After the high of his year 10 exams last year, in which his teachers perhaps realised for the first time that my son was more capable than he was letting on, it was time for his GCSE mocks.
The mocks are actually really important – because they determine his predictions and any offers of 6th form places are dependent on his predictions. As he would like to go to a grammar school for 6th form, good predictions are essential for my son.
But in the mind of a teenage boy, certainly this teenage boy, those big things don’t make him think ‘It’s really important for me to do my revision’. Somewhere along the line, the message turns into ‘Spend lots of time on Snapchat/ watching YouTube videos on your phone, go to bed really late and don’t do any revision’.
So we had a battle on our hands.
The resounding message from both his most recent school report and his parents’ evening was that my son is a very able boy. He is currently around a B grade in most of his subjects. With a bit of effort, he can push himself up to an A. But without the effort, he could easily end up with Cs.
Now I appreciate that for some people, Cs are a real achievement. But, actually, my son is brighter than that. For me, education should be about achieving your own potential – and for my eldest that is a mixture of As and Bs. If he achieves that, he can feel confident that he has done his very best and should rightly feel very proud of himself. I know we will feel very proud of him.
We realised the only way to get him to revise for his mocks was with a lot of encouragement, a lot of breaks and a lot of checking and testing by us. He worked better if there was something he could do online (he did a lot of maths for that reason) or if there was a revision book he could work from.
I can say that he didn’t do quite as much revision as we’d hoped, but he did revise.
What were we hoping for in his mocks?
Good results, of course.
But there was a small element of us hoping for one or two shocks, just to remind him that things can go wrong and that he needs to work hard for the real thing to be certain of those top grades.
And I’m pleased to say that the results were very good. He got a lot of Bs, a remarkable A* (not even in what he considers to be his best subject), a 7 in his maths – equivalent to an A (maths and English this year are marked 9 to 1 – with 9 being higher than the old A* and 1 being the bottom grade), one of those shocks and one lost cause (a cause that we’ve known all along was lost, so we’re not wasting time worrying about it).
We’re very pleased with his results, achieved with not a lot of revision. Hopefully they will be enough to get him the predictions he needs to get into grammar school.
Now the challenge is to get him to keep working and to turn those Bs into As and come out with the results he is really capable of in his GCSEs this summer.