December 9 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
In the week we learn that O-levels are being brought back to replace ‘easy’ GCSEs we also found out what constitutes ‘creative writing’ in current English lessons.
Wesley Walker, 14, was told to write to his mother as if he had a terminal illness and only had a few hours to live. It’s a small step up from writing about what you did on holiday.
“I am writing this letter to say goodbye and thank you for giving me life and don’t cry I don’t want you to be sad I want you to remember the fun times and the happy times,” he wrote.
His mum certainly won’t be remembering her son for his artful use of punctuation.
“I know I have been a pain at the best of times but I am with nan and granddad now.”
Presumably annoying them.
After penning their depressing farewells, children were then told to take their work home. Wesley gave his letter to his mum.
“He handed it to me one evening and then just went upstairs to bed,” said Vicki Walker. “I really felt like I was going to find him hanging from his bed.”
Quite why Wesley didn’t think to tell his mother that the letter he produced for her was part of his GCSE Macabre Studies coursework rather than a suicide note is anyone’s guess. It’s one way to guarantee attention, but then again, being put on 24-hour suicide watch if you’re a teenage boy is very restrictive, especially if you need, er, a bit of privacy several times a day/ hour.
Wesley’s school, the ridiculously named ‘Discovery Academy’, said the exercise was part of an ‘expressive art’ lesson. ‘Expressive art’ lessons? It’s enough to make a cat laugh.
When I was at school, the closest we got to ‘expressive art’ was making a clay coil pot or drawing a still-life of a geranium. No one at any point suggested I write a suicide note and then give it to my mum without any explanation. That said, when I went to university, I did do a module called, snappily, ethnomethodology, where we were expected to study people’s behaviour without them knowing we were doing so. One of the exercises was to get on a bus and, regardless of how many empty seats were available, sit next to someone and invade their personal space. This was, in Toxteth, the equivalent of writing your own suicide note. How I am still alive and not with nan and granddad now is anyone’s guess.