Poor grades, poor future for young people …

One in five young people in the UK say they have “abandoned their ambitions” because of poor grades, warns a report.

Some 34% of 2,300 16 to 25-year-olds with poor grades polled for The Prince’s Trust charity believed they would “end up on benefits”.

It said many had experienced problems at school or home so exam results did not reflect their true potential. This is often what poor grades are being tied to in this day and age, which I find quite discouraging as I have seen in classes I’ve taught in primary who have disadvantaged backgrounds and serious home issues be on the Gifted and Talented register, some as early as Year 1. While I do accept, and know from personal experience that problems at home can and often do lead to problems in school, the support should be in place to support those children. Often what I have experienced through working with a couple of secondary schools in the last couple of years as a mentor is that most children who I have mentored or worked with have had difficulties at home, some that appear to have gone unnoticed by the schools themselves.

The government said it was “taking decisive action to transform vocational education”. A spokeswoman for the Department for Education (DfE) said the government would fund “a place in education or training for every 16 and 17-year-old who wants one”. Well this sounds promising, but this is what apprenticeships were supposed to do, and little is ever heard of or advertised about these schemes, which is disappointing to me. It shouldn’t be about people who ‘want’ one either, it should be about people who ‘need’ them. Every child deserve opportunities and should want to take those opportunities. If they don’t then they need the appropriate support to ensure they do.

According to the poll, more than a quarter (26%) of those who left school with poor grades believed their results would always hold them back. “Thousands of young people’s ambitions are crushed by exam results each year,” said Prince’s Trust chief executive, Martina Milburn.

Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg accused the government of doing too little to help young people who do not go to university. “With A-level results out this week, we know many young people have high ambitions. But sadly, this government is holding them back by cutting careers advice, threatening school standards, and leaving nearly a million young people out of work,” he said.

The report draws on official statistics showing that last year about 40% of school leavers in England alone did not achieve the required standard of five good GCSE results including English and maths. This amounts to almost 250,000 young people, says the report.

This just highlights the reason why I went into teaching in the first place. I know first hand that children with home situations that can only be classed as dire can often slip under the radar and not be identified and supported nearly enough. I want to reach out to those children and bring them up aware that they can achieve their potential, and not to stay down in the dumps and feeling hopeless about themselves and their chances.

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