We all know the old sayings “failing to prepare means preparing to fail” and the 6 P’s – “Proper Preparation Prevents P*** Poor Performance” – goodness knows I had them drummed into me enough times as a fledgeling Training Officer back in the day. While there might be some truth in these old adages, I think it is time that we started looking at them through a new lens.

In a week’s time my family will either be jumping for joy or drowning our sorrows – what am I talking about? Yes, it’s almost time for the dreaded A-level results. My daughter along with countless other students up and down the country will be nervously waiting for their UCAS tracker to update and hopefully show they have a place at their university of choice.

Anyone that knows me will probably be sick to the back teeth of hearing me warble on about the unhealthy pressure and stress that was heaped on our teenagers during this year’s exam season. In the rush to meet the political agenda of halting “falling educational standards,” examination papers were created which even degree undergraduates couldn’t answer, let alone the brightest of A-level students. This feels incredibly wrong and that in 21stCentury Britain we seem hell bent on “preparing to fail” our young people in many different ways.

As my daughter has rightly pointed out, what is the point of putting in the hard work if the exams are so difficult the grade boundaries have to be adjusted so much that a student with a score of 35% could potentially get the same grade as someone scoring 85% (sadly this has been confirmed by a number of teachers). I am not talking as some pushy mother that wants her child to be first in everything but as someone who is concerned for the mental health and well-being of all our young people. Clearly, we are short changing everyone, creating a dangerous world of over inflated expectation on one hand and de-motivation on the other.

When I look at my daughter and her friends, there is no way they could have prepared any more than they did and yet they may still fail! I am a great lover of the saying “there is always more than one way to skin a cat” and on the morning of the 15thof August, should the results not be as hoped for, I will be helping my daughter to see that her perceived “failure” is something she can learn from and that she hasn’t failed, the system was prepared to fail her!

Perhaps a new saying should be “work hard, put the effort in and good things will happen eventually because the road to success is always under construction!”

What are your thoughts? Do you have any sayings that are better than the two I shared at the beginning of this blog? 

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P.S. Good luck to all A-level and GCSE students waiting for their results – I really hope you get what you wish for!

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