Tell your kids exam grades don’t matter

Tell your kids exam grades don’t matter

Yesterday’s most tragic story in the UK is of two brothers who took their own lives aged 20 and 15. Our prayers and thoughts are with their family, who are pleading with others to watch out for their mental health and that of those around them.  Read about it here.  With the pressure of so

It’s too much for anyone

cial media, the cancer and dementia in every family and absurd academic pressures, suicide rates are scary. Over the years we have become beholden to a system that rejects the love of knowledge and learning. We are lost in a national and international tyranny of exam success.

League Tables create a race for every pupil to walk away from each exam with at least an A or 8 if you’re in the GCSE zone these days.

Did you hear about the debacle at St Olave’s school, where some pupils were booted out or told to take their predicted C grade exams privately – to prevent them showing up on the League tables?

For a moment, it felt like an isolated scandal in Orpington, but in fact this sort of thing is happening to kids aged 16 and 17 across the UK, in religious, private, other grammar and some ambitious state schools for years.

One mum told me: “It’s ruthless. Age 16 they rip away all the pupils who won’t shine in the League Tables and dump them without support, saying ‘I think your child would do better in a different school’.”

League tables are driving our kids and teachers mad. Literally. The washed out souls who’ve spent hours and hours of their youth cramming details of plant ecosystems or mathematical models into their heads find themselves trapped in front of books.

Add to being put into a world where everyone is as clever as you, and then add tutors who will kick you out at the end of your first year of uni because your grades are average – yes, now all eyes are on university League tables. But there’s a reason to challenge this.

Teen suicide rates in Singapore – which has the best academic performance in the world League tables – is reportedly the highest it’s been in 15 years. The Pisa Rankings by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) test teenagers around the world and mark each country on Reading, Maths and Science.

The UK is above average, but trails behind most Asian countries such as South Korea where the average secondary school student spends roughly 16 hours a day on school and school-related activities. How can that be healthy? It isn’t.

South Korea suffers from the highest rates of suicide by 10 to 19 year olds anywhere in the world. Some campaigners compare the pressure on children to achieve academically as child abuse.

If you do one thing as a parent today, tell your children you couldn’t give a stuff about their grades.

 

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