On Thursday, we were able to watch a few follow up videos of the Up series. As previously mentioned, the video we watched on Tuesday showed the thirteen children at age 7. The video we watched on Thursday focused on these individuals at age 28 but showed some footage from when they were 14 and 21. This was very interesting to see and I think the results surprised a lot of us.
Because of time constraints we were only able to watch updates on three of the thirteen children. Here were their results …
At age 7, Paul went to a Charity Boarding School and was considered to be lower class. Paul expressed his interest in wanting to become a police officer but realized that he would not be able to get into university to achieve this goal. We predicted that he probably would be working a lower class job in adulthood. However, at age 28, Paul is a successful brick layer in Australia. He lives in a middle class suburb with his wife. Their house it a descent size, they have two children and two cars. It appears that Paul has experienced social mobility by moving into the middle class. How did this happen? Well, it seems that the reason for his success is the fact that he moved to Australia. Australia is characterized by a contest system (like North America) whereas England is based on the sponsorship model. Because of his move, he sort of cheated the system. He was able to advance much further in life than he would have if he remained in the UK. Paul expresses how he hopes that his children can do even better than he did by receiving the education he was not able to receive. This is interesting because this is something that would happen in the contest system. In the UK sponsored system, parents expect their children to be of the same social class as them.
At age 7, Suzy went to a Private Girls Boarding School and was considered to be quite upper class. Her days were very structured and her mom had picked out schools for her to attend. We predicted that she would probably attend school but end up marrying a rich husband and stay home to raise her children. What was interesting about Suzy is that she was quite rebellious at age 21. She had dropped out of school and said that she never wanted to get married or have children. By age 28, Suzy was married to a wealthy man and had two children. They had a nice home and she was raising her children. She indicated that she would send her children to a private boarding school even though her and her husband did not really enjoy the experience. She said that it was what they knew and also acknowledged the quality of education they would receive there. Even though she went through her rebellious stage, she still ended up more or less where we thought she would be.
Nicholas was perhaps the most surprising to me. At age 7, Nicholas lived in a rural community and was the only child his age in the village. He went to school in a one room school house and indicated that he wanted to learn about the moon and things. He was not considered to be high class or cultured. However, at age 28 … he is a nuclear physicist! He studied at Oxford and moved to Wisconsin with his (crazy) wife to be a professor at a university. I definitely did not expect this. So, how did this happen? At age 11, Nicholas scored very highly on the 11 Plus exam and was identified as gifted. Therefore, he was resocialized in the elite class and received a very good education from a prestigious institution. Even though he received this high education, there was apparently not much use for scientists at the time in the UK and he was not making much money. However, when he moved to the US, he makes more money. By switching from a sponsored system to a contest system, Nicholas was able to be more successful in his chosen field.
It was so interesting watching these follow up videos and I am very interested in watching more of them. It appears that it is difficult to change classes in the sponsored system unless you score well on the 11 plus exam. Both Paul and Nicholas were able to be successful because they moved to another system. I am interested to see if this is the case with all of the children.