GCSE and A Level results are out this week and I know that there
will be a lot of mixed feelings, worry and concern from students, parents and teachers. For students, here are five thoughts to keep with you when you open your envelopes.
1. You are more than your grades. Your grades are a mish-mash of teacher assessments, grade boundaries and OFQUAL guidance. They give you a general idea of where you fall in comparison to your peers in the very specific topic of . They do not state your value or your ability and should be viewed as nothing more than a ticket to the next step of your education.
2. Hopefully your grades will get you to where you want to be – whether that be a particular university or being able to take a specific set of A Levels – but if they don’t, there are options. You can resit; you can rethink your plans; you can take a year out. I know many students whose results stopped them from pursuing Plan A and who instead found a new and unexpectedly rewarding Plan B.
3. You DO deserve your good grades! There will be talk about rampant grade inflation and dumbing down – ignore this. A version of this story is churned out every year, it’s just that this year there is a new spin on it because of the way grades are being awarded. You have worked your socks off: your teachers know this; I know this. Celebrate your achievements – you earned them.
4. Say thank you to your teachers. They have been living through the same pandemic you have; they have been teaching both in-person and remotely (often at the same time); they have been given the job of the exam boards without any extra pay or time to do it; they have all of the responsibility with none of the prestige or recognition. Any disappointments you may experience are the result of the system not the teachers.
5. Forget about the grades: think about all you have achieved this year. You have survived two lockdowns during your two years of exams. That means that you have been without direct teaching and supervision for almost half your learning time. You have learned resilience; self-discipline; independence and an incredible work ethic. Whatever your grades, you are part of the most employable and able generation for decades.
I wish all of you the best of luck when you receive your results and I hope that you get what you need to take the next step of you journey. If things don't work out as you hope, don't panic. This is not the end of the world, merely the end of a chapter and, therefore, the beginning of a new one.