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Luck, sweat and fears: going for broke in a broken system

GCSEs are a frenzied time for staff and students, but a better blueprint for exam season might ease the pressure to make do and mend

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I’m writing this on the morning of the first GCSE English paper at my place of work. After attempting to brace myself against a tsunami of bodies, nervous chatter, unconvincing posturing and a fair few cases of the exam-day crazies, I fail miserably. Within minutes, I end up being stampeded by the gargantuan wave of anxiety-filled students while attempting to tick countless names off a sign-in sheet that’s sent to admin so they can ring round and beg, cajole or threaten any stragglers in an attempt to get their sorry carcasses into one of the 60 or so classrooms that have been allocated for ...

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