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 Post subject: Why was Len going to Oxford?
PostPosted: 13 Mar 2018, 21:39 
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This was triggered by the post 'After Prefects'. Surely someone wanting to teach modern languages at a multilingual school would go to university in Europe? I would have thought Switzerland would be ideal, there must be some places where French and German are taught together. I don't mean to diss Oxford in any way, but Len was said to be fluent in German, French and Swyzerdeusch (??) and seems to be learning Spanish as well. Immersion in a culture with English as a very secondary language would seem to be ideal for her; or did EBD just play it safe because she knew nothing about European universities ( she didn't seem to know much about applying to British ones, either!).


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 Post subject: Re: Why was Len going to Oxford?
PostPosted: 13 Mar 2018, 21:54 
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EBD seems to've been very keen on Oxford. No-one went to Cambridge. A few people went to London or Edinburgh, but the vast majority of girls going on to university went to Oxford. Other than Simone, I can't remember anyone going to a Continental university.

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 Post subject: Re: Why was Len going to Oxford?
PostPosted: 13 Mar 2018, 23:52 
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Let's face it, EBD didn't intend Len to teach modern languages for the rest of her life, did she? Len was slated to a lifetime of darning Reg's socks and producing many children, probably even the quads that her parents didn't manage.

We may not see Len that way but our beloved author did so she wouldn't have imagined anything other than Oxford.


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 Post subject: Re: Why was Len going to Oxford?
PostPosted: 14 Mar 2018, 01:09 
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Probably EBD didn't know much abiut European unis although she did rattle on about the Sorbonne.

EBD might have seen Len with lots of kids but I don't - two is the limit!


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 Post subject: Re: Why was Len going to Oxford?
PostPosted: 14 Mar 2018, 08:43 
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I don't know if there were issues with fees for overseas students, but I'm not sure EBD would've considered that. No-one ever fills in an application form or goes for an interview, and the comment about Roger Richardson "putting his name down" for university just says it all!

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 Post subject: Re: Why was Len going to Oxford?
PostPosted: 14 Mar 2018, 09:15 
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I think in EBD world Len wouldn't be an overseas student (despite the fact that she's lived more out of the UK than in it)


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 Post subject: Re: Why was Len going to Oxford?
PostPosted: 14 Mar 2018, 09:38 
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claire wrote:
I think in EBD world Len wouldn't be an overseas student (despite the fact that she's lived more out of the UK than in it)
Yes, I think so too. As for why Oxford, it's obviously THE university in EMBD's view - even to the extent of Mary-Lou's reading archaeology, an undergraduate course which didn't exist at Oxford at that point, and barely existed there at postgraduate level. That's perhaps the most obvious example of the 'not Cambridge' prejudice, as the Cambridge archaeology course was a leading one, and one of the obvious to have chosen.


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 Post subject: Re: Why was Len going to Oxford?
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2018, 15:54 
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Have just gained access to my old school's magazines and have been flicking through the ones published annually in the 1960s. The school had its own Miss Bubb moment with a new headmistress and in her first editorial in 1961 she states that GCE A level results will be published in the magazine from then on. She states that this is to recognise the importance of academic attainment as well as participation in other activities. Each year, the number of A levels achieved rises and the emphasis switches from arts to science. By the end of the decade, most of the students are going to university or further training. Only one goes to Oxford and one to Cambridge! One pupil goes straight to "marriage" - Joey would probably have approved!

The magazine also includes articles about university interviews and visits and life at university written by former pupils. A more realistic reflection of the university entrance system than EBD's!


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 Post subject: Re: Why was Len going to Oxford?
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2018, 16:15 
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There were plenty of non-British girls in Len's year, even if most of them did appear very suddenly in the last few books. Presumably Carmela Walther, Marie Huber, Maria Zinkel, Jeanne Daudet etc wouldn't have been going to Oxford, but we're never told where they are going, AFAIK. I'm not sure how well up EBD was on Continental universities: it always seemed odd that Gottfried should have been studying in NW Germany (Bonn).

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 Post subject: Re: Why was Len going to Oxford?
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2018, 16:54 
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....the fact that she's lived more out of the UK than in it

Perhaps that was why she wanted to go to England. She was nine when they went to Canada, wasn't she, and she only knew Armishire, and Carnbach/St Briavel's. And if her plan (pre-Reg) was to teach in English schools, going to an English university and getting accustomed to life in England would be sensible. She'd have a better idea of where in England she might want to live and work if she got to know it a bit.


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 Post subject: Re: Why was Len going to Oxford?
PostPosted: 15 Mar 2018, 23:52 
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The CS system uses the UK school exams, so applying to UK universities would probably be more straightforward for their students (although they don't seem to take entrance exams or anything like that). Is there a UK equivalent to the US SATs that foreign students could take?

University-wise, Oxford is definitely EBD's favourite. The London School of Economics, and London University are next, and more girls attend (or want to) the Sorbonne than Cambridge! There are two girls who go to Edinburgh, as well. Other than that, lots of girls who go to Chelsea or Bedford and the Royal College of Music, and a few to the Paris Conservatoire or Ecole des Beaux Arts. Swanley (for gardening) and Circencester (for agriculture) are also mentioned.

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 Post subject: Re: Why was Len going to Oxford?
PostPosted: 16 Mar 2018, 08:50 
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I teach pre-undergraduate international students at a UK university. Many of them have attended international schools and gained A-Levels or International Baccalaureate but if they hold a passport from a country where English is not the national language they also have to undertake an international English language exam. This is standard throughout the UK and I believe a requirement set by the government. I do know that an international French language exam is required for entry to French universities too. Perhaps Len was too scared (or not good enough :devil: ) to take international language exams so that’s why she chose England


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 Post subject: Re: Why was Len going to Oxford?
PostPosted: 27 Mar 2018, 23:00 
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I always wondered why it was always Oxford. Poor Cambridge! And I don't think the likes of Durham or Manchester, my alma mater, get a look in either.


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