Thursday, May 26, 2005

Respect, Man!? But have we earned it?

Meet the folks

It is that time of year again, when the school reports come through the door, and the exam papers arrive to be marked.

I thought I would take a moment to see how we are doing.

First a caveat: there is something profoundly wrong with a society that spends so much time in grading and assessing performance to the detriment of real achievement.

At school I always felt a phoney because I only supposed I could perform on paper. Today, children are deliberately schooled to pass tests to the exclusion of developing real abilities that count in life. To make things worse, the examining system is chaotic, with lorry loads of scripts stolen and many scripts never even being seen by a marker.

One of the more interesting points made so far in the National debate about the restoring of "Respect" is that Blair’s England is only meritocratic.

Ordinary good people are not given the respect they should be given in a healthy society.

Sometimes I have tried to downplay my own specialness. I wrote “Local Government Officer” on my first marriage certificate.

That said and done, this is at least partly us. We are unashamedly, a bit special.


Winner school rifle competition, age 12.
Failed English language O level aged 14.
3 A levels at 16.
“The most creative historian I have taught at my time at this public school,” R.K.B., history head.
Top in the A level English exams. 2% better than anyone else, in a field of 100, including Jeremy Paxman.
Second in County Schools javelin.
B.A. 2.1 hons; with first class marks in special subject, Philosophy of Mind
M.A. (equivalent), Counselling and Psychotherapy. (Dissertation so good, the marker was convinced it could not have been written by a student.)
Director of a Nationally Accredited School of Psychotherapy aged 42, and the youngest member of the UK Council for Psychotherapy. Curriculum described as “excellent” by the Tavistock.
Currently failing to progress beyond the short list for the BBC Today programme election web log, and the BBC Oxford “Write On” competition.
Play read at Chipping Norton theatre.
Starting to direct a play, to be performed in September.
Praised for long essay “More gold into led”, critiquing modern psychotherapy regulation, which is widely read on the web.


Had her first story published nationally by Puffin books after winning a competition, aged 6.
1000 posters of winning Art Work printed, aged 12.
Winner, English Studies School Prize at 18.
Exhibition to Oxford University to read English.
First Class degree.
Assessed best young teacher in Cornwall.
Passed driving test (after 5 attempts).
Head of Departments in English and drama in secondary schools.
Assistant Chief Examiner.
Winner; World Book Day poetry prize
Member, Prince of Wales Shakespeare School at the RSC


Voted “Most likely to be Prime Minister”, Perse School for Girls, (better known as St Trinians,) and still one of the top schools in England.
Also voted “Queen of Gossip.”
4 A grade “A” levels.
British psychological Society Prize for A level Psychology. (Highest marks in England)
Assessed as Excellent by Romanian Embassy as gap year teacher.
Led large group of student teachers to China
2.1 Hons, in English. Bristol University.
Dancing Queen of the “Lizard Lounge.” Night Club, Bristol.
Place at cambridge University to study Teaching.


Winner of at least 6 Art Prizes. (We lost count). 1,000 posters of her work printed as one prize.
Twice overall County Swimming Champion, winning events in every stroke and distance.
Has held 6 County championship meeting records.
County Judo champion, (assessed as likely to become better than her teacher).
Junior Witney Club Captain, swimming.
County Swimming team member.
Talented actress: Title role in “The Grinch who stole Christmas.”
School swimming team Captain.
Best sportswoman of her year group, all round.
Fourth in her whole secondary school talent contest, singing her own composition,


Waiting for year 6 SATS results.
Teacher assessed as brightest boy in class and centre of class social life
Merit + in beginners oboe competition
Boy Scout
Tag Rugby tournament player


Waiting for Year 2 SATS evaluation from teachers.
Enthusiastic member of Centre Stage theatre school
Talented story teller, including some whoppers.
Recently completed 10 kilometre bicycle cross country challenge.
50 metre swim certificate.