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We won’t have been the first or the only school to have wrestled with the idea of school exams. In the end, we decided that the experience of preparing for and sitting exams, and of dealing with the results, and our parents’ and friends’ reactions, is part and parcel of acquiring the admirably sanguine and realistic approach which characterises our oldest pupils. I recently greeted a lively group of Year 13 examinees who’d just dealt with an assessed science practical and asked them what they would pass on by way of advice to their younger peers who are tackling school exams.

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The shrine to George Michael in that elegant Highgate street, The Grove, remains and, seeing it again on one of our family rambles through the Village, I was taken back to the words I had smithed about him and his struggle to align his singing voice with his identity as a gay man back in January of this year when we were tackling what it means in a school to have pupil voice. I was keen that nothing we say should keep or send anyone into any kind of closet. One of the questions I was asked, by Year 12 students, I think, was about gender identity and gender neutrality, and what the school could do to make such a quest more navigable.

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Central Hall, the splendid Edwardian heart to our school – although no longer quite as central since the opening of the upstart Charter Building – hosts a huge pin board which my colleagues and our pupils decorate with thematic displays: Gender Equality, the school play (A Christmas Carol), Brexit, and so on. On our return to school after the Easter holidays we were greeted with an as yet quite bald display of photographs of Jeremy Corbyn, Theresa May, Tim Farron, Paul Nuttall and Nicola Sturgeon, framed with a question in huge letters: Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you? Exciting times for all of us, including those in Year 10 keen to stretch their minds at the next Academic Forum which will talk about the maths behind the election. I’m looking forward to the impact this election will have on the political consciousness of this next generation.

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I have become so long-sighted of late that I have to put on glasses to read my watch. Given the blurry eyesight, I did check, and I found to my surprise that it really is the second week of March: rather like my Year 13s, facing down the barrels of post-mocks reality, I wondered where the time has gone. Certainly not been spent in writing blogs, you might say – I have a list of topics I wanted to get cracking on (persuasive, calming words for 11+ candidates; why we don’t ascribe to the elderly the wisdom they most certainly have; my paperclip creativity moment; political ‘small print’ and our lack of willingness to commit to time to mastering it) but our biennial Gender Equality Awareness Week (GEAW) is on us and I’m twitching to have my say-so, so the other topics will have to sit it out in this blogger’s wings.

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‘Where on earth have you been?’ It’s the standard question my wife asks when I return from our wonderful corner shop, usually with one of our children happy to escape evening homework or their fair share of household chores. Our local store is an Aladdin’s cave of groceries and domestic hardware: in an emergency you can buy everything you’d need for a three-course meal, especially if you like your fruit, vegetables and pulses, but we tend to go there for a couple of items missing from the usual weekly shop, returning with a couple of bags of things we didn’t know we were missing until we spotted them. A chance conversation about red bush tea (then not stocked) led to our being introduced to the pleasures of Turkish tea and tea-making; another about Dundee cakes ensured that whole almonds, both blanched and natural, now feature on the shelf which groans under the weight of cake-making ingredients.

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