I don’t like to stress out. I don’t like rushing. I don’t like having to do things at the last minute. I try to organise my life so that I don’t have to do any of these things but sometimes the universe conspires against me. As the kids have got older life is less hectic, less last minute and less rushing around. But there are still things that make life stressful. Revision for one.
Revision. For exams.
I thought we were a way off this yet as T won’t sit his GCSE’s until May 2018. I knew there would be Mocks in early 2018 but I was oblivious to Mock Mocks. Mock Mocks. Is that even a thing? Apparently so. And they are doing them this March. Yes, barely 5 months into the course and they are doing Mock Exams. And is it serious or what? I’m pretty sure that Mock Mocks have been a “thing” for a few years. Friends with older kids seem surprised when I mention that I knew nothing of this phenomenon. I didn’t think I was that out of touch.
I think the reason it feels like a big deal is that the teaching staff seem nervous. At parents evening in October the resounding feeling I got was that the staff were worried. The new curriculum that the knob-head Gove dreamt up one night over a large bottle of gin (it’s the only excuse I can think of) – i.e. lets get rid of coursework and make them try and remember EVERYTHING in the exam so that if they can’t then they fail, oh and let’s chuck some stuff in there from the A’level so that the gap between the levels isn’t so blindingly obvious – doesn’t seem popular. Funny that.
For someone who was the guinea pig for the GCSE’s (probably the only reason I managed to pass most of them) with the joy of coursework taking pressure off us exam-phobics with the knowledge that the exam was not the be-all-and-end-all this is horrifying. Yes, when I then went on to do A’Levels I struggled. I can see why the A’levels and GCSE’s need to be brought more in line. But to revert to the purely exam based way of testing, from nigh on thirty years ago, seems bonkers.
And T’s teachers seem to be putting on a brave face (not very well, some of them, it has to be said) and hoping for the best. They have no past papers to offer up, until the current year 11’s – the first ones to sit the new exam – take their exams in May this year. They have no benchmarks, they can’t really offer much advice other than “let’s wait and see”. They’re nervous and I am worried.
T was instructed to devise a revision timetable that he has had approved by his form tutor. We had a parents meeting about it. About how to help them through the stress of revision. Where, how and when they should revise. How long for and how they mus factor in some down time. It feels like he is studying for his finals (not that I have ANY clue how full on that is) not just his Mock Mocks. Today was Day 1. Half term Day 1 and Revision Timetable Day 1. And the day when I can feel stress building very slightly but very insidiously into our lives. T seems OK. I am already feeling resentful on his behalf and wondering how we will all be feeling when he is revising for the exams to end all exams. The be-all-and-end-all exams.
A on the other hand has done a bit of homework and is now baking cakes. I hope beyond all hopes that the madness that is Gove’s legacy is reversed before she has to go through this. She is a very different creature from my laid-back boy who takes it all in his stride and the stress levels when she comes to take her GCSE’s might just tip me over the edge!