A2 grew up in England where his older sister had disappointed the local Grammar School by leaving aged 16 to become a hairdresser. Because of this the school would not accept another member of the family and A2 went to the local Secondary Modern School. He was good at Science and, at 16, transferred to the Grammar School for the last two years of High School to get his A levels and matriculate. Ironically, his sister later returned to study and complete both Bachelor and Master degrees.
His Science took him, aged 18, to a job in scientific research at a naval research station 80 miles from the sea. Living in a nearby town and travelling to work by motorised bicycle, he had the status of a Sub-lieutenant and reported to a Rear Admiral. The classified research arose from the nuclear weapons program but directed toward radiation treatment of cancer. His main job involved working mostly on his own to build glass vacuum systems. He was not, he found, very good at building glass vacuum systems – many of his systems leaked! His image of himself as a scientist was dented. He was also bored.
It dawned on him that what he really liked was working with people. Throughout high school he had taught other children – and enjoyed it. He rang a teacher at his old Grammar School and asked her advice. She suggested he enrol in a teacher training program at Borough College London and helped him to gain entry. He trained in Physics and Science, graduating with a London Institute of Education Certificate in 1968 and becoming a Physics and Science teacher at Nobel Grammar School in Stevenage just as the school was moving to become Comprehensive.