Lets not beat around the bush your GCSE absolutely do matter. If I see one more status proclaiming that GCSE’s don’t matter and that Richard Branson and Alan Sugar didn’t pass their exams and it did them no harm, I am going to scream into a black hole.
We spend months preparing our teens for these GCSE exams. As parents and carers we feed them brain boosting foods, we make sure they have all the equipment and resources. We encourage them to study, to sleep well and may even motivate them by paying teens to pass GCSE’s. Some will have private tutors and spend hours in revision classes. Therefore you’re not helping anyone saying GCSE results don’t matter – THEY DO.
We live in a competitive society and exam results have never been more important. It doesn’t mean we need to expect all A*’s but getting the standard pass is important. Employers need skilled workers. The exams are getting harder, this year there was an overall fall in the grades, but matter they do!
English and Maths at the standard pass of a 4/5 (the old C grade) are needed for many further education courses. If they are not passed at the end of Y11 the students now must retake them in Y12 or as part of their vocational courses.
To suggest these results do not matter is a disservice to our teenagers, to their teachers and to their schools. To suggest that ‘I’ve done alright’ without GCSE’s is actually harmful. Society has changed now, it is not easy to get a job or start a course without the right grades.
I cried on my GCSE result day because I didn’t get what I needed to start A Levels. It absolutely did matter that I had not passed enough GCSE’s. It turned out ok, because the very next year when I sat GCSE’s again I absolutely smashed them and got what I needed. I started A Levels a year later and knew I needed to work hard to get the grades for University. I was poorly throughout my A Levels but I kept going, kept studying, determined to get the grades needed. From that I was able to go on and get to my chosen University. Then I was able to do my post grad certificate in Education (achieving a distinction, no less) because I learnt that exams do matter.
For sure, you can do ok without grades but it makes it harder. It also stops you doing things. Years ago you might not have needed GCSE’s to start a nursing course but now you do. For all those that hold Richard Branson up as some working class hero, consider the many many more that have never risen to those heady heights. He iss exceptional yes, and so is his story. Don’t think for one minute though that, that is the norm.
GCSE’s do matter, probably more than ever. Let us celebrate today those that have achieved beyond their expectations. Furthermore let us support those that are disappointed. Show them that it is not the end, and that there are of course options ahead. Exams can be retaken. It might be a wake up call to work harder. Yet let’s not suggest it doesn’t matter. That is just giving mixed messages after years of teenagers being told they do matter.
Opening that envelope is emotional, last year I stood there while Chloe opened her envelope. I watched her reaction as she saw what hard work had achieved. She worked for those grades and she knew that they mattered. Those that didn’t get what they wanted or expected were upset. They were upset because they also knew that GCSE’s absolutely do matter.