‘I lived down the road from you’: Exploring power and identity, then and now
I spent my childhood and early adulthood in Bristol, and after a lengthy absence I returned to take up my current position at the University of the West of England and was asked to present a professorial inaugural lecture. The inaugural lecture is a formal celebration of the professor’s appointment to which colleagues, family and friends are invited; it can bring together their differing (perhaps even conflicting) worlds. The audience is both academic, with guests from across the field, and lay, and in these ways offers a different set of challenges to that of the standard academic lecture or conference presentation. For these reasons I turned away from my usual interest in the education policies of the European Union, and focused instead on the policy that structured my own schooling – the 1944 Education Act with its tripartite system of grammar, technical and secondary education determined by an ‘intelligence’ test, the 11-plus, taken during the last year of primary school.