COLUMN: Students in the midst of exam stress

Head of Anthony Gell School Wirksworth Malcolm Kelly
Head of Anthony Gell School Wirksworth Malcolm Kelly

For so many of our children this summer will remain in their memories for a very long time. It will always be the summer when they sat their GCSE or A level exams.

As adults we struggle to remember all that happened whilst we attended school, but most of us still have a vivid memory of the hall in which we sat, as a somewhat naive teenager, nervously awaiting the instruction to turn over our exam paper and hear the words ‘you may begin’.

That experience had such an impact on us that we can remember it now all of these years later.

I don’t subscribe to the theory of the exams getting less difficult year after year and I certainly don’t think that our children have it easier than those in generations past.

Yet both of these statements have been made by some in recent years and publicised in the media.

The pressures on our children are significant. The number of times a child is tested for example has grown and grow - with each result scrutinised and compared against statistical predictions, averages and personal bests.

Children can, if we are not careful, be somewhat dehumanised in the whole process.

I think it’s important for us to remember that behind every statistic there is a young person whose life is being shaped and determined by their time in school. Each of these young people need to be carefully nurtured.

As well as the hall in which my classmates and I sat our O Levels in the 1980s, I remember the odd snippet from a lesson.

We were given plenty of practice questions just as the students are today, but when the half term holiday was about to start it was more a case of ‘don’t forget to revise and I’ll see you in a week’.

These days, in addition to the work done in lessons, schools like Anthony Gell put on a detailed programme of revision sessions during the holidays. Teachers willing to give that bit extra in order to support the child.

With all of the excellent teaching and the numerous opportunities for additional time with staff, the students of Anthony Gell School are very well prepared for what lies ahead.

This, coupled with their determination to do their best and their willingness to engage in their learning, will lead to them achieving a set of results in August which they can be very proud of.