Whither GP1?

It seems a long time ago since I started this blog. My concerns at that stage seem so distant. Life has indeed moved on. It is over a year now since Tim (aka GP2) left school and Standard Grades, Highers, SQA, Curriculum for Excellence, Leaps, are now of no more than passing academic interest. Time for a round up.

So, Chris/GP1/Ginger left that fine academic institution that is Ross High School three years ago with a respectable assortment of Highers, Advanced Highers and various other SQA offerings. I can’t really say, hand on heart, that he ever quite got studying but hey, he did what he needed. We suggested he took a year out to figure out what he really wanted to do before moving on to more studying but he didn’t want to, so onwards it was. I think perhaps he couldn’t visualise the alternatives to the school-college route – it was a sort of comfort blanket that didn’t require too much thinking. LEAPS summer school (he didn’t really get that, either) was followed by Sport Science at Heriot Watt University.

Oh dear. Oh Heriot Watt – do you have no student support system that flags up when things are not going as they should? It was obvious to us by Christmas Continue reading

University musings

Is University education all set to become highly parochial?

  1. Fees of £9000 a year in England.  Currently free in Scotland.   Will any Scottish students ever go to university in England again?
  2. Something in the paper the other day about the low numbers of ethnic minority (or maybe it was AfroCaribbean) students at Oxbridge.  I bet there aren’t going to be many Scottish students applying for Oxford or Cambridge in the future.
  3. Are Scottish students the next ethnic minority?
  4. Why is funding being cut for Arts and Humanities courses?  Continue reading

Onwards and upwards

Life has moved on in the Guineapig  Household this summer.  In fact, I was wondering if it was time for a name change but I’m really quite attached to Guineapigmum so I think I’ll stick with it for the time being.  The biggest change is that Number 1 son, GP1, is now in residence at one of those institutions where teenagers practice sleeping, drinking and spending their parents’ money.  Yes he’s now at university. It’s not quite as far afield as originally planned. He got cold feet at some point during the summer (it may well have been the point at which he hitched up with a new young lady) and changed his UCAS options. He’s now in halls somewhere on the outskirts of Edinburgh and learning to cook, drink (did I mention that?), run up phone bills and play. And he’s home almost every weekend.  Well, you get fed at home, don’t you?

He didn’t work quite hard enough during 5th year Continue reading


I went to the LEAP evening at Ross High last night; early days yet for us to think about University but we did wonder what we’re in for financially.  I was surprised at how few people were there given that it covered several year groups, but perhaps this is normal? In my school board days it was always difficult to get primary parents to come to anything other than parents’ evenings.

Anyhow, it was all very informative.  An affordable action plan developed from the talk on finances (we were promised a positive spin at the start – would hate to have gone to a negative presentation) would take the following lines:-

  1. On NO ACCOUNT go to University south of the border;
  2. Son 1 to take 2 gap years;
  3. Son 2 no gap year;
  4. Divorce;
  5. As an option, encourage at least one of the children to become a lone parent.

So that’s Oxford & Cambridge out of the equation then.  Set their aspirations high – but perhaps not that high.

Very good presentation on UCAS forms by a lady from QMUC – maybe it’s as well to start thinking about this in S3 as I think it will take 3 years to hone the personal statement required to 300 words of concise, relevant wit and brilliance.

I also went to an impressive, if somewhat lonely, presentation on how the guidance system works at Ross High.  I thought this might be more relevant at this stage than finding out about student life – a weekend in Edinburgh with their art student cousin might be a better bet than a talk at school.  Anyhow, it’s very reassuring to learn that the children are being monitored through their school career as whole individuals.  I think this is the sort of talk that could usefully be given to all parents at a very early stage, perhaps on either a P7 or S1 Open Night (we didn’t seem to get one of these last year).  After hearing this, it did strike me yet again how totally out-of-step the music instrumental set up is with the rest of the Ross school system.