I like to think I have grown out of a reflexive fixation on British quirkiness, that strange combination of mascotization, obsessive pigtail-pulling, and lack of perspective that characterizes so much of white American interest in white Britishness, that focuses almost exclusively on oddities in nomenclature. But when Grace reminded me the other day of what first-graders what her old school were called (“Shells”) and why (“It’s a contraction of “Sharing,” which is itself a contraction of “Fresh Herring”), I lost myself to myself. Here, then, is the British school system, as I see it.
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