Image by Caroline Forbes

The Minister for Exams

Brian Patten


The Minister for Exams

Brian Patten


Poem introduction

I left school when I was fifteen. It was a secondary modern school called Sefton Park, and now there's a supermarket where it stood. Just before I left, the careers officer called around to interview the entire school one by one. I think he gave us all about two minutes of his time. I said I wanted to be a writer, and he said I couldn't be a writer because I hadn't passed any exams. What he meant was the 11-plus and the 13-plus. Here's a poem called 'The Minister for Exams'.

Take a tour

Rachel Smith's tour

Visiting the Poetry Archive feels like browsing through your favourite bookshop and finding that all the books are now...

Take Rachel Smith's tour >