Keeping examination results in perspective… | Portsmouth High School

Keeping examination results in perspective…

You may have read Blanche Girouard’s, a teacher at St Paul’s Girls’ School, comments reported in most major newspapers recently. Writing in The Oldie she said that something had gone wrong with education and she lamented the era when girls were not pushed academically.

Girls may have been happier, she said, when all was expected of them was that they marry rather than go to university. Ms Girouard bemoaned how “today’s girls aren’t going on nature walks or learning poetry off by heart – they’re cramming their heads full of facts”.

I don’t know Ms Girouard’s teaching subject but I suspect it is not social history. In the past not many girls were fortunate enough to spend their days reading poetry waiting for a man to marry to come along. Most worked either informally in the home helping with chores or on the land and later in factories.

I wondered if Ms Girouard has read much of Jane Austen; although fiction Austen’s novels reflect on the real problem for young women in the 19th century to find a suitor and moreover one they liked especially if, like the Bennett sisters, they were without a fortune. “Happiness in marriage entirely a matter of chance” Charlotte Lucas remarks to Lizzie.

However, I do think Ms Girouard has a point when she says that examination results are not the key to a happy and successful future. At this time of the year when the sixth form and Year 11 are gearing themselves up for mocks and public examinations it is worth keeping this in mind. It is for this reason we encourage girls to put everything into perspective and to make sure they balance school work with activities whilst also ensuring they make time for a rest.