A headmaster of a school in Newtonstewart today denied that an extension in the school summer holidays until nearly Christmas was influenced by the stress of the job.
Headmaster of St Mark’s Secondary School in Newtonstewart Colm McQuillan, confirmed that the summer break will begin today, and continue until Friday 12 December. Sitting in a darkened study with a damp facecloth over his forehead, the headmaster said,
“Personally I love my job. Can’t get enough if it. But those kids deserve a big long break. Jays, they’ve been working tara hard. They must be exhausted. Poor critters”. He continued, “They finish this week and come back on the 12th of December, in time for some carols, probably the nice gentle ones like Silent Night, or maybe just quiet reflection about the wonder of the story of Jesus, and then they’ll be off for the Christmas break. Which for 2015 will extend until Easter”.
McQuillan has faced criticism from parents for introduced some unorthodox teaching methods at the school, including morning prayers being replaced with an hour’s meditation, yoga being incorporated into PE lessons, and the syllabus for the English GCSE now including ‘The Little Book of Calm’ as compulsory reading text. He was also accused by many of being unable to cope with the stress.
“Stressful? What, this job?”, whispered McQuillan. “Don’t be daft. Never in a million years. I love my job. Well, maybe just a tiny touch stressful sometimes, you know. Just the occasional few days. Well, five actually. Monday to Friday. It’s the ringing noise in my ears, you see, I can’t get rid of the ringing noise. I get it all the time. Especially at about 9 o’clock and 4.15 every day. I wish it would stop. But I’m fine. Really, I’m fine”.
McQuillan confirmed that the change was entirely driven by ‘educational needs’ and nothing to do with his own personal circumstances.
“Oh aye, absolutely. Nothing to do with the teachers. It’s the kids, definitely the kids. Six lovely long, long months of just sitting, with no noise, in peace and quiet…”,
he said, before tailing off and staring into the middle distance.
Evidence has come to light that CCEA, AQA and other examination boards may have marked down Tyrone students as far back as 1955 because of the particular dialect from the various regions within the county. News of this blatant discrimination was leaked after a Tyrone teacher was accepted onto a GCSE marking team for the first time since education began. English teacher Mr Peter McKay from Gortin was sampling an exam answer with other teachers from England when it became clear he was letting certain words and phrases go which would otherwise be deemed a fail by the vast majority of markers.
“I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I was marking a piece of Romeo and Juliet coursework and the student, who seemed to be from a Dungannon school, wrote ‘Romeo is a bit of a gope who should’ve shut his bake. Their going out with each other was completely banjaxed from the start as it looks like Juliet’s head was cut. I think Romeo couldn’t be scundered with her, like”. I gave that full marks whilst these women from Manchester gave it 0%. The alarm bells were ringing.”
McKay says things got worse when they moved onto the essay about describing your favourite day:
“This boy from Omagh wrote a deadly piece about bringing in the hay before the rain last year. I gave it 98%. I remember some of it clearly. “My oul lad said it’d be tarra if we didn’t get her lifted. I was acting the clift and yarnin and buckin about with our boy. ‘Wheest’ says he. ‘Stop acting the ganches yous two’. Our boy then started lashing rings around him after that feed of scallions and with the snatters tripping me I had to give her 90. It was some handlin. Our boy is some bollocks.” Now, you tell me what’s wrong with that. The Manchester ones gave it 2%. Pure discrimination. We nearly cut the lining out of each other.”
The examination boards are to backdate results since ’55 and any Tyrone native who sat English as an O Level of GSCE will receive a new result, two grades higher.