GCSE Results

Our young people are once again bearing a burden held by most young people certainly over the last 60 years. Results day. This day is ground zero in the life of every young person in Gibraltar and the UK. It is from this single day that their life changes completely because this day, this one defining moment after reading the results transforms their dreams into reality or a reality check.

The Gibraltar Chronicle leads with the headline “Resilient students shrug off covid disruption and achieve ‘exceptional’ GCSE results.” In the UK the Guardian headline is “Gap in GCSE results brings fresh warnings over Covid.” The last one the Independent has “Ministers urged to retain GCSE Covid measures.” That is just three newspapers touching upon results the other eight have other stories they think are more interesting. Interestingly all three touch on covid in the headline and rightly so given the disruption caused. One paper, I’ll let you guess which one leads with “We’re going to probe Uranus… in space no one can hear you scream” (answer at the end of the blog).

Whether the students got their results in the mail or via email the drama, relief and joy at school as the student learns their results has gone. A modern world and dare I say it an almost covid free world, results in UK by letter were mailed either to school or to home. Still the drama plays out the same and it seems on the whole the results are what most are happy with. Good news too they are provisional results as they expect most students who need certain results to challenge.It is a far cry from yesteryear but probably a good thing if you need a boost to your transition to working life. Some are already working I have a friend who’s grandaughter received hers yesterday and sent me a photo via WhatsApp of the results. Firstly I didn’t understand them as they are numbers not letters  and the higher the number the better the result which is logical, I suppose. The new system also has 3 numbers based against two letters of the old grading system. One result was a 5 this is alongside the B & C grades I assumed then you are either a B or a C but if you have a 5 grade you are an B/C? It means us old folks we need to forget the letters and look at the numbers. The numbers are a better indicator of the level of knowledge the student has.  The dreaded ‘U’ just means ungraded and to get that you’d have to spend the whole exam watching TV pretty much.  The key point to take away is under the systems a ‘C’ was considered a pass now anyone who gets a 4 and above has passed their GCSE

Many years ago I was talking to students and parents in relation to getting jobs and as usual on results day and just after they came in to discuss options on jobs. I had this young lady who in her hand held her results the gist of which being the ones most companies are interested in maths, science and english language were alas at the ‘G’ grade and not the desired A,B or C. Looking at the paper I was at first taken aback then I had to figure out how I could break it to her and her mother these results were not good enough. Especially as she had a big smile on her face. Quickly i turned to her mother and asked, looking for support and a way out. “What do you think of the results?” Cue big smile from me. She smiled back beaming and said “we are very proud.”

The point I am making I suppose is that results day whatever the results are a massive worry to students of all abilities and this single day to some has the potential to be disastrous if they require a good level of pass. Whatever we oldies think of the education system now compared to 30 or more years ago these young people have neither the knowledge or the interest in what went before. They can only play with the cards they have been given and the knowledge our teachers impart upon them. As adults it is our job to look at what they can do with their results, be honest with them but do not crush them at a time they are both at their most expectant but also at their most vulnerable. They are tested at the same levels or possibly harder than we were given the stresses and distractions of modern life. For more information try this link to grade boundaries.

Well done to ALL our young people in Gibraltar particularly. Whatever the results are for you today remember, you are our future and everyone is proud of you.

*The newspaper was the Daily star by the way.