Years ago, as an English literature student, one of the books I studied was Thackeray’s Vanity Fair. It was tome that, at first, was slightly daunting; however, I soon became enthralled and somewhat horrified by the ambitious nature of the main character as she resourcefully plotted how to improve her opportunities in life.
As we know though there are better routes to success that amoral behaviour and scheming. Many of these rely on passing a set of tests to allow the pathways to be navigated and the doors to be unlocked.
Working in a prep school we are joyously free from the constraints of exam syllabi and grade boundaries. However, there was a buzz of excitement (and relief) this summer as the Senior School pupils received their exam results. This is not an event I have been part of in a school before and it was interesting and humbling to note how invested the pupils and parents were; but also the staff.
Not only did they want to check how their class faired to level their teaching of new curriculums but there was also real devotion to the individual; those who had to work particularly hard, or some who had perhaps thought they could take things too easy.
Many pupils are now starting their A Level journey but some have taken the next step and are beginning to take on the first challenge of their adult life as they pack up for university courses.
I will be watching the coming adaptation of Vanity Fair with interest in the coming weeks. As Thackeray’s tale is brought to life depicting; “A world where everyone is striving for what is not worth having.”
I am sure our pupils will be successful in their endeavours in whichever field they choose and hope they remember that not everything of value is valuable as they travel though their lives.