Object no 9 is penned in AER’s signature purple ink. On the face of it, a casual note. Digging deeper, it reveals a complex story about a fundamental debate in education over the last 160 years.
At the end of June every year schools across the country sink back exhausted from the onslaught of public exams. Annually pupils bemoan the waste of sunny days spent crouched over revision notes or shut in echoing halls over exam papers. Examiners brace themselves for the piles of semi-legible scripts. Parents anxiously await those dates in August when GCSE and A Level results are announced – hoping that their offspring will inform them of success, or dreading failure. And then there is the rugby scrum which is UCAS as places at universities and colleges are achieved or re-negotiated when those results are known. For many it is the stuff of nightmares. It has been the butt of jokes, of satire, even of assassination...
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