So it’s GCSE results day and by now families across the city will have gone through a range of emotions. Anxiety, anticipation, joy, surprise, disappointment, devastation. And what if it hasn’t gone to plan?
GCSE results day is the culmination of hard work and preparation by students, teachers and parents alike. A day which is supposed to evaluate their abilities in core subjects, as well as their chosen streams. The media are busy setting the internet on fire, reporting to the nation how the next generation will contribute to the national economy. That’s a lot of pressure for sixteen year olds. And the job of trying to keep them focussed and motivated must be even harder for teachers in this current challenging political climate.
Exams don’t accurately test a person’s knowledge and skill level. There are so many factors which contribute to the exam environment. Some students simply don’t thrive under exam conditions, so the shift towards exams counting as more of your grade from this September could be a worry for some. While the government are busy shuffling statistics, trying to appease the business community that they are committed to raising standards of school leavers, in my view, they forget the qualities which makes the best employees overall. Yes, a foundation level of knowledge is needed, numeracy and literacy being the most important. But an aptitude for learning and the ability to change are, in my view, two essential qualities to get you through life.
Purely by understanding that a learning journey doesn’t end with school or university is one of the most valuable things I believe you can teach your child. And next to that, the ability to cope with change. I have seen ‘job-for-life’ colleagues almost shattered because they couldn’t cope with changes a workplace adapting to technology forced upon them. Equally, I have recruited graduates unwilling to learn new skills, as their expectations of finding a job close to their degree subject were miserably deflated. Recently I spoke to an economist-turned-artist, who had followed a professional career path only to find his creative side bursting to get out, causing him to ditch the day job and take some risks. These are the stories I will tell my children.
So if exam results haven’t gone to plan, lick your wounds, talk to teachers and other professionals, formulate your plan. Take it from someone who dealt with devastating A-level results and lacked all self-belief, things can always be turned around and sometimes more assuredly than ever. In some cases, plans falling through are merely opportunities.
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