As well as telling us a good deal about the young Frank - he was good at maths but very weak in subjects such as history and geography - the Report Book tells us a lot about the education system in the 1920s. First, it should be noted that Frank was at a Secondary School which was somewhat unusual for a working class boy of the time. I can't think of one member of my own family who went to secondary school - they all left Elementary School at the age of thirteen or fourteen. At Secondary School Frank was exposed to subjects that would have been unknown to many of his contemporaries. Chemistry, Physics, French, German, Trigonometry were all the preserve of the minority who were educated passed elementary level.
Even in this preserve of the better-off working class - where the need to get a child working as soon as possible could be resisted - the shadow of poverty can still be detected. There is a prominent place for the "Physical Record" which notes such factors as height, weight, chest measurement and general health. This was less than ten years after the First World War when it was discovered that a large proportion of the working class recruits were physically incapable of meeting the minimum health standards of the British Army. Malnutrition was still a problem and the Report Book reflects the vigilance of the school system in working class areas.
And now, eighty years later, the schools are once again thinking of introducing a "Physical Record" section to report cards which will record weight and body mass index. The reason for vigilance has, of course, changed. Glancing at the photographs of Uncle Frank in his youth it is clear that he was, once again, ahead of his time.