Review of Greenwich and what Excel offers – Peter Pegnall, 18th Sept 2012
Greenwich has a glittering reputation as a seat of both arts and sciences: the whole world sets its watches by this riverside village; the first performance of The Water Music caused a traffic jam on the Thames; Joseph Conrad planted an imaginary anarchists' bomb here; you can almost taste the seafarers, criminals, women no better than they should be, ferocious debates, moonlight. We cannot promise all these delights and hazards at Excel in Key Subjects, but we can guarantee excellence, intellectual adventure, Saturdays to remember all your life. Jostle with royalty, with fellows of The Royal Society and with next decade's cast of Julian Fellowes' final costume extravaganza. Everything seems possible here, even more so than at Oxford; the Thames is, after all, the mother of all rivers, the stuff of legend and pop song alike.
In hard terms, our students will surpass their previous results, some of them by nautical miles, all of them aiming for the best of their abilities. Minister Gove need look no further for a model of aspiration rather than mediocrity.
As the great Anglo-American poet Denise Levertov put it - 'O taste and see!' If you do so, that little letter 'o' will be a gasp of wonder, even louder when you open the envelope containing your grades.
Peter Pegnall, September 2012