Back to school?

New_Forest_last_day_of_the_summer_holidaysA levels, GCSEs: it’s the annual round of results and debates on whether it was tougher back in the day.

I don’t know about the grades. I don’t feel qualified to judge whether modular systems are fairer than an exam at the end of a course of study.

I did old school O and A Levels. Tough, yes. But I think she has it tougher because I was able to have a summer off from studying before Sixth Form started.

My 16-year-old scientifically-minded daughter picked up an AS result yesterday: a surprisingly decent grade in History. The surprise was that she hates the subject and hadn’t wanted to study it. It was the only subject she could fit into a timetable designed to meet curriculum requirements with required core subjects.

Her school in Kent takes exams early so she already had all government-imposed qualifications, except one. As she had to retake German until the alphabet ran out of letters at its rear end, the timetable left her with a History AS on top of her additional GCSEs.

Study doesn’t come easily to her and I think she deserved a summer kicking back a bit. The photo shows her on her last real day of rest during three days in the New Forest back on 15 July.

That’s the day she was given summer holiday work tasks for starting A levels in Biology, Chemistry, Geography and Physics. These have kept her occupied every single day since.

She’s read ‘Why does E=MC2? by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw’ and ‘The
Selfish Gene’ by Richard Dawkins and is working on ‘The Elements of Murder: A History of Poison’ by John Emsley: all three books  need a written review.

There’s an assignment on the state of the oceans for each of the science areas and 15 news articles to find and review to cover a list of geographical issues.

Back at school to get results next Thursday. Back at school to discuss results next Friday. Back at school the week after for a further interview about A Level choices. Then back at school for real the Monday after.

She’s working harder this summer than I ever did after a round of exams. What might be a surprise to some is that she’s leaving the Kent grammar, where her friends are having a summer off. She’s not heading for a public school, where you might expect a summer spent cramming for a head start.

This is all for a state school in poor Tower Hamlets, where there’s the highest rate of child poverty in London.

Maybe this might help cut down numbers of the next generation of poor deprived kids here. And I hope she’ll  think it worth it, some day. Not now though: she’s too busy cursing poor Prof Cox.

2 thoughts on “Back to school?

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