At a critical point in the learning life of young people, GCSEs and A-levels should be about breadth and wider skills, not ticking boxes. The one-size-fits-all approach is not working; it is failing our young people.
When I received my exam results I hit a real low. My dreams of becoming an international swimmer were in tatters and now I was facing an uncertain future with a lack of qualifications. My confidence was crushed.
somehow, teachers seem to get blamed for disappointing results with the credit for the best results going entirely to their students. The thought of photographers taking shots of delighted teachers leaping in the air outside their schools, reading glasses and sensible cardigans flying in all directions, is so ridiculous that it's utterly delightful.
I grew up in a tough area in Newcastle. I saw drug and alcohol abuse, crime and poverty. I also saw how the lack of role models meant that many of my friends felt they had nowhere to turn. It's easy to see why so many people I knew didn't do well at school and ended up mixing with the wrong crowd and heading down the wrong path to a life of unemployment and sometimes even drugs. It's scary to see that this is still happening... In the middle of all the headlines announcing 'record results', we mustn't forget those who are waking up today, who didn't get the results they so desperately wanted.
There needs to be a reconnect between higher education and the jobs economy. We need to make sure that people moving into higher education will actually be exiting the system with qualifications which are relevant and aligned with the jobs that businesses and the like are creating.
What seemed like the most terrible scenario in the world ended up being the biggest godsend as I was forced to look at alternative options. Within a month I'd had a lucky meeting with someone and managed to secure some work experience. It was this year after school when I realised how IMPORTANT work experience was.
I'm Dr Hinnah Rafique, the Director of Medicine and Surgery at Help Me I'm A Medic. My top tip - it is never too early to start thinking about what ...
Youth is a time for experimentation. To make mistakes and suffer the consequences, but then to do it again because it was just as thrilling as the first time. I'm not saying your youth is meant for recklessness but it is one of the few times you can be reckless and have no serious repercussions; depending on the context of course.
The minister, Nicky Morgan needs to reach out to the other parties over this to see how much can be achieved. Perhaps a general agreement is too much to hope for but if it was only possible to reach a consensus on how to cut the exam burden so that children can enjoy their school days - well. that in itself would be something worthwhile.
Last week's furore with one of the maths GCSE papers raised some interesting points. There were a number of difficult questions including the now infamous one referred to as the Hannah's sweets question..