Just as there are some colleagues in school who have been happily whiffling on about the Euro 2020 football tournament for several weeks now, there are others who will be equally happy to display total and utter indifference.
And while the former can now enjoy wall-to-wall football and indulge in near-constant debate and discussion, it’s surely time that the proudly ignorant and apathetic got something out of these seemingly endless events, too. How about a GCSE in Couldn’t Care Less?
There’s never been a better time to offer such an award, now that so many of us have turned into mini-exam boards in our own right and are currently living and sleeping those exam grades.
I catch myself attempting to grade just about everything in my life now, from the morning queue at the roundabout to the quality of my night’s sleep. I feel that I have never been in a better place to offer such a robust qualification, and have written the necessary grade descriptors (which took me no longer than it took Ofqual to write its own).
Euro 2020: How about a GCSE in Couldn't Care Less About Football?
So, if you claim to be comfortably ensconced inside the camp of football apathy and ignorance, all that’s left now is for you to work out which grade you qualify for, and to award yourself accordingly.
Your level of disengagement and ignorance is truly outstanding.
Even now, you are completely unaware of what the hell Euro 2020 is, if indeed you have heard of it at all. When you overhear “Euros”, you just think of a currency you once dreamed of using again this summer.
No one at all in school ever even mentions the game to you, as you exude such absolute indifference.
You share some of the characteristics of the grade 9, but there’s a tiny smattering of knowledge that prevents you from being at the very top of the tree.
You can, for instance, name one or two footballers. You perhaps believe that a fellow called Rooney still plays for England. If pushed to name another England player, the name Beckham would first spring to mind. The only other footballer you have heard of is Marcus Rashford – but not because of football.
But that’s your only weakness. In terms of football knowledge, you otherwise have an impressively clean sheet. When a child once asked you which team you supported, you perhaps replied, “Oh, I don’t know. Not even sure I actually know any teams. Leicester Forest Services, maybe?”
Again, you show an impressive lack of interest in the game. However, a few marks are lost when you confess to colleagues, in a few days’ time, that you accidentally watched some of the England versus Scotland game after switching on the TV to watch another few episodes of your Euros-escaping Netflix saga.
You have a commendable level of instinctive apathy and indifference, but resent the fact that there is, nonetheless, some small but permanently settled footballing trivia stuck in your brain.
Perhaps this is because for too long you went out with a serious football fan, or maybe you were brought up as a child in a football-obsessed household, or maybe you are a parent and live in a household where they drone on and on about the game.
You have had no choice but to absorb some football knowledge. It’s not your fault that this stuff is now lodged in your head for ever, but it does prevent you from qualifying for one of the very highest grades.
You have no genuine interest, but you have agreed to take part in the staff Euro 2020 sweepstake. You are now disappointing your higher-level GCSE Don’t Care colleagues by displaying far too much interest in the fortunes of your chosen team.
You don’t normally like football at all, but now find yourself getting drawn into watching your own national team’s matches, during which you are heard shrieking “Shoot, you idiot!”
For a few weeks, you even develop a view on “whether he should start with Grealish” and whether they should “play just three at the back”.
There are some clear weaknesses in your claim to be part of the “couldn’t care less” crowd of colleagues. You even watch some of the matches where neither your national team nor your sweepstake team are playing.
Similar to a grade 3, but there are also ugly rumours of a Euros wallchart in your kitchen. Where’s your (lack of) commitment?
You say you have “no time for football”, yet so much of the evidence points to the contrary. Someone heard you say “VAR” in the team-room the other day, and you also appear to have a view on whether Harry Kane is “world-class” or not, and whether Gareth Bale can still “do it” for Wales.
In fact, you sound as if you are, deep down, on entirely the wrong course here. GCSE World Cup Waffle 2022 – that will be the better one for you.
Stephen Petty is head of humanities at Lord Williams’s School in Thame, Oxfordshire