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To change, I had to leave by Kevan Thompson


Being the son of a Yorkshire Miner becoming an artist was not an option, I had to get a real job. Sadly as I discovered in the eyes of my father I had even failed in this pursuit and in later years we became estranged due to his abusive behaviour towards my mother.

In primary school teachers regarded, ‘My father was a ‘Bad un’, so I would be, little expectation was made of me. In high school my brother had developed a reputation as a trouble maker so I was tarred with the same brush. Two inspirational teachers influenced my behaviour and shaped what I would eventually become.

I kicked against an educational system of low expectation which prepared boys for a career in the mines, railways or glass-works. The result was that I would be the first person in my family’s history to follow an academic route into Higher Education beginning with Teacher Training College and later University to successfully complete two Master Degrees. I have been married for 40 years, we have 3 beautiful, intelligent, successful and Independent daughters. To change I had to leave so they didn’t have to.

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Ragged University is in partnership with the Working Class Academics conference sharing its ideals and love of open intellectual spaces

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