Thursday, 16 August 2012

Hurrah.


I got back from a good drenching in Tetbury yesterday, and whilst there learnt that our friend's ancient family title of 'lord' may be lost forever, because her cousin - it's inheritor - had the misfortune to be shot dead in Spain recently.  Oh well, the way things are going, it wouldn't have been much use to him in any event.

From being tearfully distraught and anxious about her A-Level results yesterday, and having got them this morning (all passes, including one A), our Green-Eyed Girl is now - presumably - over the moon and not, as feared, sick as a parrot.  I started to suggest that things may not be as bad as she feared last night, and she told me to shut up.  If you believe in fate, then maybe it's a good thing I did.  She has just called up, and actually used the phrase, 'over the moon', so now I am sure.

All over the south of England, about half a million 18 year-olds are either being consoled or celebrating and I really feel for the poor little things who have somehow fallen into the category of 'failures', but - I suppose - you cannot have success without a comparison to the opposite.

I left school (just before I was 16) with two 'O-Levels' (Art and English Language - surprise, surprise) and only got into Guildford School of Art by a whisker.  I actually made school history for being the only pupil to have achieved zero points for Maths.  Their consolation to me at the time was that it could have been worse - the score could have been minus one if I had spelt my name wrong.  Luckily, my natural ability in English Language and a good memory for faces saved me from further disgrace.

This generation of A-Level graduates have been tested all through their school lives, just for the sake of the League Tables and the Head-Teacher's natural desire not to see their school relegated into the bottom league by OFSTEAD.

To require a five or six year-old to sit an exam is simply robbing them of their childhood.  Even Christopher Robin was allowed to wait for the 11-Plus before he was stopped from doing 'nothing'.  That reminds me, I failed my 11-Plus as well.

Now that it is every young person's 'right' to attend a university, the country's economic decline is slowed down a little by the massive debts loaned to the next generation of students by the banks in order to cover tuition fees, rents, food and parties.  Because we no longer have any significant industry, the drop in demand for factory-fodder has opened up more and more places in universities, and now that all those military regiments are being disbanded, cannon-fodder is also - thankfully - not needed either.

Phew.

30 comments:

  1. Hello:
    Put like that, anything is better than the 'cannon fodder' of the past. Interestingly of course is the fact that the armed services, who once welcomed all and sundry, now require highly qualified individuals capable of operating their, in our view, terrifying weaponry.

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    1. Many fine chefs were also trained by the Army, L & J. !

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  2. I didn't even manage an O Level pass at A Level in Maths. Yet at the Royal Military College os Science, I came top of my intake on a course that concentrated heavily on Ballistics and Nuclear Physics. Figure that one out!

    My congratulations to Miss Green Eyes.

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    1. I think you may have the same attitude to abstract maths as I did - I found theory impossible to get to grips with ('if A equals M and E equals the combination of A squared...' etc.) but I have an innate ability when it comes to the applied stuff. Neverthe less, I still cannot take measurements for toffee..

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  3. Well done to the Green-Eyed Girl. I hope she has inherited your insouciance and sense of commitment to help her along in whatever she wants to do.

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    1. She wants to be an NHS midwife. At least that means that tuition fees are paid for. She's a damn sight more committed than I was to anything!

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    2. tell her not to work in an inner city hospital...staffing in those are generally shit especially with midwives

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    3. I - and nobody else - can tell her anything. All we know is that she is extremely good and dealing with people on a warm and sympathetic basis. Let's hope she deals with me like that when I am in my dotage.

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    4. seriously
      at least ask her to research the school well. and ask her to review the staffing levels of the units she likes with some gusto

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  4. You know, it's such a shame to 'fail' someone at 18 anyway. They will probably have another sixty good years and fourteen different careers and yet they are told it all depends on one shitty exam when they are still kids.
    That said, good onya Green-eyed girl.

    I was the same as you Tom. When I did my mature age entry test, I scored top in the state for English and in the bottom fifteen percent for maths.

    So gladd i didden becum a maffmatishen.

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    1. We put 2 and 2 together, and what do we come up with?

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    2. WELL??? I HAVEN'T GOT ALL NIGHT!!!!!

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    3. Hang on. Why so pushy? Still thinking ...

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  5. The highlight of my school career was when, AGED 5, I was told that my awful handwriting would improve. Doesn't everyone's???

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    1. Most people's gets worse, especially if they were trained in 'copperplate'.

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  6. Brilliant result for your grand daughter, Tom. Lots of congratulations from me. Just rang our grand daughter - she's chuffed to bits as well - she got an A, A* and a B despite during the computer exam she was doing the computers she was working on froze 3 times. She was in tears at the end of it, but she's done alright.

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    1. THIS ISN'T A COMPETITION!! (only joking Moll - I am pleased for your girl too!)

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  7. Congratulations to your girl with the green eyes, Tom!

    Math was always terribly difficult for me to learn; algebra was easiest, but Euclidian geometry left me gasping. In my current job, i use lots of algebra and some calculus. Funnier still, i've had to explain it to others, and some were math brains.

    My penmanship never really did improve, and my college years only made it worse. sigh.

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    1. I didn't get where I am today by being good at Maths. In fact, I didn't get where I am today by being good at anything.

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  8. It's lovely when our young people get their results after years of hard work, but it is only when one is older that one realises that to reach your potential doesn't necessarily rely entirely on what A levels you got.
    You have built a successful career in an area where I would assume that careful measuring and a high degree of mathematical skills is necessary.
    I have taught generations of kids who left school unable to read properly, write properly and do simple arithmetic - only to meet up with them years later doing jobs which required all three. It's called motivation.

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    1. I got an A-Star in blagging, Weaver.

      I was born with nothing, and I still have most of it left.

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  9. I believe going to school only means you are capable of learning more when you leave. That has always been the way I played it.

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    1. I learned more in my 1968 Art School education because I met people like John and Yoko (plus several hundred others) whilst occupying the building as a sit-in student. I learned bugger-all about art - that came later.

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  10. are you the one on the far right thomas?

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  11. Replies
    1. I used to have fags behind the bike-shed, and I didn't even smoke. Ah, the heady days of sexual curiosity...

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  12. I am against charging university students - even if they are given student loans.

    However, the argument against fees and loans has always hinged on the ethical questions - not the financial.

    It seems to me that the student loan system is tantamount to the government saying "hey! If we invent a massive invisible state credit card and dole out money from it to students to pay universities it saves us funding higher education! The students can start paying payments when they can afford it!" Eh? "Give us a credit card and when I get a job I'll start paying it off?"To anyone who ever had a credit card it sounds like a recipe for ending up up the creek.

    I predict -for what it's worth, which is not a lot- that in 20 years the news will be going on and on and on about the student loans debt crisis and what the government is or isnt going to do to bail itself out of the mess. All attempts at a solution will feature, yes, you guessed it, cuts in higher education and tougher loan terms for future students.

    The answer? Cough up now and fund higher education properly and, by the way, don't expect it to be vocational in any narrow sense - the job of universities is to advance understanding while teaching undergraduates to think.

    As for "failure", one of the unintended outcomes of our education system probably since the Industrial Revolution (I never was good at history) is that everyone leaves school feeling a "success" if they're academic and a "failure" if they're not. In fact there are many paths -academic and non-academic- to success in life. Education has to reflect this.

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    1. The difference being that there is no PPI offered to students.

      Art School used to be a cross between a monastery and a psychiatric unit when I was there - they attracted very similar students to both.

      I'm all for teaching undergraduates to think, but - traditionally - universities have been the playgrounds of the elite pissed for about 400 years, and students in Bath have done nothing to dispel that image - or at least the ones who come down from the campus bar to make my nocturnal life hellish.

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