In hindsight I should have formed a new club while at school, as there certainly seemed to be a fair spread of like-minded individuals around me.

Lads who shared a common bond every time the school reports were issued.

Reports which in many cases, I'm sure, were to gauge how long a parent handed the thing could shake their heads for.


For we shared a bond, we many lads.

We bore official school reports which all featured the words "could do better" somewhere in them.

They also tended to feature only the occasional "B" in a stream of "Cs".

Which would often be greeted by a C and D-laden cobber with "ya show-off".

However, I do have a couple of faded old reports from the 60s which also bear the remark "has shown improvement".

This was usually spotted in the end of year ones after we'd been given the mid-year rev-up.

Although my history teacher during the fourth form (kids ask your parents) left a memorable summation of that year.

While he did note I was genuinely interested in some facets of events in times gone by I was "prone to infantile lapses".


So yep, I sat in the "average" group and there was a good number of us, but as the years stack up you tend to become more conscious of learning things and finding things out.

I got school cert (once again kids ask your parents) in four out of five subjects, only stalling badly in maths, so effectively got away with it.

Going back to that school reports C grading, I guess it was pretty spot on given my high school years took place in 3C, 4C and 5C.

It were the lads of 3A, 3B etc who took the academic prizes and rightly so, of course.

The neat thing was though, they were just like us of the slightly lower echelons and enjoyed a laugh, a spot of mischief and a good lash at sport.

It had been that way also in the primary years where kids of all stages and abilities of learning assembled in the classes together, rather than be sent along an A, B or C class.

Everyone just got on, and they were simply known as the bright kids.

I could never get it.

There was one lad, who was a mate of mine and we'd knock around together after school, who was remarkable at arithmetic.

Very, very bright.

A genuine stand-out and we were all slightly in awe of his pace and ability to solve things we ran aground on.

Of course he attracted lots of other chums too for when it came to sorting some arithmetical homework mysteries his was the shoulder to tap on.

There were however some kids who'd simply sneer and mumble "smartypants" in the direction of clearly advanced and gifted kids.

I suspect some of those fine learners would have wished they too could have been just average when that happened.

As it is in many aspects of life, anyone who stands out will almost certainly attract attention, and some young kids could find that challenging.

As a rather enlightening series set to enter the classroom of television on TV1 tomorrow night will show.

The aptly titled Brainboxes takes a close look at what it can be like to be extremely gifted in this land of ours.

Six young people, from 7 to 16, form the focus of this series and yep, there are some highs and there are some lows because their advanced intellects and skills stand them apart from their schoolmates.

And it looks further than the effects it has on the kids, for their families are also affected, especially when the little brainboxes want to advance their minds and skills as far as possible in the fields they are focused on.

The schools too have to ensure the right systems are in place for such bright youngsters.

It is encouraging to see kids yearn to learn, at every level, because they're our future.

I daresay I shall have the occasional flash-back and hear myself, during my school era, again asking a very commonly asked question.

"How did you work that out?"

Brainboxes, TV1 at 8.30pm Tuesday: Youngsters with clear and often astounding minds.
Minds which deal with intense information and knowledge in the subjects and interests they pursue.

But while such intellectual talent has its ups it can also have its downs.

I shall do my level (C level) best to try and keep up.


The Nile, 5000 Years of History, Choice at 7.30 tonight: I have always been in awe of the great pyramids of Egypt purely because of the scale of the things.

Especially the one called the Great Pyramid. Great indeed...for it is about 150m high and is made of an estimated 2.3 million stone blocks, which tend to average about 8 tonnes each.

Bit of a building mission, but 2550 years ago it was completed.

Build one today?

Forget it.

There is an enormous amount of history across that landscape where the Nile flows and historian Bettany Hughes unearths some remarkable tales, and sights.

Princess Margaret: The Rebel Royal, Prime at 7.30pm Tuesday: he was indeed something of a rebel in terms of how those with royal blood were probably expected to behave, but by being somewhat of a "where's the next party?" gal she became one of the most popular and colourful royals in modern history.

However, while she met and partied with actors and rock stars life on some fronts was anything but easy.

She had wanted to marry a fine RAF chap but that would have scuttled much of her royal entitlements so was sadly flagged away.

But as this will show, she enjoyed a party...and a morning vodka "pick-me-up".