Today might be a good day to put something right which has been hanging over me for the past twenty years. It’s kind of a confession concerning my GCSE maths. I may have mentioned on my blog a while ago that I had to resit my maths GCSE because I didn’t get a C on my first attempt. That was because I was put in the lower tier, where the maximum you could get was a D. That, I want to now admit, was my fault. Mr. Oliver, my maths teacher at Hebden Green, was initially going to put me in the upper tier (I forget the correct terminology, but you know what I mean) which would mean I could get the standard five C’s. But lazy idiot that I was, I asked him to put me in the lower category. At the time, I was also doing A-level English, so I didn’t want to study maths as hard as I should have. That stupid decision, which I haven’t told anyone about, meant my parents hired a private tutor, Mr. Phillips, to make sure I got a C the next year.
The thing I feel most guilty about was that this reflected badly on Mr. Oliver. He was a good teacher, and the fact I didn’t get the right grade the first time around was my fault, not his. I was young (eighteen or so) and stupid. That and the fact that I then started, a few years later, mouthing my head off on the web and in the press a few years later about how special schools failed students probably explains why Mr. Oliver seemed so furious with me when I once visited school about three years after leaving, and hasn’t spoken to me ever since. I feel bad because he was a good man and great teacher, and I’d like to get back into contact with him, if only to apologise and put things right.