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.