The A Grade Team, Again?!

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So, after the A Level results came around, GCSE results have followed shortly after. Teenagers all over Great Britain are receiving the results that they have been working towards for the last five years. But just like this years A Level results, the focus on GCSEs surrounds the fall in grades compared to that of the previous twenty four years from when the exams began, with a fall in the amount of A* to C grades received. As I suggested in my last article on this years A Level results, this isn’t as big a deal as the ‘professionals’ will make it out to be.   

According to the BBC, this years GCSE results show that the 69.8% of received A* to C grades last year has fallen to 69.4% of the approximately 658, 000 sixteen year olds in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who have received their results. Just like the situation with the fall of A and A* grades in A Levels, people are concerned as to what could have caused this drop in high grades, could it be that children are not working hard enough in education anymore? Could it be that the exams are harder than they used to be? Or could it even be that the way children are taught at schools has changed for the worse? Whatever the reason, is this ever so slight fall in the amount of received A* to C grades really that important and influential to young people in the long run?

Thinking back to your time at school you are reminded of all the times you were told that if you didn’t try hard and do well as an outcome, you would essentially not get anywhere in life. Trying hard is all well and good, but the idea of not doing well in school leads to not doing well in life is complete rubbish.

Compare this idea to the amount of university graduates who have been unable to find work and you feel that maybe your school teachers slightly over exaggerated when talking about our futures. For example, according to the Office for National Statistics, in 2011 UK unemployment had reached 2.62 million, and there were more 16-24 year olds who were out of work since 1992. To be more specific on university students, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) for 2010/2011 the annual change for unemployment for undergraduates was a rise of 6.6%, and for postgraduates, the annual change was a rise of 16.5%. So, even those who have continued on from university to pursue a more advanced qualification are still finding themselves out of work.

This doesn’t just apply to the younger generation, but to the older generation as well. There are plenty of young and older people alike out there who despite not being successful at school, have gone on to land themselves with decent jobs that make them happy, all it takes is a bit of hard work. What’s more, there are plenty of adults who didn’t come out with great success after education, but have gone back to it later on in life and gained a much better outcome. One failed or disappointing result, however important it may seem, is not the end.     

So it seems that in today’s society, doing well in education doesn’t always do much good in terms of how it impacts on the rest of our lives. This focus on the fall in high GCSE grades shouldn’t be happening because for most of these teenagers it might not even matter towards their future. Now I’m not saying that the state of today’s society in terms of unemployment should mean that young people should not bother with education, but what we should do, rather than focus on the fall in grades, is just congratulate them on trying in the first place.

Jenny Pinder

I'm a 22 year old living in Hull, soon to be living in Leeds. I recently found out I have officially passed my university degree, so now I have a summer of fun to look forward to. At the moment everything in life is falling nicely into place.

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