Yesterday was the day when the A and AS level results were released. The local paper websites were crammed full of stories of the local geniuses who excelled.
http://www.edgware-today.co.uk/news.cfm?id=27307&headline=A-level%20results%20day:%20Pass%20rates%20at%20Woodhouse%20College%20rise our educatio%20again
Now of course for those who did well, these stories are a good news story. My two daughters both received results yesteday and did extremely well. The sad truth is that the education system is not fit for purpose. It is all very well getting lots of a* etc and saying Barnet schools have done marvellously, but are we delivering a generation of young people who can do the jobs vital to support the economy? I run a business and we make a positive point of trying to employ young people. Over the years we've built up a great team. The interesting thing is that all of our best members of staff did badly in their exams. You may think that this is because a music studio is a specialist job, but it is the basics that so many of those we've employed have had issues with. Simple tasks like writing down purchases and turning off radiators in rooms at the end of sessions.
We've also seen the pressure that young people suffer and the stress caused when they don't get the required grades. It leads me to ask if judging people on their ability to do exams in a high stress environment is really a good way of judging those best suited to do the top jobs in the country. I actually think that it is probably the worst way.
I am also disturbed at how little emphasis there is on preparing the students who are non academic for the workplace. As far as I can see, Barnet schools do little in the way of preparation for those who will be going into a manual labour profession or vocational jobs. I think that the less acedemic should be able to start apprenticeships aged 14 and this should be viewed as positive career path rather than some sort of second class education. In Barnet there is an obsession with free schools and academies. We are obsessed with exam results and league tables, when we should be obsessed with the ensuring our young people are happy, well balanced and getting an education that prepares them for the rest of their life.
Over the course of this blog, we've told hundreds of Friday jokes. The biggest joke of all is the way we are all seduced into celebrating the success of a system that is totally unfit for purpose for the UK economy.