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As everyone knows, yesterday the GCSE results were announced and much jubilation and rejoicing seems to be celebrated by many of my contacts in the virtual world of social networks. Over the last couple of weeks I have been corresponding via e-mail with my former headmaster at the school I mentioned in my last blog, inevitably this has stirred up many memories and the day of my own results is one such jolt from the past.

Me with my guitar. Link to this photograph on flickr. This will open in a new window or tab.I was not a good pupil, I hated learning, I was not interested in anything much and was most times bored with lessons, not all of them, but most. Consequently I didn’t try, made very little attempt to try and generally squandered my educational years in the wonderful world of daydreaming and diligently avoiding work. My one love during my GCE year was my guitar, I was not good with it, but I spent far too much time idly twanging when I should have been studying.

I was going to sit some GCE examinations though, Art, English Language, English Literature and Geography, the limit of my ability as far as the school was concerned, although I wasn’t so sure. I knew as soon as I sat the exam that I’d failed the Art, my attempt at drawing a boring old plant was feeble to say the least, perhaps I’d gain a few extra points with my lettering though, which I knew was good. The Literature thing was a struggle, seemed to be all boring old Shakespeare, very much overrated in my mind, and the English Language should be alright, but then again . . .  the only one I felt a little confident about was the Geography, my love of maps made this a favourite subject, the teacher was excellent too, about the only one who didn’t dislike me because I was idle and daydreamed.

After the exams we all had to write our own postal-results card, that is, the subject, followed by the words PASS and FAIL, and then put this card in an envelope addressed to ourselves. On the day of the results the staff at school only had to cross out whichever didn’t apply and post them off to us; I really didn’t want to receive mine, I just knew what lay in store.

We were in North Wales, on holiday, when the results came out, the letter containing the news would lie on the doormat until we returned home. We’d had a good time up north, but I was dreading the reaction when I opened the letter I had addressed to myself that would inevitably bring much gloom upon the household, well upon myself and my parents anyway. Sure enough, I had failed the lot of them, not one pass, not even my Geography, I was really in the doghouse that day, although to be fair there was no going-on at great length about it, I guess the silence of disappointment was a greater burden for me to bear. I wasn’t alone, one or two of my peers were also failures, although none of them were 100% like me!

Anyway, there is a happier ending to this story, I re-sat the English Language in the autumn and passed, and with help from a teacher in the grammar school also passed the Literature paper, it didn’t help with my appreciation of Shakespeare however. I don’t remember now what happened about the Geography and Art but the following summer I also passed GCE in Music, a subject which I crammed five years of work into one year, thanks to an excellent dedicated teacher and a very small class of just four pupils.

Somewhere I have the certificates for those three GCE exams, but since moving house can’t find anything. As for my future, well, very little of my education was to be of any use to me at all. The English has been helpful as I can adequately string a few words together and my spelling, even from when I could first read, has always been excellent. The legacy of Geography is a huge collection of maps which I still love, and Music continues to play a large part in my life, with an interest in many genres; I gave up strumming the guitar many moons ago though!

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