It is almost that time of year again; on August 18 and 25 this year, children in the UK will receive their results from the first batch of in-person exams since 2019. I cannot tell you how relieved I am to be on the other side of A ‘levels and GCSEs.
I am deeply thankful that we are through this part of our daughter’s education, which for me, was one of the most stressful parts of her schooling. For many reasons, I think we did well to get her through school relatively intact.
So, I have revised a post I first published in 2018, which reflects where I was then and where I am now:
Our GCSE Manifesto
I’m sure, like many thousands of other parents, my husband and I are counting down the days until the end of June 2018, when our teenage daughter will have completed her GCSE examinations.
I have been astounded by how stressful we’ve found these two years and can’t wait for it to be over. Back in the late 70s, I genuinely do not remember my parents or me being this involved or anxious about my O’ Levels. At that time, they were just a set of exams to take before moving on to either work or some form of further study.
So, what’s changed?
I should imagine quite a lot, but this month’s post isn’t an in-depth treatise on the pros and cons of the current UK education system. Life is too short. 😉
But what I would like to do so that my husband and I can support our daughter through the next six months and retain our sanity is to lay out our GCSE Manifesto.
So, to our daughter, we’d like to say:
We don’t need you to finish with nine, 9***********, or however the hell the top marks are described these days. A smattering of reasonable grades is fine with us, thank you very much.
Get yourself through this but look after yourself too; your physical and mental health is our top priority. We want you to be resilient, and that might mean sacrificing a few marks here and there.
We need you to put in the ‘effort’; this is probably the most important predictor of success in these exams. So, if you can look us both in the eye and tell us you have tried your hardest and best. We will be proud.
These exams are a gateway, a set of stepping-stones to a future we cannot fully predict or control. They may lead you to where you want to go, but they may also lead to unexpected or unanticipated opportunities. They don’t have to determine the rest of your life; that is for you to do.
Learning is a joy and is for life, so don’t allow this small part of your education to put you off. If you can keep your mind open to Learning and your heart open to friendship, compassion and kindness, your dad and I will have done our job.
And remember, whatever happens on August 23 when the results come out, there is always a plan B, and we will be with you, come what may.
Life will go on; all you need to do is make the best choices from wherever you happen to be.
Mum and Dad