When I was a proper teacher, the school I taught in did well by the 'Gemmas' of this world.
Gemmas? They were the sort of girls who never missed a deadline; they never got into trouble and they got a raft of solid grades at GCSE: they were little gems.
They went on to become the Staff Nurses that we applauded every Thursday night and the mothers who are now watching their own sons and daughters going through paroxysms of doubt and fear about GCSE Results Day.
The recent anger and humiliation experienced in Scotland is going to happen in England and it will hit the Gemmas of this world really hard. At the moment, they are barely holding it together as they await the inevitable disappointment that will be the judgement on their 11 years of education by an algorithm.
These kids deserve better, in fact, they deserve the best. Our youngsters are behind the ‘School Strike for Action’ movement; they are driving the ‘Black Lives Matter’ agenda and it is they who are doing something about the proliferation of plastic in the world. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a teenager in your life, then you are missing out.
This year’s Gemmas did not have the chance to work like stink for the final three months of their secondary school careers and batter the system into submission by the honest application of hours of revision and practice.
This year’s Gemmas are having to face up to the reality that, as a society, we will wheel them out in their inadequate PPE and expect them to ‘be there for us’.
There are nearly one million students embarking on their final year in secondary school in September and another tranche beginning Year 10.
We have to do better by them and give them an assessment system that works with and for them, rather than one that is so esoteric and obtuse that only a handful of 'Dominics' understand how it works.
Who do we value: the Dominics of this world, or the Gemmas? Give me the Gemmas any day!
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