The exams are over…for now

Students taking GCSE Exams


Daughter one has finished her exams. The nervous tension and aura of impending doom have left the house to be replaced by sadness about chapters coming to an end, gloom about having to resit the exams and terror at the uncertainty of life beyond school. For the moment, though, there is round the clock Gossip Girl as she limps towards the leavers assembly. I am anticipating something similar to the primary school sobfest, but on a much grander scale.

In the meantime, Eurovision has dominated the house and the car [we’ve got the CD]. We have been exposed to endless analyses of every aspect of the contest. It is not enough to just watch Sweden on a loop. We are also forced to watch all the interviews on Youtube and the last 50 years of Eurovision, comparing all the winners. Only son has been roped in and his big favourite is the bearded men of Denmark. It’s even becoming fairly educational. Only son thinks his French is good enough to understand the French entry and is busy studying all the words.

Family life is about keeping across lots of different agendas. While Eurovision has united the team, there are a lot of things bubbling under the surface. Much of the last few weeks have been spent helping to sustain daughter one both physically and mentally. That means everything from buying chocolate and worrying about her getting migraines since staying up late to study and nerves are a trigger to trying to pick up her spirits after a bad exam.

Then there is daughter three whose schooling we are sorting out following the bullying problems. In the meantime, she is keeping up her studies with a load of books from the library and lesson plans online. She now understands the Peasant’s Revolt and fractions and is getting to grips with tectonic plates. She wasn’t able to concentrate in school due to worrying about the generally hostile atmosphere.

I’m beginning to detect a slight bit of worry about the GCSEs creeping into daughter two’s thought processes. I met up with my cousins two weekends ago who also have children in year 10. They spoke in great detail about the year 10 exams and how stressful it all was and how important they were. Daughter two has not mentioned a single thing about them up to now. “When are the year 10 exams?” I asked on my return. “Oh, those, mum. There’s nothing to worry about. No-one cares about them,” she said at the time. A week later she was asking if I could get her the history revision notes on e-Bay. Mostly, though, she seems fairly indifferent to the pre-GCSE stress. I poked my head in her room the other day. “You doing homework?” I asked. Of course not. She was watching an interview with the Spanish Eurovision couple and printing out yet another photo of George Harrison. Her bed is surrounded by pictures of George Harrison and she is reading his autobiography. It’s a pity there is no GCSE on the works of George Harrison.

Meanwhile, only son is gearing up to half term and beginning to feel a little self-conscious about doing dance club. “Can you paint out the dance school logo on my t-shirt, mum?” he asked the other day. It appears that when he passes by the year 5 class on his way to dance club he gets a bit of teasing from the boys. Only son and his friend are the only boys in the club. The thing is that only son loves dancing. He wakes us up on Saturday mornings with a dance extravaganza and has choreographed all the tunes on the apps he plays. I’ve done my Billy Elliott speech to make him feel less worried about it, but I’m not sure it is working. In the meantime, my mum is babysitting for him and daughter two next weekend as I am taking the other two to a festival I work at. That should be an interesting combination.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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