L.C.C. Junior County Scholarship & Polytechnic Free Place

I took the examinations in 1935.  It was about 70 years later that I appreciated their value from the following passages in The Quintin School (1886-1956) by L.C.B. Seaman (Downing College):-

Examination successes being the declared aim, an immediate raising of the standard demanded of entrants to the school was necessary. There were three sources of entry. There were those who secured free tuition and a maintenance grant from the L.C.C. on their showing in the Junior County Scholarship examination. This was the fiercely competitive counterpart of the modern "eleven plus" examination. Any child who could overcome this hurdle was bound to be good academic material, for it was exclusively an attainment test in English and Arithmetic, and was designed to keep most children from getting scholarships to grammar schools rather than to let a good proportion of them in. Success depended on much more than aptitude, or "intelligence," and the standard required in both English and Arithmetic was much higher than that reached by the average grammar school entrant now. The second group were those who, by passing the Polytechnic School's Free Place examination, secured free tuition, but no grant. Since these boys would be a somewhat lesser charge on other people's money than scholarship boys, this examination was a little easier; but P.A. (P. Abbott, Headmaster of the Polytechnic School) saw to it that it wasn't much easier. Finally, there, were the large number who came to the school as fee payers. For most of them there was a fee payers' examination. Since this was to admit boys whose parents would pay good money it could not be impossibly stiff, but P.A. of set purpose made it almost as hard as his Free Place examination.

For somewhat unusual reasons, the writer can speak feelingly about the standards of these examinations. Between 1922 and 1923 he sat for the L.C.C. Junior County Scholarship examination (which he failed) for the Polytechnic Free Place examination (which he also failed) and the Polytechnic fee payers' entrance examination (and nearly failed that as well). As a sort of insurance, he also took the fee payers' entrance examination of another well established London grammar school, known to this day as a friendly rival to the Quintin School. This examination he passed with ease: compared with the arithmetic paper P.A.'s staff set, this other school's questions were child's play.

Perhaps the reason why I did not rate my successes highly was that I failed the Haberdashers' Aske's Scholarship examination!