the Bradford Telegraph & Argus


"11 plus"

NAME: Carol Vorderman

AGE: 37

JOB: TV Presenter

Wetting her knickers in class was the low point of TV star Carol Vorderman's primary school career. But, as her meteoric rise has proven, it is possible to get over these little hiccups. After school in North Wales, Carol went on to Cambridge University to take a degree in engineering and later won a masters degree. In 1982 her eagle-eyed mum, then living in Leeds, spotted a newspaper article saying a new TV show Countdown was desperately seeking someone with keen powers of mental arithmetic for a new show on a soon-to-be-launched channel. Mum wrote off to the TV station, Carol was interviewed and the rest, as they say, is history. "I thought my mum was mad when she said she was writing off" said Carol during a visit to Bradford to launch a computers-in-school initiative. "But I was interviewed and tested and they liked me. "Carol loves the educational aspect of the show and the fact it bridges the age barrier with some champions barely into their teens. She already has links with Bradford's schools and was a governor at Dixon's CTC when it first opened - a role she was forced to give up on moving to London. Here in a special 11 plus, Carol looks back at her own school days...

1) Schools attended?

Two Roman Catholic Schools in Rhyl, North Wales, called Ysgol Mair and Blessed Edward Jenkins.

2) Exams passed?

12 O-levels and 3 A-levels.

3) Favourite subjects?

I loved maths and I had an excellent maths teacher.

4) Worst subject?

I hated art. I couldn't do the drawing. Now, you can design things on a computer without having to do the freehand stuff.

5) Most memorable moment at school?

Dodging games. I had a PE teacher who was awful. Now girls are allowed to do games in tracksuits, but in those days we had to put on those stupid short skirts and go on a cross country run or play hockey in the freezing cold.

6) Did you have any embarrassing moments at school?

In primary school I wet my knickers. I was about four, I was painting and I had a jam jar full of water when it happened. I was so embarrassed that to cover the fact I had wet my knickers I spilt the jam jar full of water all over the floor so you couldn't see the puddle.

7) Favourite Teacher?

Mr Jemmett, who was our head teacher in primary school. I still see him from time to time and he used to say there were no excuses. He was afunny man and on a Monday he used to thank God if Manchester United won.

8) First-ever school sweetheart?

Julian Ellis in primary school. My best friend Debbie and I used to chase him around the school playing field trying to kiss him.

9) Who was your best friend and have you kept in touch?

Debbie at primary school, but we have not kept in touch, and Sandy Owen at secondary school. I still keep in touch with Sandy and she came on when I was on This Is Your Life.

10) Were you ever bullied at school?

No, I always managed to befriend the bullies.

11) Were you ever punished at school?

Only when I was a small child. I got the cane for playing slaphand, which when I look back now I think was a bit harsh.

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