Campervan trip / Covid-19 / Days Off / School Holidays

It’s Summer – Day 34

As day 34 comes to a close, nearly, I’m sitting outside listening to the daily geese flight over the campsite, heading west to… no idea! Anyone out there know? A hot day and one where we went walking; I cycled to the Chinese to pick up a takeaway; and now just reflecting on the fiasco I hear of A-levels.

I started the day with a run, that was of course after a cappuccino. This campervan life with a coffee machine is quite enjoyable. That enjoyable in fact, I need to find a way to get early retirement. Delamere’s lake Blackmore is great to run around and despite the 20 degree heat, it felt good.

Today’s main event was a walk Dan planned to gain a Cub badge. The requirement was a walk of 3 miles or more, identifying various leaves, flowers and finding a feather, white stone and post box (red). We knew the post box was not going to happen, being in the forest. The rest however was straight forward. The walk was a good one, taking us to the top of Old Pale with great views in every direction.

View from Old Pale.

The descent ended with an ice cream where my banana double scoop was much liked by Dan. Simple tastes are worth it. After just under 7km the walk was complete and Dan disappeared into the woods to check the bike track that he created was still intact.

A shower and couple of lattes later, it was time to eat. The nearby Chinese, being 0.9 miles away, led to the decision for a takeaway and rather than take the van, I put in my cycling shoes and rode to pick it up. An easy ride there and back complete, as well as the careful packing of the food into the rucksack. Great food and all followed by a couple of games of Monopoly Deal. Another great day away and not many left. Soon we are back to school and the fun of the results system, or lack of one.

Geese flying west.

So it was results day today for A-levels. Reading the various media stories it seems that some are happy and some are not. That is pretty normal but this year is maybe different. I’m a primary teacher so the secondary way of life is something I pay respect to in that it is not my everyday thing. But even with limited current experience of secondary systems, I don’t think it is rocket science. Daft thing to say I guess as it clearly is not. Rocket science aside, if teachers and schools know their students then why on earth do results in this current situation differ to those that were presumably ‘suggested’? If as a primary teacher I know a child is at a certain position at a given time, my results should be reliable and that is evidenced.

To change, alter or query results due to any other factor, including background, postcode or other contexts is totally wrong. As a school leader if I were to use backgrounds, postcodes or other contexts to limit results and argue the children can’t do as well, I’d be seriously challenged and not listened to, so why the sudden change? Many of us know the answer but sadly, we are not in charge.

A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.

Nelson Mandela

The system I am afraid is totally floored currently and Covid has brought what many of us knew to be true to light. As a leader in school I talk about individuals and cohorts, and that is totally right to do – we hive high expectations and do every possible to meet them. How many targets should be set and for what is also a false system which depersonalises it all, is also wrong. Every target should be worked from an individual. That individual’s targets then informs other targets people want, not the other way. Simple really, for those that care about individuals rather than how they are perceived and are in competition with others.

Be strong, good luck and best wishes. Difficult times!

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