It is – or, at least, has been – half term week. I had forgotten what a watershed this marks for some people. Specifically, anyone taking their GCSEs. For a proportion of them, the last day before this half term marks the last time that they will attend school regularly. Ever.
For others, of course, it is merely a step on the way to resuming their school career in September in order to take A levels, but at the same time it marks the start of a glorious long summer with nothing to do but enjoy having nothing to do.
At my school, this rite of passage was marked by a special assembly, which was held on the last afternoon of the last day before half term started. The idea was that it was prepared by the Head Boy and Head Girl for the benefit of the rest of the year and would be something to celebrate the fact that an important point had been reached in the lives of the attendees.
There was only one problem with this. I was that Head Boy. Those of you with long memories will recall that my school was foolish enough to (a) appoint people to that role at the age of 15 and (b) appoint me to that role. Needless to say, I made a complete hash of the assembly. To the point where the Head Girl, Kate, refused to have anything to do with it. As did the Deputy Head Girl, Corinne.
In fact, I was such a complete ass over the whole thing that I am pretty sure that I ended up letting no-one – not Kate, not Corinne, not a single one of the thirty prefects – take part in it. It was me, Miss Glenn the Head of Year and possibly Nigel*, the Deputy Head Boy. It was 30 minutes of such utter rubbish that I can remember not a single thing about it. If possible, I would like to go back through time and punch the sixteen year old me very hard. Repeatedly.
*I was such an idiot that I used to call Nigel ‘my deputy’. You see what I mean about the punching?