Leonard celebrates a degree of success

ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT: Leonard Book gained his Phd 60 years after failing his 11-plus.
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT: Leonard Book gained his Phd 60 years after failing his 11-plus.
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A FORMER Sunderland schoolboy has been made a PhD – 60 years after failing the 11-plus.

Leonard Book attended Barnes School but went on to West Park Secondary Modern after failing to secure a place at Bede Grammar School.

He left on his 15th birthday to join Gateshead Theological College and eventually obtained a Rabbinical Diploma from the Jews’ College in London.

Now living in Israel, he has been awarded a PhD by a university in America.

“Without going into all the pros and cons regarding the then 11-plus, I feel comforted that even at 72 years of age, and being semi-retired I achieved my goal,” he said.

Leonard worked as a rabbi, but then decided to go back to school.

“When I was made redundant, owing to the community at that time not being able to financially secure my services, I decided to catch up on some missed studying,” he said.

“Since my rabbinical examination was partly a written paper, and Jews’ College’s Rabbincal Diploma was recognized by some UK universities as being on par with a BA degree, I applied to Sussex University to read history in order to gain a DPhil.”

Leonard became a member of the Royal Historical Society and determined to continue his research with the aim of gaining a PhD.

He spent six years researching proto-human language and submitted an 80,000-word thesis to finally qualify for his PhD.