Dennis Richards: Here’s why we shouldn’t hold exams in the summer

World Cup football is an unwelcome distraction when it comes to exams.
World Cup football is an unwelcome distraction when it comes to exams.

Another school year is rapidly coming towards its end. Truth be told, it’s not been an easy one. Mental health and childhood obesity have become increasingly significant issues and the cannabis dilemma raised its yet head again.

I have never underestimated the impact of social problems on our young people since my night in prison.

Yes you read that right.

When Thorp Arch opened a new facility some years ago they offered it for one night to schools and charities as a fundraiser. “Send someone to prison for a night”.

I should have seen what was coming.

The raffle is duly organised. The kids pay 50p each to vote for the teacher they would most like to see spend a night in prison.

It’s rigged of course. I win it or, more accurately, lose it. An arrest is staged and I am carted off to prison in a police van.

It might have been a good idea to inform the neighbours first.

It takes a full 24 hours to quell the rumours of my arrest and subsequent disgrace.

It was the worst night of my life.

The prison officers took it far too seriously for my liking.

The bed was made of concrete and the pillow was like a brick. Drugs and self-harm are the major headaches in prisons. Awful.

On a brighter note school trips are now under way to all parts of the globe.

Year 11 and Year 13 have already left and teachers have turned their attention to the chore of writing reports. It’s different again this year. The fountain pen is long gone.

Voice recognition is in vogue.

You simply talk to your computer and somehow a report emerges.

Fraught with risk I would have thought.

It must be such a temptation to be honest and then forget to delete it afterwards.

The Times Diary says that the languages teachers are the most cynical.

“Tolley remains bottom in French, despite keen competition for his position.

“By the time Henry is able to express himself in French, he will be too old to cross the Channel”.

Exams are over and forgotten for at least six weeks. Just a word of warning about the results this year for parents of boys.

Research indicates that boys perform worse in exams in a World Cup Year.

FIFA, with singular lack of foresight, managed to schedule the early games of the World Cup on nights before big exams. But hey ho school proms are in full swing and attention is swiftly turning to the beach.

This is, of course, the time of year when we say farewell to long-serving staff moving on to retirement.

Some have been preparing for it for years and have announced it well in advance.

Others try to slip away without fuss to avoid that ghastly bit where people who don’t really like you, have to find something nice to say about you.

According to the late great Ted Wragg “the ultimate nightmare is to receive weedy praise……e.g. he was always good with paperwork. Worst of all, according to Prof Wragg, is to be given the marmalade jar treatment, effectively invited to follow the instructions on the lid…. “turn slowly and firmly and then push off”. Others never seem to get round to it at all.

Or do so, and then turn up again.

Barry Cryer says it’s about not liking growing old. “I was 83 a couple of weeks ago.

“The candles cost more than the cake and two people fainted from the heat.”

September is another world in another age. It will come round soon enough.