'Thanks to the hellish new GCSE grades, teachers once again find ourselves pointlessly pushing a boulder up the hill'

Only a tiny proportion of students will get the new GCSE grade 9 – so now we have to explain to parents why, despite their child working their socks off, they still won’t get the top mark.


Tantalus, so the Greek myth goes, was placed in Tartarus in the very deepest part of the underworld for his heinous transgressions. His crime was chopping up his son, boiling him and attempting to feed him to the gods.


His punishment was so devilishly brilliant that it has stayed with me ever since I first discovered it as a young child.


He was made to stand for all eternity in a lake with a fruit tree hanging over him, but, and here’s the genius, every time he reached for the fruit it pulled away and every time he lowered his neck for a sip of water, the level dropped, and he remained starving for the rest of time whilst being endlessly taunted.


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