“Whoso beset him round
With dismal stories
Do but themselves confound…” John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress
For the pupil, progress relies on hope, a belief in a journey towards a point of completion and an idea that ultimate salvation is just one more bit of effort away. This promised land, in which there shall be ‘seraphims and cherubims’ and an eternal life of joy, will be won when the child has moved from a state of incompletion towards the superior state of ‘got some good exam grades’. Physically a child starts school small and finishes it tall, progress has clearly been made. Academically you start school without any certificates and you end with an Ebacc and an A level or two, or, God forbid, a vocational qualification, as you trudge towards the closed factory gate to the newly opened call centre. Rather than a heavenly pursuit, a pupil’s progress is tied to these rather mundane goals.
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