My eldest’s last school report made depressing reading. There were far too many predictions of Cs and even Ds at GCSE.
My son is not a grade C kind of boy. He is a bright boy, with a huge general knowledge and a real interest in current affairs and the world around him.
But he has terrible handwriting and isn’t very good at getting his homework done. He does the bare minimum at school. He hides his light under a bushel.
In a huge comprehensive school, the teachers are too busy to go looking for that light under the bushel.
But recently my son decided he wants to go to grammar school for 6th Form. This is a huge turnaround and one I’ve very happy about. To get to grammar school will take some work. It shouldn’t be beyond him, but he really needs to get rid of those predictions of C and D or a grammar school won’t give him a second glance.
In his recent exams, something strange happened. My son revised.
Not a lot. Not as much as I would have liked. But he did it.
He’s never revised for an exam before in his life. I’m ashamed to say that, thanks to a combination of poor communication from school and poor communication from my son, I never even knew when his year 7, 8 or 9 exams were.
I’m pretty sure my son has dysgraphia, which would explain the terrible handwriting and his inability to write a coherent sentence. He is clearly a lot brighter than his written work would lead anyone to believe.
So I was very pleased when the school contacted us a couple of months ago to say that my son has dispensation to use a laptop in exams for all of his subjects, apart from maths. This was a real lifeline for him. His chance to be able to express his ideas legibly and really prove his clever he actually is.
I never got to the bottom of why exactly he’d been given this. He must have been assessed for something, but it really doesn’t matter. What matters, is that he can use it.
And then the year 10 exams came along. And he didn’t use it. Fundamentally, I don’t think he could be bothered to be in a different room from everyone else. I felt frustrated and disappointed by him.
But the results spoke for themselves – As and Bs. I was so pleased. Exactly what I know he’s capable of and a million miles away from the depressing predictions. Yes, there were still one or two lower grades, in music and French, but as long as he can come out of his GCSEs with mainly As, he should be able to fulfil his dream of going to grammar school.
Last week I got a phone call from the school. I don’t think I’ve ever had a phone call from the school before (seriously, this is how hands-off a comprehensive can be). They were phoning to check that I was happy for my son to just use the laptop for English and history GCSEs and mocks, as he had done very well in all of his exams. I’m happy with that. If he can get those results without a laptop, that is fine by me. And he still has the option to use it for any subject if he chooses to, right until the end of year 11.
The teacher on the phone said that the school was very pleased with his results. By her tone of voice, I took that to mean ‘surprised’.
But I’ll take pleased or surprised. I’m just happy to have a son who is finally showing what he is really capable of. Long may it continue.