Friday, 22 May 2015

Kids Today!!!!

When I was young, we never behaved like kids do today!

Actually I think we did, or we'd have liked to, except the knowledge that parents, policemen and shop keepers would give us a clip around the ear stopped us going too far. The thought of being able to shout "I know my rights!" and threatening a court case for child abuse was unheard of. Kids didn't take away those barrier ropes; a well-meaning nanny state did, backed up by an autocratic EEC based in Brussels.

Another common complaint is that kids have it far too easy today. Exams have been dumbed down just so grades can look good. As a result there's no pressure on kids to achieve.


For the past 2 weeks, and until the end of June, I've been an exam invigilator at a very successful 6th form college in Winchester. I've been setting up, invigilating and then collating results for 2 exams a day in a variety of subjects. Around 1,500 kids are taking their final A'levels while about the same number are taking their Lower 6 1st year exams. The work put in by around 200 invigilators is tremendous, but the work the kids have put in over the past 2 years is phenomenal.

It's no wonder we've already had 3 panic attacks, all of which were dealt with calmly so that the students were able to continue their exams in a side room after a rest period.

Impressively, the college recognises very early in a student's 6th form career if they have colour blindness, dyslexia, or some other non-obvious problem. These students are given extra time if they want it, specially coloured exam and answer papers, readers and / scribes if necessary, and every opportunity for their intellect to shine. 

I looked throught the exam papers at each session I took and even those subjects I thought I was well versed in were certainly not easier than when I took A'levels. Kids may be given every technological aid but the competition is very high and the standard no lower than it used to be.

Successive governments have inadvertantly piled pressure onto the kids by making degrees so widely available and therefore almost obligatory. Now every kid is expected to get great grades and go to some university, or degree establishment as a matter of course. However many leave after the first year of a degree course, realising that they're incurring a debt, are doing a degree that will have little relevance to them in reality, or that they're just not cut out for university life. Wasted pressure, poor kids!

Having said that, I've yet to see any student treat an exam I've invigilated as a joke, and I hope the 3 who had panic attacks get the grades they obviously worked so hard for, It's a privelege working with them.

Blog on, Dudes!


  1. Well said, Richard! Yes - I long gave up on trying to help my children with their homework, let alone my grandchildren! I examine GCSE Computer Studies, and am continually amazed that the candidates can decipher the questions, let alone come up with the answers.

    1. I totally agree, Jane. A number of the exams I invigilated this past week were to be answered on word processing systems. My 45 years in the IT industry came in handy when some students found they were deleting work, or couldn't work out how to do single side printing. These were in edia Studies, Chemistry and Spanish exams.

  2. Wish that you had been my invigilator, Richard. But that was in the last century sometime. Sometimes feel that the focus is too often on the negative in society and not the positive. Good to have the other side blogged about.

    1. Strangely, all the invigilators at my school (also early in the last century, or so it seems!) were our own teachers. Now most invigilators are external and very carefully vetted, beore they're allowed to attend a 5 hours training course each year. It's well worth it though!