Poor Child 2. This week is the start of a new term at school – her very last. If it weren’t for the looming A2s, I bet she would be excited. Life is about to open up and reveal all its splendours. But first, she has to clamber over yet another hurdle and finish off the worst exams of the lot.
The exams themselves seem very peculiar to me. I remember finally being allowed to have opinions when I was doing A levels – you can imagine what a relief it was – but nowadays they can’t have a view unless they can back it up by proving someone else has already had that thought. The implication is that the critic they’re quoting, who is bound to be older, is also wiser. So they are chipping away at their own intellectual confidence with every essay. It’s hardly a way to encourage original thinking.
They are also supposed to be hitting Assessment Objectives, or AOs, with every sentence. They then get marks for covering all the AOs. They are basically being trained to tick boxes.
So they finish their A levels with a certificate in unoriginal box ticking. Whoopee!
And then they go on to university, where Child 1 seems to be working extremely hard. Well, she is paying for it. Each hour of tuition, she has worked out, costs £150. At that price, I probably wouldn’t have missed a lecture either. So my university career, spent wondering whether to join the Tunnocks Tea Cakes Appreciation Society or not, looks a little feckless.
Poor Child 2. Fingers crossed for her.