursing.

The minister's memories of exam failure at Whalley Range High School in 1970 have pushed her to recognise the importance of today's children fulfilling their academic potential, as she recalls her own surprise at finding that she had not passed.

If Estelle Morris had failed her A levels today she would not be able to move so easily into teaching, which has become a graduate profession.

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