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I asked my mother yesterday how much freedom she had as a child. "Well," she replied, "I walked to my nursery school in Cambridge alone, aged three, and by four I was roaming the fields behind my house." After that, she explained, came the war1. "Your grandfather was away and your grandmother was organising the Women's Voluntary Service; no one knew where the four children were. 5 We spent our afternoons canoeing down the Cam without life-jackets, eating sausages out of tins and, when it rained, we slipped into the cinema to watch unsuitable love stories. No one worried about us, they had more important issues on their minds." Her childhood sounded idyllic. My mother explained that it wasn't always perfect. She had once been accosted by a man while bicycling to her friend's. "I managed to get away. I 10 carried on cycling to my friend's house and ate my tea; it never occurred to me to say anything until I went home. The police were called but I was back on my bike the next day." My mother took a similar attitude to my childhood. My younger sister and I were allowed to take the Tube home from school across London from the age of five. My sister was hit by a car once when she crossed a busy road to a sweet shop. She broke her leg but, as soon as it 15 had mended we were walking home alone again. My brothers took the train to my grandmother's in Suffolk on their own from the age of six and spent all day without adults in the park playing football. Now, according to the Good Childhood Inquiry, children have everything - iPods, computer games and designer clothes - except the freedom to play outside on their own. Two thirds of 20 10-year-olds have never been to a shop or the park by themselves. Fewer than one in ten eight-year-olds walk to school alone. I'm just as neurotic as other parents. I walk my three-, four- and six-year-olds to school every day, clutching their hands. Their every moment in London is supervised, with playdates and trips to museums. I drive them to football and tennis. No wonder they love going to the 25 country where they can spend all day making camps in the garden, pretending to be orphans. It isn't just because I fear they may be abducted or run over, it's because I'm also worried about being seen as a bad parent. When I let my eldest son go to the loo2 on his own on a train, less than 20 feet from where I was seated, the guard lectured me on my irresponsibility. When we go to the park there are signs in the playground saying that parents may be 30 prosecuted if they leave their children unsupervised, and at the swimming pool there must be an adult for every two children. It is insane. My children still end up in the A&E3 department as often as we did. The inside of a house can be more dangerous than the street, and sitting at a computer all day, eating crisps, carries more long-term risks than skateboarding alone to a park. 35
Telegraph.co.uk, June 2007.
1 the war: World War II 2 the loo : the toilet 3 A&E : les urgences
NOTE AUX CANDIDATS
Les candidats traiteront les exercices sur la copie qui leur sera fournie et veilleront - à respecter l'ordre des questions et reporter la numérotation sur la copie (numéro de l'exercice et, le cas échéant, la lettre repère ; ex. :1 a, l b, etc.). - à faire précéder les citations éventuellement demandées du numéro de ligne dans le texte. Les candidats des séries SMS, STI, et STL traiteront les questions I, H (A, B, C, D, E) et III. Les candidats de la série STG traiteront les questions I, II (A, B, C, D, E, F) et III.
I - GENERAL COMPREHENSION Write down the correct answer. A- This text is from 1) a magazine. 2) an intemet site. 3) a diary. B- The main subject is 1) childhood memories. 2) the evolution of man. 3) the evolution of parenting. Ç- How many generations are mentioned? 1) two. 2) three. 3) four. D- The text is set in 1) England. 2) Ireland. 3) Wales.
II - DETAILED COMPREHENSION
A- The following statements are right. Justify by quoting from the text.
1) The writer's mother did not grow up in London.
2) The writer's mother grew up in troubled times.
3) The writer's mother had several brothers and sisters.
4) The writer grew up in a city.
B- Right or Wrong? Answer and justify by quoting the text.
1) The writer's mother always told her parents where she was.
2) After the writer's sister's accident, her parents were more careful.
3) The writer's children are keen on playing without adults.
4) The writer is afraid of what other people think.
5) Children nowadays have fewer accidents.
6) Staying at home may be bad for your health too.
C- Quote the sentence from the text that gives two LEGAL rules concerning parents' obligations today.
D- Who or what do the following pronouns refer to?
1) 1.7/8 "...no one worried about us..."
2) 1.15 "She broke her leg..."
3) 1.26 "...they can spend all day..."
4) 1.31 "...if they leave their children..."
5) 1.33 "...as often as we did."
E- Find in the text the synonyms for:
3) holding tightly
4) short journeys
La question suivante (F) sera traitée uniquement par les candidats de la série STG.
F- Write down the correct answer.
1) " Your grandfather was away..." (line 4) means: a) he was a soldier. b) he emigrated. c) he died.
2) " ...unsuitable love stories." (line 7) means: a) films that they didn't really like. b) films that they were not allowed to see. c) films that made them laugh.
3) "It never occurred to me to say anything..." (lines 11-12) means: a) I never had the opportunity to say anything. b) I was never allowed to say anything. c) I never thought of saying anything.
4) "I'm just as neurotic as other parents." (line 23) means: a) I look after my children as well as other parents. b) I worry a lot about my children, like other parents. c) I spend a lot of time with my children, like other parents.
III- EXPRESSION :
Les candidats de toutes les séries traiteront les deux sujets.
Do both subjects: one AND two.
1. Imagine a conversation between the writer and her daughter who wants to go to school alone. (80 words)
2. Parents should give total freedom to their children. Do you agree? Give examples to justify your opinion. (120 words)