We all know the feeling - anxious, unable to sit still, nervously awaiting results over which we no longer have any control. That’s right, results day is looming. At the end of August, pupils across the country will be collecting their GCSE and A-Level results. For many, this will determine school, college and University places for September. They are a marker of a pupil’s achievements, and determines what they do next… right?
Of course, GCSE and A-Level results are important. Across the UK, they are the qualifications used to assess our students. They are used to work out which subjects you can take at college, or whether you are able to take up a conditional University offer. They also ensure that students are qualified in a range of subjects from English to Maths, with the opportunity to take exams in myriad other subjects. This allows students to explore interests that may develop into degrees and careers further down the line.
However, it is important to remind young people that there is so much that these exams don’t test. While the British curriculum teaches students invaluable knowledge, there are also many essential life skills to be learnt simply by being in school. Being in school teaches time management, organisational and social skills. At school, kids are also given the chance to take on leadership roles to develop the related skills. There is also public speaking, research skills, analytical skills and more to be learnt at school! These are the transferable skills that help you to excel at whatever career you choose, no matter what your GCSE or A-Level results are.
We must also be careful when stressing the importance of these exams, as it can damage young peoples’ mental health, leaving them stressed and anxious as they prepare. Exams are daunting and require adequate preparation and revision, but their outcome does not irrevocably determine one’s pathway; there are options.
It is important to give our young people an holistic education; to remind them that what they learn in the classroom needs to be supplemented by what they learn on the pitch, in the music room, or even when hanging out with their friends. At BIGKID, we try to encourage the young people we work with to develop skills such as self-confidence, leadership, communication and teamwork, which can be forgotten about in the classroom setting. As part of our Breaking Barriers Leadership Programme, we also seek to change young peoples’ attitudes towards education. We try to show young people at imminent risk of exclusion that there is so much to get out of school, from what you learn in the classroom to the social and life skills that being in that environment fosters within you.
So when you open up the brown envelope containing your results, it is important that you remember - no matter what is inside - that you are capable of achieving your dreams. Even if the grades aren’t as good as you had expected, you are no less deserving of their goals.