I realized we were different, really different, on a rainy morning in 1987. I was in an assembly at the 1960s shoddy built concrete comprehensive school in our local town. I was thirteen or so years old. Sitting surrounded by a mass of other academic non-achievers listening to an old battle-weary teacher lecturing us how we should aim to be more than just farmworkers, joiners, brickies, electricians, and hairdressers. We were basically sorted aged twelve between those deemed intelligent (who were sent to a "grammar school") and those of us that weren't (who stayed at the "comprehensive"). Her words flowed past us without registering, a sermon she'd delivered many times before. It was a waste of time and she knew it. We were firmly set, like our fathers and grandfathers, mothers and grandmothers before us, on being what we were, and had always been. Plenty of us were bright enough, but we had no intention of displaying it in school. It would have been dangerous.
- From The Shepherd's Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape by James Rebanks