You know that dream you have, when you’ve got a massive exam looming and you’re not sure if you’re ready or not?
Well, we’ve got a double dose of that particular waking nightmare as our daughters prepare to sit their A-level and GCSE exams which start next month.
But here’s the thing. When you’ve got two bright kids who work hard and get good grades but are both on the verge of quitting mainstream education, then maybe it’s because our system doesn’t work.
Their education from the age of four has been a battery of constant testing – all designed to boil down 12 or 14 years of schooling into a letter (A-E for A-levels) or a number (9-1 for GCSEs).
Daughter #1 has been offered places at Russell Group universities up and down the country but said this week: “I’ve had enough of books and tests. I want to work for a bit, get some money together and then go travelling before I get tied down by student debt, work and a mortgage.”
So, “Gap Yah” it is then. South America has been mooted again but arguments containing the phrases “drug mules”, “drug barons” and “over my dead body” have raged long into the night.
Daughter #2, on the other hand, is turning her back on it completely. Last Friday she was offered a place to study for a Diploma in Acting at one of the best performing arts schools in the country – and is taking them up on it.
If I was her, on Monday morning I’d have strutted into school like Beyoncé in her Crazy In Love video and belted out: “Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, oh, no, no” as I flounced past the staff room while flicking the Vs.
But she’s a much nicer person than me.
So two intelligent, incredibly motivated, high-achievers are basically working their notice in our school system because, for one reason or another, they’ve seen it for what it is and aren’t going to take it anymore.
Oh, and on top of all this, the boss’ school got the call from Ofsted on Tuesday, so the place was crawling with inspectors for two days.
It’s fair to say tensions are running high at the moment, roughly on a par with the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.