Once a British Citizen, always a Brit, despite failing the test.

As my school knows, I really enjoy preparing a good assembly. On Thursday last week, we were saying goodbye to Oskar, a bright and engaging German who has spent the last 5 months in our Year 11, improving his English and on occasion showing his English peers a clean pair of heels when it comes to quality writing!

The stage was set at the start of the day, with my assembly focussing more generally on the arrival of Citizenship with the Romans – one of those ‘What did they ever do for us’ moments. Our Year 11 Public Speaking team had won the local Rotary speaking competition in Henley last Monday, so it seemed sensible to bring them into focus, and Mr Hogg, their trainer, gave them a good write-up and they were re-presented with their cups and medals.

Just as they thought they were going to sit down, I established that they, together with Mr Hogg and the Head of History, were going to represent the UK in a live ‘British Citizenship’ test against 5 of the school’s finest foreigners. Step up 4 staff and Oskar (much to his surprise). Live on the big screen, question after question was shown to the 2 groups, who could confer for 30 seconds before being pressed to give their answers. We only had time for 6 questions, and the home team slunk in 2 points to 1, a narrow win for England!

Now when I sat the full practice test last Wednesday, I genuinely gave of my best, but I simply did not know some of the mindlessly silly facts our ‘aspiring’ UK citizen is forced to learn – scoring a healthy 73%, I really did not expect to find this was not good enough, and it meant I did not qualify!  Woe was me.

You can see the Assembly presentation I created for the event here – http://prezi.com/_9zvxwpi-__q/citizenship-from-ancient-rome-to-the-present-day/.  The live bit was of course when the link to the UK Citizenship test link appears, and you can click on that in the Prezi as well as here – http://www.ukcitizenshiptest.co.uk/.   Fortunately for me, despite suffering this terrible humiliation, Border Control Agency Guards have not appeared at my house or at school to take me away, nor indeed did school feel I should be deported either.  That’s probably because they were just as ‘snookered’ as I by the sheer range of useless facts it appears we need to know as Brits.

Oskar was presented with all sorts of CCS goodies, including one of our anniversary pin badges and a signed ‘Malo Mori’ card from all his year.  As a citizen of Europe, he has the right always to return to the UK, and if he does, it’s fair to say our country will be the richer for it.  I wonder how many of our Year 11 will think about popping overseas for a month or two this coming summer after their GCSEs; in the past, our keen linguists took the opportunity, but these days I am afraid such impetuous behaviour is rarely seen.

My worst answers in the Quiz were to the following:

How many parliamentary constituencies are there?

In which year did married women get the right to divorce their husband?

The number of children and young people up to the age of 19 in the UK is?

The percentage of people in the UK in 2001 who said they were Muslims was?

Anyway, I don’t need answers on a postcard, because the practice test helpfully allows you to run through the Feedback to see what went wrong.  This meant that when I took the test again, I got a whopping 100% – but that’s cheating!  I have recommended to Year 10 that they have a go, and let’s see quite how well CC is educating them as Citizens of the UK.  I suspect not quite as badly as their boss did, partly because being an on-line test, they’ll pop open another window and use Mr Google to provide some help!  After all, with 45 minutes to take the test, there’s bags of time to complete the test and reach Angry Birds level 6 – sadly another life skill currently not yet achieved by yours truly!



About jameswilding

Academic Principal Claires Court Schools Long term member & advocate of the Independent Schools Association
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1 Response to Once a British Citizen, always a Brit, despite failing the test.

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