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

Digging around

I was recently pointed in the direction of this series of  videos by a friend.  There’s an archaeological dig going on in Orkney and the team are posting a daily update on YouTube.  Just the thing for the  EduBuzz community, if you haven’t spotted it already.  I’ve found it fascinating.

Orkney Island tomb dig

As an aside, Number 2 son did his work experience last year with a local archaeological consultancy.  He’s got no plans to be an archaeologist, as far as I know (and after all what does a mother know about these things?), but he is interested in things environmental and did have a great time with them. They looked after him really well.  He spent time in each of their departments, cleaning tiles, doing drawings, washing tiles, database searches, washing more tiles, and spent a day out on a job with one of the team. Before washing yet more tiles.  He loved it and came back buzzing each day. Just what work experience should be about!

The personal touch

45656455_ed1f145c5c.jpgSo there we are.  External exams are over for another year.  Next year will be the big one – GP1/Highers (I’m trembling and pale at the prospect) with GP2/Standard Grades (an entirely different proposition).  This year, though,  was a relative breeze. 

First up there was SVS.  Once I’d got my head round the fact that Continue reading

I would just like to point out…

…that our children don’t tell us anything.  I’ll just repeat that, for the benefit of those at the back of the class:  OUR CHILDREN DO NOT TELL US ANYTHING THAT GOES ON AT SCHOOL. 

This may of course be a gross generalisation and in fact applicable only to my older son and to no other child in the known universe.  Or it may be generally true.  There are exceptions, I admit.  At 5 years you’ll get a blow by blow account of every minute of the day.  At 8 years, the enthusiasm may well still be there even if the account is less detailed.  In S1 the novelty prompts a whole new spurt of enthusiastic chatter, at least for a month or so.  But by the time the teen years are reached, school is definitely personal time and it’s no business of parents to know what goes on in their childrens’ private lives, is it?  There are a number of code words for this, ‘boring’ and ‘nothing’ being the most familiar as in the following daily conversation:- Continue reading

The wonderful art of telepathy

Work experience, apparently, is imminent for the S4s.  I say ‘apparently’ as there’s been no contact from the school about this and we have no idea what’s going on.  My main source of information is, as usual, the mothers of friends marginally more communicative than GP1.  I thought perhaps we’d missed some vitally important missive but if we have, my straw poll findings indicate that so have they.  I did find a form yesterday in GP1’s bag to be filled in (one up there on at least one of the friends) if we’re going to find him a placement ourselves, asking for information about the company.  

So my initial questions are:-

  • When is it happening?
  • When do arrangements have to be made?
  • What should we and the school expect from work experience?
  • If we’re going to find a placement ourselves, what should we be looking for?
  • What opportunities do the school provide?
  • How can we work in partnership with the school if we don’t know what’s going on?
  • Why haven’t we been told anything about it? Is it not considered important?

I feel that the answer to the last question is probably ‘No’, otherwise surely the school would have let us know what was going on.  Wouldn’t they?  Or perhaps it happens at the same time every year and so, as with so many things during their school career, we’re just expected to know.  This system of expecting parents to know, honed over many years, functioned moderately well at primary level, with a well-developed gossip network in the village and an on-the-ball child minder.  Unfortunately it doesn’t really wash in the much wider community at secondary school, particularly with a first child going through the school.  I expect I’ll have it figured out by the time GP2 gets there. 

But really, I thought we’d moved beyond telepathy as the primary means of communicating with parents.  Anyone ready to develop a telepathic parent-school partnership?


worm pickingGP1 will be working in the lab at his dad’s place of employment, and he seems surprisingly happy about the prospect.  Picking worms – little does he know!  He already thinks that biologists do the work of the devil (“I’m never going to be a biologist” spoken in a very deep monotone). So that’ll teach him to pass on information, then.