back to article Lad passes gruelling 'getting on bus' test

A Bury lad waiting for his GCSE results was somewhat surprised to learn he'd passed exam board AQA's stringent 'Using Public Transport (Unit 1)' test, which honours those able to "walk to the local bus stop, stand or sit at a bus stop, wait for the arrival of a public bus and sit on the bus and observe through the windows". …

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  1. Andy ORourke
    Joke

    Something else to add to the CV

    Who do I write to to get mine and can I also qualify for the extra credit of using the train? I probably wouldnt pass the PHd level though, I always get confused on the undergound :-)

  2. Chris Miller
    Thumb Down

    Any minute now ..

    'Ability to fart and chew gum at the same time' certficate. A notable early failure being President Gerald Ford, according to LBJ.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    heh

    I actually laughed out loud when I read this.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They had obviously thought about this

    "observe through the windows" is a key part of the sillybus (arf arf) because if you didn't you wouldn't know when it was time to get off.

  5. F Cage
    Thumb Up

    Only a certificate?

    Anyone managing to use public transport outside London deserves a medal.

  6. dunncha
    Thumb Up

    Sounds a little like the Computer Driving License

    This is a computer......... This is how you switch if off..................... Now don't tounch anything else.

    Well I guess its better than nothing

    Well done Bobby!

  7. Trinity
    WTF?

    Classic.

    What about a gold star for saving the environment while they're at it?

  8. David 39
    WTF?

    Dammit

    I failed breathing 101

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. tardigrade
    FAIL

    < blank title >

    "Bury's Youth Support Services Manager, Barbara Lewis, defended: "This certificate isn't just about getting on the bus, it's about time management, working out bus routes and for some people, travelling alone for the first time."

    Head - desk, head - desk, head - desk, head -desk, head - desk, head - desk... ad-infinitum... ...twice.

  11. Alien8n Silver badge
    WTF?

    Certifivates?

    All of a sudden my Cambridge Certificate of Computer Literacy doesn't seem such a Mickey Mouse qualification anymore.....

  12. MnM
    Welcome

    A***

    Good, practical qualification, that. He'd walk into a texting career (no offence, Bobby).

    This is nothing new. When I did GCSEs nearly twenty years ago, a science paper (printed on recycled paper) had a page with five clear photos of very different animals on it, each marked with a letter. The page behind it was blank. One of the questions, all multiple choice, was 'which one is the bird?' How the pass rate can have gone up since then, I do not know.

  13. Greg J Preece

    X-box Life?

    Achievement unlocked!

  14. Dave 142

    students

    seeing as most university students are incapable of using a bus properly I welcome this new test. They don't know how to queue, they don't know how to pay and they don't know to move to the back.

  15. Anonymous John
    Happy

    Unit 1?

    I wonder how hard the other units are?

    If you want to see the actual certificate, visit www.dailymail.co.uk. I'm going to use it in a scambait.

  16. Spleen
    Megaphone

    Coming soon

    Shoelace Tying Certificate

    Log Dismounting NVQ

    Arse / Elbow Differentiation Baccalaureate

    All of which will, by law, be equivalent to an A-grade Further Maths A-level and any university who doesn't accept their holders will have all its funding taken away by an equal opportunities quango before being nuked from orbit.

  17. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Awww flippin' eck!

    I my day it were called 'going to school'.

    You walked, rode, got the bus/train/tram, ran (when it was wet) and even dawdled slowly.

    Kids these days, eh?

    What next?

    - Diploma in shoe lace tying

    - Degree in showering

    - PHD in advanced hair combing?

  18. Jason McQueen
    FAIL

    Tricky....

    Im waiting for the "successfully maintains inhalation and exhalation of air whilst maintaining consciousness" awared. Hope I dont fail that one.

  19. Richard 39
    FAIL

    What next

    A certificate to say one can wipe their own ass properly!!!

    what a pile of crap

    "here you go Jimmy, you have successfully proven you have common sense and can use it, here's a piece of paper so you can prove it to other people"

  20. Bumpy Cat
    WTF?

    Wat

    This has got to be satire. Please. Please god, this can't be true.

  21. Lloyd

    Pah

    It's obviously the DoEd trying out the new GCSE replacement.

  22. cookieMonster
    WTF?

    what next....

    a certificate for successfully taking a crap? making a cup of tea? getting out of bed?

  23. Tony Haines
    Happy

    Oh oo oooh!

    I so want this certificate!

    It'd look great on my CV.

    I'm sure I could ace the test first time - I've been practicing my observing through bus windows skills.

  24. A. Lewis
    FAIL

    What?!

    No really... What?

    I think I'm imagining things, because a council awarding an education certificate for getting on a bus is just ludicrous.

  25. Andy Hockey

    Some more life altering qualifications

    Have a look at http://web.aqa.org.uk/qual/uas/units/life.php

    Be warned... do not drink coffee while reading.

  26. Rachel Greenham
    IT Angle

    Possible to fail

    Surely the fact that his brother failed it proves the pointfulness of the test? :-)

  27. Andrew Halliwell
    Alien

    Re: A ***

    Heard news of someone planning to show older exam papers a few days ago.

    I'd love to compare the CSE and O level papers I took in 1984 to the modern day equivalents.

    Should be a right laugh, that should. 'specially when some pen pushing beaurocrat tries to claim exams haven't got easier.

    Aliens. It has to be. They're sending stupifying rays to subdue us.

  28. Major N

    @Dave 142

    Dave 142... in Manchester, by any chance??

  29. smudge Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Help, I'm trapped on public transport!

    "......'Using Public Transport (Unit 1)' test, which honours those able to "walk to the local bus stop, stand or sit at a bus stop, wait for the arrival of a public bus and sit on the bus and observe through the windows"."

    Presumably Unit 2 is taught on board and covers how to get OFF the bus?

    Paris, because she'd definitely fail.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Tonight i am taking a test.

    Using the pub (Unit 1)

    Walk to the pub, stand or sit at a bar, wait for the arrival of a pint and drink the pint and observe the effect of "beer goggles" on the women.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Can you get extra credit

    For not blasting the bus with gansta rap from your phone ?

    I travel on Birmingham's buses from time to time and feel i deserve some sort of zen master status for resisting the temptation to murder some of the more challenging yoof who inhabit the 51 route. Look out for the guy with the forced tranquil smile yet still trying to exude a feeling of doan mess wid me modafoka. It could be me!

  32. Sarah Davis
    FAIL

    what next ?

    what the phuq has happened to this country. What kind of idiot thought it would be a good idea to give certificates for basic skills. What next, Certificate for ...

    - being able to tell which way is up

    - holding a spoon the right way up

    - distinguishing day from night

    - being able to use a toilet correctly

    - breathing in a compedent manner

    This award suggest that the average iq in bury must be very low, i mean shoe sizes folks. Hey keep lowing the bar, and maybe the fool who came up with the idea for this certificate might look intelligent

  33. Andy Livingstone

    His Brother FAILED?????

    Is he appealing the result like all good kiddies?

    How the hell can anyone fail?

    Presumably the older lad now gets a grant for the University of Manchester BSc degree in Bus Travel.

  34. Horridbloke

    @MnM

    "When I did GCSEs nearly twenty years ago..."

    Ditto - well nearly. My GCSE biology paper included a large drawing of a leaf with several insects on it. The accompanying question was "How many insects are there on this leaf?".

    (Yes, the bugs all had six distinct legs...)

  35. The Indomitable Gall
    FAIL

    This is a train-based syllabus ill-advisedly applied to buses.

    Where I come from, you need to start the process of getting off a bus before it comes to a halt. If you were to wait for the bus to stop and *then* get out of your seat, the driver would pull off again before you reached the exit. It's only trains that stop long enough at every stop for you to do that.

    EPIC FAIL!!!!!11!!!!!1!!!

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Andy Hockey

    Curious list, used to be called parenting when I were a lad

  37. Dale 3

    holding a spoon the right way up

    You joke, @Sarah Davis, but I would fail this. The amount of grief I get from my mother-in-law because I hold my knife and fork the "wrong way round". Can you really blame me for wanting the tool with sharp pointed ends approaching my face to be held in the hand with the finest motor control?

  38. Paul Young
    Thumb Up

    Blimey

    I couldn't even pass a blood test, let alone a bus test

    Thats one clever kid there, he'll go far

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "and observe through the windows"

    Do you get a lower mark if you lick them at the same time, or is that an advanced skill?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    A select few of the other "qualifications" on offer..

    Cleaning and putting away the dishes after a meal

    Joining and using a public library

    Using a vending machine

    Setting a table

    Washing and drying crockery and pans

    Using. A. Vending. Machine.

    F. F. S....

    Hell in a handcart, and other such dailymailisms.

    more @ http://web.aqa.org.uk/qual/uas/units/life.php

    (Note.. probably best not to throw ridicule at those with codes marked "special" as I suppose those are targetted at people with special needs of some variety or other. I would imagine that being able to dress oneself would actually be a skill that would enhance one's quality of life immeasurably if you couldn't prior to being taught how to..)

  41. bygjohn
    FAIL

    Quick someone call the IWF... Re: Some more life altering qualifications

    "Have a look at http://web.aqa.org.uk/qual/uas/units/life.php"

    Check out the one on "UNDRESSING AND DRESSING ONESELF" - where you'll find this gem:

    "EVIDENCE TO BE OFFERED

    Youth leader completed itemised checklist and/or

    video evidence of the session (1-3). "

    Talk about encouraging child porn... won't somebody think of the children?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Before you mock ...

    ... remember that not everyone is as fortunate as you are. Many of the users of the service I work for would find this a challenge, and it would represent a considerable achievement. They would be justifiably very proud of this certificate.

    icon because using your brain first should have prevented most of these posts. I expect this crap from the Daily Mail, but Reg readers should be able to do far better than this.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Andy Hockey

    Thanks for posting that URL. It seems there really are qualifications in combing your own hair and making a cup of tea. I especially like the Buying Stuff in Argos Module!

  44. Robert E A Harvey
    Paris Hilton

    don't laugh

    A correspondent tells me that this is one of a range of personal achievement certificates, like tea making and paying the electric bill, that are issued to people on adult eduction support programmes and are a significant confidence boost to people for whom doing such things is a major challenge.

    Obviously some numbwit organising the youth event has wholly misunderstood his delegates and the purpose of the event, but I'd hate for all this daily-mail based mirth to undermine people to whom these things represent a significant achievement.

    At least one customer springs to mind.

  45. lIsRT

    Is this...

    ...really that much different from 5 metre / 10 metre / 15 metre swimming badges?

    In a blatant attempt to remove any humour, while obviously not required for an adult of average intelligence this would appear to be a perfectly suitable course for someone who doesn't know anything about public transport, e.g. a child.

    It's like complaining at the stupidity of the "illiterate short-arse anti-social morons" who can only cope with the most basic education in language and numeracy.

    AKA "primary school children".

    So it's got a certificate - even if it isn't needed, why is this a problem?

    Although, having a 15yo take this course seems unnecessary.

  46. Richard 39
    Boffin

    @ Andy Hockey

    I just looked at that list and ticked off all the ones I can do.

    The only one I can't do is - Youth club project: applying for funding.

    I guess i'm not the genius I thought I was, although clearly i'm far too clever to live in Bury

  47. William Towle
    Alert

    Poor poor world, what a state

    @Andy Hockey Fri 13:16> "Have a look at http://web.aqa.org.uk/qual/uas/units/life.php

    Be warned... do not drink coffee while reading.

    "

    I wholeheartedly endorse this recommendation.

    From "Undressing and dressing oneself" (which, for some reason not immediately evident, is marked "special"): "Evidence to be offered: Youth leader completed itemised checklist and/or video evidence of the session (1-3)"

    ...read immediately after the Economist article referenced in "US State bans..."' comments.

    Truly I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

  48. DJ Thoreau
    Joke

    Reasons for failure

    I saw this in the local free paper this morning..

    Apparently the younger brother failed. It was suggested this was because he "listens to music instead of looking out the window".....

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I feel sorry for the younger brother

    After all, how badly could they have failed in their training/teaching if he didn't pass?

    Taking her out for a spin...never mind the windows.

  50. davidph
    Coffee/keyboard

    Re: Some more life altering qualifications

    I should have heeded Andy's comment about not drinking coffee while perusing the list of AQA 'qualifications' at the link he suggested (http://web.aqa.org.uk/qual/uas/units/life.php).

    I did notice there isn't one for 'Cleaning Spewed Coffee from Computer Keyboards' as I could do with someone holding that one right now.

    My favorite amongst the long list has got to be 'Walking in a group for pleasure'.

    That list of completly useless 'qualifications' it is yet another example of the dire state this country has been forced into by the idiots at the top - come the revolution....................!

  51. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Here's the syllabus ( don't laugh )

    http://web.aqa.org.uk/qual/uas/units/pdf/81122.PDF

    I can't understand why he's surprised to get the certificate as he's meant to have completed a worksheet which has to be inspected.

    So he either failed "Basic Remembering Things (Unit 1)" or got an award without doing the prerequisite work and there's a assessor failing to do their job properly.

  52. Mike Smith
    FAIL

    @Andy Hockey

    Oh dear God.

    I think it's pub time. I want to forget I ever saw that.

  53. Fail01
    Coat

    Hmmm

    So how did the test get 'adjudicated' if he was unaware that he was taking it? Isn't anonymously following strangers onto buses slightly 'shady' practice for adjudicators?

    And on what grounds did his brother fail on? Walking to school?

  54. Alan Ferris
    Dead Vulture

    Here are much better qualifications

    Take a look at this one.

    http://tinyurl.com/aov9v

    I have the certificate for my Ph.D. in Arse -elbow differentiation on the wall at work....the only sad thing is that the AQA site isn't a joke!

    We are all doomed

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unit 2

    Unit 2 covers how to sit and take up two seats, eating smelly food and listening to music through annoying mobile phone speakers.

  56. Julian I-Do-Stuff
    FAIL

    Joe...

    Did he actually manage to fail... or is he now the proud recipient of a certificate lauding him for Deferred Success? (I would think actually failing anything these days was an achievement in itself)

    PS What happens if a bus doesn't turn up? How long are examinees expected to wait? Or is that Unit 2 - Advanced Time Management... knowing when you're wasting your time?

  57. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    Coat

    "Bus Pass"

    My newspaper headline for this article would simply be "bus pass"

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: His Brother FAILED

    >How the hell can anyone fail?

    I'm so claustrohpobic that I had panic attacks when they changed the front door on our block of flats for something rather substantial so getting on a bus is not something I could do so therefore I would fail..

    However I do walk everywhere and did pass a cycling proficiency test years ago. Do they still do them?

  59. Andus McCoatover
    Boffin

    I'd fail one of these....

    "Cleaning and putting away dishes after a meal."

    Step 7. use a tea towel to dry the dishes;

    I've fogotten how to use a teatowel. In Finland everyone puts the dishes in a cupboard with a rack over the sink to dry.

    Sheesh. You couldn't make this up!

  60. Alpha Tony

    Face it...

    It's probably of more interest to a future employer than a philosphy degree...

  61. asiaseen

    And an MSc*

    when he loses his virgnity.

    *Managed Sex correctly

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Award scheme

    There isn't any structure to those awards, for example "Using a coin operated telephone" should need, pre-requisite, Advanced orienteering skills unit 6 or higher, needed to be able to find one of the damn things and also "Basic stone masonry" to be able to chip off the hardened chewing gum stuck down the slot. Can you take this module before passing "Using coins units 1 & 2"?

  63. Iain 4
    Go

    So make it significantly more difficult.

    If you tweaked this just a little, it would mean something. Just add the following questions:

    1) When sitting down on the bus, should you take up:

    a) One seat, or

    b) Another for your feet?

    2) Once seated, should your mp3-playing phone be in

    a) headset mode, or

    b) speaker mode so everyone can hear it?

    3) If you answered (b) to the last two questions, would you like to be

    a) buried, or

    b) cremated?

  64. frank ly
    FAIL

    Lowering of Standards

    I've just had a look at: http://store.aqa.org.uk/qual/uas/units/pdf/87313.PDF

    This is the 'test' for the ability to make a cup of tea, nowadays. When I was 12 years old I was making tea for all my family, in a proper teapot using real loose leaf tea with water that boiled on a gas ring and had to be turned off by hand when it boiled.

    Nowadays, they use an automatic electric kettle, they make one cup of tea in the cup using a tea bag and they add milk without asking if milk is required (but at least they check if sugar is required).

    At this rate, in 10-15 years time, the only cups of tea available will be from vending machines. Sighs, grumbles, world going to hell in a handcart, etc.

  65. Alex 32
    Coffee/keyboard

    "Mad for it!!"

    "Maybe he wasn't up to it."

    Classic!! New Keyboard please, Bobby!

  66. Dave Bell

    Not daft, but...

    Yes, it is something that not everyone learns. Way back, when I was living in a one-bus-a-week village (but we were on the bus route, said the Estate Agent), I wouldn't have been able to pass it. The first time I visited Birmingham (in 1982) I couldn't find the bus stops, so I walked from New Street Station to my hotel. Not a long walk (Snow Hill Queensway was near the hotel, I think).

    And with modern printers, the certificates are likely cheap enough.

    But I'm more proud of being a NaNoWriMo winner than of being able to catch a bus.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    @Before you mock ... and Tch, kids these days.

    >" ... remember that not everyone is as fortunate as you are. Many of the users of the service I work for would find this a challenge, and it would represent a considerable achievement. They would be justifiably very proud of this certificate. "

    But this isn't an award for quadriplegics, agoraphobics or downs' syndrome kids, it's an award for the fully mentally competent and able-bodied majority, and *that's* why it's stupid, and that *is* after engaging brains and thinking about it.

    When I was 9 or 10 (late '70s) I used to travel all over London on my own on busses and tubes, my favourite way to waste a Saturday afternoon was to buy a ticket from my local tube stop to the next one up the road and then spend hours travelling to random out-of-the-way places and back again before getting off one stop from where I started, or going down to Heathrow to watch the 'planes or the West End to play video games. I would have laughed at 11-15 year-olds who didn't know how to get around on their own.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    I want one

    Given how expensive a bus fare is these days (especially when you consider the 'unique customer service experience' most bus drivers tend to have), I want a qualification. Hell, I could probably get a mail order degree for the cost of a weeks bus journeys in Leicester.

  69. Clint Sharp

    Ralph...

    Ejumacation is a wonderful thing, but, to paraphrase a great thinker of our time;

    'Fail getting on the bus? That's unpossible'

  70. Nate H.
    Coat

    Is this the result...

    ...of the modern Surveillance State?

    Mine's the one with the GPS tracker inside...

  71. Dennis
    Alien

    Re: what next....

    @cookieMonster

    "a certificate for successfully taking a crap?"

    Well .... having just listened to the adult (male) in the next cubicle he was able to take a crap while talking to his mate on the mobile. Does using the phone at the same time mean a pass or a fail. But he forgot the washing hands bit afterwards.

    Overall, I think this behaviour rates a fail in the "taking a crap" assessment.

    So, perhaps a certificate for successfully taking a crap isn't such a daft idea.

  72. gaz 7
    WTF?

    FFS - Making a cold drink

    This is awesome - could keep me laughing all weekend.... for example

    demonstrated the ability to

    1. select a glass or cup from a crockery storage

    area;

    2. take a container of cordial from a given

    selection;

    3. remove the lid from the container;

    4. pour an appropriate amount of cordial into

    the cup or glass;

    5. replace the cap on the container;

    6. identify a cold-water tap;

    7. turn on the tap;

    8. place the cup or glass under the tap;

    9. fill the cup or glass to an appropriate level

    with water

    10. turn off the tap when the cup or glass is

    sufficiently full;

    11. stir the cordial and water to mix them

    together;

    12. carry out the operation on at least three

    occasions, with verbal prompting as

    appropriate;

    There's bound to be an award somewhere for turning the telly on to Jeremy Kyle!!!

  73. Richard 102
    Paris Hilton

    The sad thing is ...

    ... he's now permanently overqualified for a government job, because he's clearly not stupid enough to come up with an idea like this test.

    Paris, she looks genius next to government wastoids

  74. Luther Blissett

    Kiddies do get on the wrong bus sometimes by mistake

    Well, they used to anyway, which was part of being 5 years old and on your own in a world of big red buses. Is there's also a corresponding qualification for being able to roll into the family chelsea tractor at home, and roll out of it again at the school gate?

    Having driven thru Bury recently, I think the purpose here is not to bury Bury but to praise it. It's raised a lot of laffs, not least in Bury,so job done. Now, to get AQA to concentrate on marking real exams properly. And nu liebore on jobs in Bury.

  75. jonathanb Silver badge
    Joke

    And for some other courses

    have a look here

    http://web.aqa.org.uk/qual/uas/units/life.php

    There is already one for making a cup of tea. You can also get a certificate in washing your hands or dressing yourself.

  76. LaeMi Qian Silver badge
    FAIL

    @ Dave 142

    Heh, I never cease to be amazed by how people catching the university bus here can't handle things like: moving towards the back when standing and 20 more people want to get on; bags don't get their own seat; reading the posted route map (they aren't even covered in spray paint yet); or waiting for people to get off before charging into the doorway (and not crowding around outside the doorway so there is no path for people to get off via). The concept that you don't have to panic if a bus that comes every 10 minutes pulls away without you escapes them too.

  77. Stewart Haywood
    Paris Hilton

    Dressing and undressing

    Unit 89751 Dressing and Undressing Oneself is interesting.

    OUTCOMES TO BE ACCREDITED

    In successfully completing this unit the

    student will have

    demonstrated the ability to

    1. recognise at least six items of clothing;

    2. remove and put on own clothes

    correctly;

    3. manipulate at least three fastenings

    properly, e.g. zips, laces, buckles.

    EVIDENCE TO BE OFFERED

    Youth leader completed itemised checklist and/or

    video evidence of the session (1-3).

    They are actually going to video a kid dressing and undressing! I wonder how many laws that breaks.

    Paris because she probably has a PHD in the subject

  78. Apocalypse Later

    Cleaning keyboards

    A CEO of a computer software company once wrote a piece about cleaning computer keyboards that involved taking the item into the shower with you. The drawback of the method was that the drying out time was several days, otherwise quick and convenient.

  79. Ponmyword
    Headmaster

    You lot can scoff

    ... but I bet Gordon Brown couldn't achieve this.

  80. Anonymous John

    @ @Andy Hockey

    It doesn't cover returning the purchase to Argos when you find it's a customer return with half the bits missing.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    It's a special needs school

    The school in the story, the Elms School Knowsley, is a special needs school. According to an Ofsted report: 'The Elms draws pupils from the borough of Knowsley and is the only school catering for pupils and students with severe, profound and multiple needs, and autism.' Here is a link to the report:

    ** http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/oxedu_reports/display/(id)/55038 **

    So the whole thing is a non-story. I suppose with severely disabled students like this, one has to have some sort of goals and some sort of system to show that they have been met.

  82. Anonymous John

    @It's a special needs school

    Non-story or not, the family took it to the media, and made it sound silly. So i don't see the comments as out of place.

  83. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Smug reporting, but rather abusive

    The certificate is, as others have said, aimed at young people with learning disability. The youth leader seems not to have understood this, if the reporting in The Daily Telegraph is to be trusted. Which it often isn't. The AQA qualifications body has made it clear that it expects people with the appropriate level of ability to be entered for it - plainly this didn't happen. The paper seems to have twisted it as an example of the dumbing down of society or something.

    And The Register has swallowed their spin.

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I IZ L33T

    I CAN RIDE DE BUZ

  85. Alien8n Silver badge

    Life skills

    What a lot of people miss is that for many severely disabled people they need to know they'll get the appropriate care when they're older. In many cases these qualifications serve a dual purpose.

    Firstly, it awards a child who may struggle with doing even the simplest things a sense of achievement. My wife is dyslexic and has just completed an adult numeracy course. I can honestly say the sense of achievement for her in earning a pass in adult numeracy is far greater than any sense of achievement I ever got for passing my O Levels. My eldest daughter is also dyslexic and I'm always immensely proud when I see her even reading a book as I know she finds reading difficult. I'm also proud of my youngest daughter's achievements but not to the same degree as I'm acutely aware that she finds the level of school work that she currently has to be beneath her ability.

    Secondly, for the more severely disabled who will remain with some sort of long term care it allows the authorities to tailor their care. A good friend of mine has 2 children with brain damage. They'll never be able to live independently. However they both have good life skills. It's important to know how well they can cope so that the health services know how to look after them. An award in making a cup of tea seems a joke but it tells a health care worker that the person they are looking after can be allowed to do some things for themselves. An award for dressing themselves may mean they don't need someone there 24/7, they can at least wake up and go to bed on their own with some dignity.

  86. Steve Coburn

    I'd love my son to pass this...

    He is 11 with severe learning difficulties and will probably never be able to use a bus alone - he can't even speak properly yet. I don't take offence at any of the comments above because I know what El Reg commentards are like and know that the comments are tounge in cheek.

    What really amazes me apart from the Daily Mail readers who honestly believe that this is meant as a GCSE certificate (and make really retarded comments about slipping standard, NuLab and the rest), is that the boy's parents decided to go to the Daily Mail with their story instead of just throwing the certificate in the bin if they thought it that worthless.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    It's not a special needs school, it's not a cert aimed at "young people with learning disability"

    It's got nothing to do with his school. He was given the award "on a Bury and Rochdale Activity Generation outdoor activities scheme, run by Bury Youth Services". The Telegraph story has even more detail:

    >"a summer activities scheme called BRAG (Bury and Rochdale Active Generation). This is a two-week programme of sports, dance, and arts events, run through Bury Youth Service, with events taking place at several venues across Bury and Heywood."

    Since "300 of his fellow 11 to 15-year-old participants [ ... ] were similarly honoured", and since there are only 109 pupils at the school you mentioned (see? I *did* read the link), that pretty much proves my point that this is a general award for the able-bodied, and therefore a stupid thing.

  88. peter 45
    Thumb Down

    Other awards worthy of the bin

    When I went through Sandhurst, the army was going through (yet another) review of what civilian qualifications could be obtained on the back of military training (and yes there is a lot more training than shouting at people and killing them). The big rage of the moment was NVQs. I enquired thinking that some sort of' managing people' or 'planning' or 'leadership' qualification would be available.

    The answer came back that I was able to apply for the grandly titled qualification 'keeping fit'.

    I didn't bother

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Public transit

    8 years ago I had to take a bus in San Francisco. Just one tiny problem. The bus regularly ran late. How did the mayor fix this problem. He took down the published schedules on the bus stops. . About %20 of the bus stops had no route maps. Now they did have the published times and route on the net .

  90. Francis Vaughan
    Dead Vulture

    Hopeless

    A signifcant number of commenters would fail skills at this level. Two poked fun at the making a cup of tea, and another at the making a cold drink certificates. Not actually noticing that these are explicitly tagged as "special", as in "special needs" certificates.

    The Register similarly fails in its reporting of the story. It seems nobody bothered to check why these certificates exits, and how they are meant to be used - but rather jumped on the "coffee on keyboard" or "we are all doomed" bandwagon. The only reason we might all be doomed is because idiots like you fail to bother to find anything out before spouting off.

    The AQA exists as a central authority that essentially provides a unified source of cources and certificates, and probably most importantly, a quality control process for these. Any associated centre can use or contribute units. Not just ordinary schools and youth groups, but also special needs, "offender learning", homeless youth schemes, and many others can and do use the AQA, and the list of life skills certificates cited represents the combined set of all such certificates.

    I well remember a friend of mine telling me the heartwrenching story of how she had tried to get her Aspbergers suffering nephew to catch a train to her house. She coached him though it, took him on the journey once, and yet the one time he tried on his own he couldn't manage it. Yet he attended an ordinary school, as was not actually a special needs person. The point? Different people have a widely different set of needs for education and skills training. You don't have to be "special needs" to need training in what, for many people, are trivial skills. Lamblasting the existence of a range of training units and certificates because you personally find the content trivial, is simply exhibiting a crass lack of regard and empathy for your fellow humankind.

    The real story, had el Reg bothered, is that someone made a mistake, and issued a certificate in the wrong circumstances. The core story is, that as usual, a daily newpaper could not be bothered finding anything out, and decided to use it as a beat up story. If el Reg though this was a story worth telling they would have taken the Telegraph to task over the poor journalism involved. As it was, all we see is even worse journalism.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @IISRT

    Re "Although, having a 15yo take this course seems unnecessary."

    That's the point....

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    In the interest of Public Awareness

    I'm happy to donate some spare time in teaching Paris Hilton the nuances of course 89751

    - "Undressing and dressing oneself"...

  93. skeptical i

    not all kids are raised by real parents

    There is a residential high school/ school- to- work vocational training center in my town that does a pretty good job at giving its graduates not just academic schooling but the life skills many kids don't get at "home". To wit, they asked for volunteers to come in and work with youth, saying that ALL skills need to be taught, from cleaning floors to making beds to reading grocery labels because many of these kids were raised by sperm and/or egg donors and not parents in any meaningful sense of the word. So while the cert for using mass transit successfully is probably not useful to the youth in the story, there are many kids who would need to be taught this and other skills that most of us should be able to take for granted. It's a disheartening reality, but there it is.

    And then there's the whole world of learning and physical disability.

  94. Jon Leighton
    FAIL

    House of Commons

    "waiting for people to get off before charging into the doorway (and not crowding around outside the doorway so there is no path for people to get off"

    Our leaders fail this every time they vote in the House of Commons. I find it so irritating when they hang around the entrance to the Commons, nattering, whilst their colleagues have to negotiate a path through them. Idiots!

  95. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Past the bus

    Over 60, I had to get a country bus to collect my new car. 10 minutes on the internet to find out how, ask in the local shop to find out where the stop was. Miss the first one, having been on the wrong side of the crossroads. Pay £9. Now I'm researching a free bus pass in case I live to buy another car. Used to use London buses, but now you can't hop off if they turn the wrong corner. Fail.

  96. brimful
    Flame

    @Rachel Greenham

    You're assuming that the brother was tall enough to peek through the window whilst sitting down or otherwise. If he wasn't then there can only be 3 conclusions:

    1 - Brother is way too interested in something else like playing gameboy or psp or reading than entertaining his mind by looking out of the bus window

    2 - The brother is a midget in which case not recieving the certificate accounts to disability discrimincation

    3 - the kid didn't take the bus and instead cycled, walked, rolled, ran, flew to skool. That's if he went to skool at all that day :)

    If I get one of those, I'm definately putting that a4 paper in my NRA.

  97. Nickoli
    Badgers

    Other Qualifications...

    ...include "Elementary Car Driving Techniques", which requires you to know the layout of "major controls" such as "breaks" (sic) and "rear view mirror".

  98. Andus McCoatover
    Coat

    Challenge!

    I challenge the hacks at El Reg to pass this test on a Friday night!

    Self-induced "learning challenged". Yep, OK.

  99. spezzer
    Headmaster

    < twat didnt add title >

    I failed this test, I was doing so well until it came to 'Looking through the window' bit. It was at this point I realised I should of been looking out the window, not in. I must have accidently skipped one of the pages, the bit that said 'Get on the Bus' - Dammit!

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