Grades alone not enough for future career

Education comment piece I wrote for The Southern Daily Echo  –


Barton Peveril student Sam Waddington celebrating his A Level results which mean he is off to study journalism at Winchester University. Thursday 13th August, 2015 – Picture Andy Brooks. (35083027)

IN a fortnight where students have received their A-levels and GCSE grades, Hampshire student Sam Waddington talks about his journey and how more help is needed for students who have the grades but no career plan.

Planning out your future is no easy task, but after anxiously awaiting my A-level results last week I obtained the qualifications I needed to study journalism at Winchester University.

For a long time now my ambition has been to become a professional journalist. After being successful at GSCE level during my time at Kings’ School in Winchester, achieving nine A* to C’s, I realised that by enrolling on A-level courses at Barton Peveril College, Eastleigh, that I would enjoy and benefit from the most in the future was the best option for me.

Taking this stance, the transition from school to college felt very smooth. I knew what I wanted to get out of going to college so was able to learn and practice skills important for any career path or job role, such as meeting deadlines and working co-operatively. Not all students will have clear aspirations or goals for later life though, and part of the reason is because they are not always given sound advice from an early age that will help them discover their options.

Youngsters are often left to their own devices to work out what they want to do with their lives and are only advised when it is too late.

During my time at college, events like careers fairs were set up which I am sure benefited some, but really schools could do with providing better information for their pupils on careers.

Matthew Longden, head teacher of Toynbee School in Chandler’s Ford, who I spoke to this week on GSCE results day, said: “Preparation is just as important as the reality of grades.” Mr Longden was also quick to point out that a lot more is expected of you at A-levels compared to studies at school: “I think A-levels are a massive jump from GCSEs; when I speak to past students who have gone onto college the biggest shock they have is how independent they have to be.

“GCSEs are very prescriptive and I’m not sure that A-levels are as much; there is far more emphasis on studying on your own and researching on your own. Students often say that nothing could have prepared them for A-levels.”

My education so far has helped me mature and develop as an individual, gaining important life experiences in the process.

But if the system was geared towards helping individuals develop as people and preparing for the future rather than just grades achieved, I feel students would profit.


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