When the news broke that Prince William and Kate Middleton were to marry, the tabloid party began, with all sorts of hoorays and cheers for the Royal Wedding to come. Whilst I feel sure the palace representatives will do their best to ensure the event meets the mood of the moment, even perhaps match the BBC royal correspondent’s pious hopes that Buckingham Palace would be “very sensitive” to the economic climate when making its plans. Nicholas Witchell was brave enough to report that: “They will want to send a very definite signal that it is not on the lavish scale of the Charles and Diana wedding of 30 years ago, that it will be a royal wedding suitable and appropriate to the times.”
What a shame then that the wedding date is set to collide with one of the busiest parts of the school year, reducing by one the very limited number of days pupils have for preparation prior to the onslaught of public examinations for A level and GCSE. To be honest, it seems a perfect storm this year, with Easter at its latest date technically possible, followed just a few days later now with 2 bank holidays declared, one of course for the Royal Wedding on the Friday, and the May day Monday off too. With so many families challenged by the demands of juggling home and work, I quite understand why they might actually compress the Easter and extended Bank holiday weekend into a holiday fortnight, getting perhaps the best of both worlds.
Of course I take the point that there is plenty of time lower down the school for pupils to catch-up on lost time, though for those of us in the Independent sector, this extra day of holiday does mean a lost Saturday of sports fixtures and out of school activities too, as well as the lost Friday to the wedding. Just 4 weeks later, the schools’ break for half-term means we break actually before such as rest is deserved, with younger pupils not really fully engaged in the ‘whole’ of school life we feel they should experience.
The point I am trying to make is of course that the flower of British Youth don’t need any excuse to take the eye off their examination schedule. I have no doubt that the highly committed will remain just that, but for those that are mere mortals (and count me in that category in my teenage years as now), the fracturing of the usual cut-and-mow of academic activity is simply not needed in any school timetable. For those whose school career ends after the examinations, they’ll have plenty of time to recover then, and they don’t need to get their laurels ready for resting on when Friday 29 April and all that pomp arrives.