Tag Archives: O-Levels

March 11th 1975

“Got elected onto committee. Passed Economics O-Level. packed up Vivienne”

What a day……..

Barton Peveril had a Sixth Form society – colloquially known as the “Coffee Club” – responsible for arranging the entertainment aspects of the students.

With the year-end exams looming – well 3 months distant – I suppose it felt prudent for the college to induct the new organising committee in advance of the 2nd year 6th students hunkering down to their (supposedly more important) educational matters?

I originally ran for President of the society, drawing up ‘vote for me’ posters based on famous album sleeves (one was based on David Bowie’s “Aladdin Sane” cover, with the tagline “A Lad Insane Enough to be running for President“) and gave a speech on stage during which time I tried to bribe the audience (voters) by tossing blackjacks and fruit salads (popular 4-for-a-penny sweets of the time made by Bassetts) into the crowd.

My competitor was a certain John Sweeney, a name who media fanatics may recognise as someone who worked for the Guardian newspaper before becoming one of the BBC’s top investigative journalists.

Other people may recognise him as the unfortunate reporter who – somewhat fired up – went apeshit ballistic on Tommy Davis, a representative of the Church of Scientology during a BBC “Panorama” documentary about the odious religious cult.

A piece of television history that went ‘viral’ (as they say in internet speak) attracting squillions of online hits.

John Sweeney, trying to look happier

Anyway, back to the election…. John was blessed with an ‘actor’s voice’ and thus gave a pleasing oratory to the hundreds of students hanging on his every word. I then followed him in my ‘Ampshire ‘Og accent with a speech packed with jokes rather than any substance. (I was, if you like, the Palin to his Obama)

Votes were duly cast…. and as I state somewhere else on the internet, “John Sweeney prevailed. He went on to present programmes for the BBC, and I went on to watch them

By way of a runners-up prize I was offered a place on the organising committee. My good friends Nobby, Niles, Tony & Nigel all ended up with representative nods too, so it looked like a fun time was ahead…

However, it appears it’s all over for me and the illustrious Vivienne? I have “packed her up” apparently. Maybe it became the case that I got glandular fever from her, but precious little else? Ouch!!

Oh, and there’s confirmation that I nabbed another GCE O-Level.


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January 20th 1975

“Economics ‘O’ level retake”

Regular EFA70sTRO readers will recall that I pretty much crashed and burned in my GCE O-Levels back in August 1974.

Amongst the subject I failed at was Economics.

Seems like I was allowed to retake it?

How would I fare this time?

I don’t think my diary ever reports it so I will ease your intense unrelenting curiosity to inform you that…

I passed!

(OK, with another infernal ‘E’ grade…. but hey, it was still a pass!)

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1974 School Reports

Following on from my 1973 reports (for which I received several sarcastic comments offline) I bring you my February 1974 school reports… which appear to show little or no improvement…. indeed a worrying lack of concentration. Bear in mind these reports followed up my mock O-Level examinations, the real ones (in July) representing the kick-start I would require for the rest of my working life and career. (In theory)

“Patchy” eh? “Doubts” regarding my “willingness to work hard” eh? I guess I made up for it all when I left school and college.

So, my mock O-Levels yielded scores below 50% and Mr Middleton asks me for ‘steady effort’. I think we all know where this is headed, don’t we?

It’s that ‘persistence’ that might let me down!

“Some evidence”…. “but only with a considerable effort”. Dr Erasmus was no fool was he?

Looks like Mr Bulmer has given up on me as much as I have given up on myself? … “he has now left himself far too much to do”. Nothing like a bit of encouragement is there?

Oooooh….. someone got a typewriter for Christmas didn’t they?

Remember how Physics was my best subject? Bugger.

“So, this pound note, a shekel and a rouble go into a bar…….”

“Worked hard”….. but “is still below standard”. Story of my life really! 😉

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January 21st 1974

“Economics -> Hard” / “Geog (Europe World) -> Hard”

The mocks continue to mock me back!

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January 14th / 15th / 16th / 17th / 18th (Part I) 1974

• “History -> Hard” / “RE -> ?”
• “Geog (Ord Surv Brit Isles) -> Bloody Hard”
• “Eng Lit -> Easy” / “French -> Hard”
• “Physics -> Hard”
• “TD -> Hard”

The mock O-Levels continue, seemingly relentlessly

Most things seem as if they were ‘hard’.

Geography scored “bloody hard” (“No surprise there” says Mrs EFA70sTRO), whilst Religious Education was noted as no more than one big question mark.

Ooooh… “18th (part I)”… does this mean there will be something interesting tomorrow I hear you ponder?

Well, yes and no actually.

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January 9th / 10th 1974

• “French -> hard”
• “Eng Lang” -> hard” / “Ad Maths -> ha hard”

Yes, I wrote “ha hard” for Advanced Mathematics.

My lack of seriousness about these exams is somewhat troubling to say the least!

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January 8th 1974

“BACK TO SCHOOL – MOCKS BEGIN AFN” / “Eng Lang 2 -> hard!” / “Tim B gave me £2.50 for Heep Live”

For most 16-year-old kids in 1974 the start of their Mock GCSE O-Levels would be an important turning point in their life.

For me THE most important turning point in mine was that – YESSSSSSSSSSSSS! – I successfully palmed off that AWFUL Uriah Heep album to an unsuspecting fool.

What’s more, this “Tim B” fellow actually gave me money for it!

Doubtless making the alleged difficulty of “English Language 2” (Dumb & Dumberer?) easier to swallow

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September 20th 1973

“Found chain” / “Got official o’level certificate”

I think this goes down as an official “good day” for me in 1973.

Not only did I find the elusive identity bracelet, but I also collected the official certificate proving I had already passed my Maths O-Level a year earlier than many of my peers.

In an occurrence that I still find “curious” after all these years, a neighbours kid claimed he found the bracelet in some hedges or other up near the Fox & Hounds pub. He saw the name on the back, associated it with me and got his folks to bring it to us. He was rewarded.

However, I have no idea why it would have been found up near the pub – no, really, I don’t! – and I suspect instead some kind of mischievous foul play.

36 years later I know where the chain is, but haven’t got a clue where the certificate might be. I wonder if I could even get a replacement in the highly unlikely event I would need one?

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