Getting the Grade

It’s been a long week of waiting especially for 16 year olds and their wearied families.  Last Wednesday brought a stream of successful A’level results; leading to young futures being mapped out as scenes of happy teenagers realise they had won that coveted place at university as they study the sheets of paper handed to them.

This week it was the turn of the GCSE results.  Boys and girls up and down the country have been back apprehensively attending school; for one long drawn out moment of intense emotion, as they learn how well they have done.  All those tedious hours of study, those nagged timely homeworks and all those missed activities; were they enough?

I made a point of being up early.  I had not been asked but I knew it would come and when it did it would be instant.   “I need a lift now?”

The last two years have been a long haul for No 1 Son dealing with more than just the usual teenage angst, lack of motivation and general ennui that his classmates seem to have overcome.

He, not surprisingly being such a keen sports player, opted to take Further PE as one of his options.   He would of course focus all his passion on rugby as his main sporting activity.  Fate however, was not of the same opinion and he was distraught and devastated by the distressing news he needed pins in his hips and would be out of contact sport action for a whole year.  The first operation was just before he embarked on his GCSE course.  Six weeks spent in a wheel chair and a further six on crutches before he tentatively began walking and gently jogging.  Then tragedy struck as fate dealt her next blow; the second hip gave way and he was catapulted back to square one.

The second operation took us less by surprise as we now knew there was weakness but the timing could not have been worse.   Weeks into the new school term and days before the first set of exams in his modular English, Maths and Science GCSE were due to be sat.   When the pain came it was almost routine, one phone call and we leap frogged the waiting list to be seen.  That day we were admitted and the operation took place early the next morning.

No 1 Son still suffering from the anaesthetic was taken from his hospital bed straight to school to sit his maths exam.  Unable to keep track of the time due to severe bouts of sleepiness; how was he ever going to remember how to divide fractions or work out the circumference of a trapezium.  He sat uncomfortably in his wheelchair wondering what day it was, as he filled in the hazy paper in front of him.  Two days later still heavily dependent on pain killers, still tired and angry we dropped him back at school to discuss the merits of the chosen topic book.  A story in which he had already struggled to find empathy with any of the characters.

Disappointing results were met with his school wanting to move him down a group in maths and to monitor his English.   I don’t get belligerent often, but armed with an arsenal of justifying persuasions I tackled the school who gave in without fight on the proviso his next results were better and he would retake these modules studying on his own.  The battle rules were laid.  Only he could pull it back, but at what cost.

The first year of his course for PE he watched longingly as the others played their sports and developed their skills while he read the theory.  Once fit but unable to play rugby he took to refereeing the game which helped his study of the laws and added another strand to his practical sports.  He took up tennis with less chance of being in a crash or wipe out. Sluggishly his serve found its home as he sauntered along the base line hoping for a long return with restricted stretch.

He had taken the battle rules and reworked them for himself, he was not going to let them move him.  He knuckled down and worked; creating revision timetables to focus his time and energies.  He limited his party going, opting if not preferring to have proper sleep rather than beer infused dozing.  He exercised his way to peak fitness, losing all the weight that had begun to drag him down after months of inactivity.  Back on his beloved rugby field he came from nowhere to take the end of season “most improved back” trophy.   He practised his new found tennis skills and can return a mean backhand down the line challenging some of his county level playing friends.

Notes of revision were posted over the house explaining assonance, alliteration and adverbs.  Diagrams of algebraic fractions and wigwams began appearing on the bathroom walls!   He dragged himself reluctantly off to extra classes and took on extra homework to catch up on his lost year.  Finally he sat the last exams and today he will want to go and collect his results.

Whatever his results give us he has scored an A* for his dedicated, disciplined and determined attitude to achievement and he deserves so much more than a sheet of paper with a few letters on.   He has overcome huge obstacles to get to this stage.  We asked for best effort and that is exactly what he delivered. So well done No 1 Son!

Dedication, discipline and determination A*

“Mum are you doing anything, could you just give me a lift to school my friends are meeting there in a few minutes……..!”


Check out my cooking blog at Teatime Treats with Tiggy

PS:   Of course I cannot reveal his results as they are between him and who he wishes to divulge them to.   To say we are proud is an understatement but I feel my belligerence has been vindicated.  His English and Science were above predicted and his Maths was way above all predictions. Two years ago he was in a wheelchair; today he has exceeded all expectations delivering an incredible result in his Sports GCSE.


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