GCSEs – waiting is almost over

For many of those of us who have recently taken exams, in particular GCSEs, or who happen to be related to someone who has, we may well have experienced some of the emotions people often feel as the day results are announced rapidly approaches; feelings of hope mixed with trepidation; nervousness or for some stoicism.

The day has come when those who took their GCSEs back in May and June will know their results, upon which may (partly at least) hang their fate regarding their future education options and career choices. A week ago, it happened with the announcement of A-Level results. As has now become customary, our local newspaper (Southend Echo) undertook to report on this event, interviewing a number of the candidates (usually those that were successful) and the occasional school head. There are no prizes for predicting the same will happen with GCSEs in this coming Friday’s edition.

As those who follow my blog know, I am a rebel regarding support for the education system as it currently stands, as my recent posting “the point of education” explains. I am particularly skeptical regarding the supposed merits of being over concerned with exam success. The one thing good results does teach us is that those that do succeed have the ability to pass exams and at least some knowledge of the curriculum on which the exams are based. It does not, however, predict success in one’s career or life generally or being a well rounded, useful, fulfilled person, and countless examples can be given of those with few qualifications that have done well and those with many qualifications who haven’t.

But this is not the time to be churlish or unsympathetic. I can still remember when a hundred years ago I got my “O Level” results, having done better than expected. I was proud that my hard work had paid off and so were my parents. I do not regret working hard toward that end, for even if my own achievements subsequently have been modest, what I had learned did put me in good stead for what was to follow later in my life. My son is one of those who are about to receive their results (and thus the interest), and as far as I can make out he is not unduly concerned, certainly when compared with his parents. It was much the same as five and a half years ago when we were waiting for his 11-plus results, but then as far as I was concerned the stakes were higher! And how time flies and one of the things that has happened is that child has turned into an adult who we love regardless. I am writing this post now and not after the exam results have come out because I have this interest and I don’t want the outcome, whether good or bad, to influence what I write.

I wish (and have done so with the few I know) all the candidates well, knowing that there is nothing more that can be done, for your fates (as the saying goes) is in the hands of the gods, and soon you will know. Congratulations and commiserations will be the order of the day when results are announced, although for many the outcome may be as predicted, but I would like to think hard work will be rewarded. My other word of wisdom is that, whatever the result, it is not the be all and end all of anything, but rather the start of a new chapter of your life, which I would encourage you to live to the full.

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