Mine’s a 99

Home at last to find that the BBC has produced a helpful guide to the new numbering system of GCSE grades. It has helped me enormously although I admit that I look forward with fevered anticipation to the time when a group of people at the cutting edge of the educational zeitgeist decree that we should not be using numbers to grade students at all and instead should be using a system of semaphore flags. League tables of performance will then be compiled according to the prettiness of the flags.

Concede that the idea of semaphore flags is Highly Unlikely and that advice will more likely be that We Should Not Be Grading Young People At All. Or that we ought to be using letters instead.

Further exploration shows the BBC demonstrating their typical unparalleled excellence with this exciting guide to the number 9.

Am reminded inexplicably of conflicting claims between Cadbury and the Arcari ice cream family of Portobello, Edinburgh, to have ‘invented’ the 99 cone. Consequently imagine I hear the theme tune to ‘Doctor Zhivago’ drifting in the evening air and come over all Terribly Nostalgic.

It begins again.

Day begins with the always pleasurable stream of year 11 leavers picking up GCSE certificates. Much squealing and thankfully fewer tears than in previous years. Either our students are doing better in their examinations or the Young People are becoming More Resilient. The numbers suggest the former, but alternatively they realise that regardless of how well or otherwise they have performed, their social standing will be the biggest obstacle to them making progress in future life. Willing to admit this is my scepticism at work and this is Something To Work On.

After this pleasure three hours are spent basically talking about ticking boxes and ‘what if…’, during which I frequently lose the will to continue in the world of education or indeed the world at all. Music and lyrics drip into my head with alarming regularity, allowing me to tune out extended dialogues itemising in detail each part of any given narrative. I successfully resist the temptation to scream ‘edit in your head before speaking!’. ‘Ask Dad’ is the most persistent earworm.

Lunchtime comes and goes. Extended descriptions about a variety of situations continue. Stomachs make various peculiar noises but our leadership team is clearly capable of Working Through It.

Data is examined in mystifying detail. Willing to admit this sense of mystery is due mostly to my lack of numeracy and identify this as Something To Work On.