Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Thinking about exams. Distractor factors. Getting the vaccine. Small escape artists.

As loads of media time is being spent on who paid or didn’t pay for decorating Boris Johnson’s flat, the question of school exams has been pushed to one side. Here are three reminders from Michael Rosen that the exams question is still rattling around in the background:-

“I've seen a GCSE 'assessments' timetable. These are 'assessments' of course. Not 'exams'. Because the students aren't having 'exams'. They're having assessments. Sitting in a room. Doing exam papers. But they're not 'exams' because there are no 'exams'. They're 'assessments'.”

“Dear Boris Johnson

You said that GCSE exams for this year were cancelled. They're not cancelled. They're called 'assessments'. And instead of examiners marking them, teachers are. For no money. But the schools have paid the exam boards. Where's the money?


Michael Rosen”

“This year's GCSEs:

1. Govt lied that exams were cancelled.

2. Instructions came late

3. Schools responded as best they could but consequence is huge no. of 'assessments'

4. Teachers' workload settting/marking extra, huge and unpaid.

5. Who gets the fees paid by schools for this?”

We have, as the Americans say, skin in the game: one teenage grandchild in his GCSE year and another in her A Level year. We wait to see what the results will be like.

There’s a bit of me that wonders if some time in the future the qualifications of this year’s students, and last year’s and next year’s for that matter, will be questioned as not being exactly equivalent to what went before. It’s rather a shame that there has not been a decision to overhaul the whole system. Time to stop tinkering and do something radical!

I’ve not seen pictures of the Johnson flat so I can’t comment on their choice of decor. I’m not really interested, truth to tell. It all seems like a way of stopping us all worrying about more serious matters. 

Such as the health issues! 

Someone tweeted this:

“With multiple journalists confirming Boris Johnson did say “let the bodies pile up” six months ago, the big question is, why didn’t they tell us six months ago?”

Quite so! People let things happen! It’s not a new phenomenon. We might also ask why Chauvin’s colleagues just stood around while he knelt on George Floyd’s neck? Why didn’t at least one of them step forward and pull him off? Because most people let things happen. It takes a special kind of bravery to step in and demand different behaviour out on the street. And I admit to being unsure whether I could be that kind of brave.

Meanwhile, progress in one area: Phil and I have been for our second dose of anti-Covid vaccine this afternoon. So far so good! We wait now to see if we have any kind of reaction. But we are a little further along the road to freedom, of sorts!

We could have gone earlier this morning but we had a couple of grandchildren in the house. Well, in the house, in the garden, out for a walk and in the park. So we did not want to take them along with us - there was no guarantee the local clinic would have let them in anyway. 

The older of the two small people, 41/2, thinks her visits are arranged for me to play with her, exclusively, which is hard to do with a 19 month old racketing around as well. Neither of our children was an escape artist, nor were any of our daughter’s older offspring but this smallest one seems to have Houdini genes in his make-up. Climbing stairs is his speciality. He knows no fear and needs constant surveillance!

Allowed out into the back garden, he loves nothing better than to climb the steps into the side garden, out of the front gate, along the road for a few yards and back down the alleyway between the next door neighbours’ house and the next one along, before needing a lift down the next lot of steps into the back garden. It’s a pity he can’t be relied on to do just that unaccompanied but he’s still a bit on the small side for that. And no amount of talk about how children should be given freedom will go so far as extending the privilege to the under-two. We may have to bite the bullet and install some gates. 

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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