What I want…

As I write, GP1 should be well into his PE Standard Grade exam.  And I’ve just read a post on Ewan’s blog about the school curriculum.  I have one son (GP2, 12) choosing subjects for Standard Grade, another (GP1, 14) choosing subjects for Higher.  


I want…  the children to study a broad curriculum that they enjoy, that teaches them to learn, to think, to understand, to question, to synthesize, to enjoy learning.

I want… them to carry on with at least some subjects at school which will teach them to appreciate and enjoy the world around them without the pressure of exams… art, PE, music, craft, literature would be a good start. 

I want… to be convinced that giving so many subjects up at 12 to do exams at 14 and so have a better chance of good grades at Higher with a 2 year course is a good thing.  2 years for Highers, yes.  But condensing the curriculum so much at 12 and then again at 14?  Giving up all those “nice” subjects so young?

I want… to appreciate that the subjects they study doesn’t really matter – what matters is the learning to learn etc.  After all, I really don’t remember any O Level History or even any A Level Latin.

I want… to believe that exam results don’t really matter.  What matters is that they’re happy and well-adjusted human beings.

I want… GP1 to knuckle down to some work before it’s too late and…  **@!* all that…

what I really want… regardless of all the above, is that he gets through these exams with good grades so that he can carry on with a good shot at what comes next.

Oh, and I also want to get some work finished without worrying about how the exams are going….


2 thoughts on “What I want…

  1. This is, as Brian Boyd referred to it this morning, “The downward incrementalism of exams”, and I don’t blame parents for thinking (having to think) this way, given the Calvinist history of our education system. The work ethic would do well to learn from the play ethic – we might learn how to survive in this world a little better.

    But, if parents expect things to be the way they are now then can we ever expect curricular change to really happen in less than two or three generations’ time? Not a criticism, of course, but a genuine question for the weekend 😉

  2. I absolutely agree with you. The trouble is, we and our children have to operate with the system as it is NOW, TODAY. What might be the system in 5 or 10 years time is of no relevance whatsoever to today’s parents. This is something you will discover when you become a parent! And the fact that the High School didn’t consult the Primary School parents about the switch of exams from Year 4 to Year 3 speaks volumes about the opinion the Educators have of those they are educating (or at least their parents). I would love things to be different, and am in fact very glad that the outcome of Standard Grades isn’t entirely dependent upon exams, but we have to operate with the system as it presents itself to us now. It’s not just parents’ expectations but those of the whole juggernaut of University admissions and employers.

    Having said all that, there has already been a huge curricular change since I did exams… but then, I was a late starter so I wouldn’t like to estimate the generations equivalence!

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