21 August 2016

All of my most successful friends and peers are academic failures.

UKFast Code Club helps youngsters learn programming whilst having fun at the same time

UKFast Code Club helps youngsters learn programming whilst having fun at the same time

I am one too, but that’s never stopped me. I think it’s worth remembering this when you, your children or relatives are collecting A-Level and GCSE results this month.

I believe that you should view a ‘bad’ result as a positive; it’s forcing you to take an alternative path that could prove to be the most incredible journey.

Whatever the results, this is an opportunity to go out and look for employers and pathways who that excite you. What do you want to do?

Academic success does not dictate whether you’re a failure or success – your attitude and approach to life does.

It is also extraordinarily important to remember that people develop at different paces. I was a late developer – I achieved 6 O-Levels and 4 Us at A-Levels. Whilst with these results you’re unlikely to become a doctor or solicitor, there’s always something for everyone. You might be a brilliant salesperson or a super-organised PA, you might be the next great entrepreneur. All of those roles are so valuable.

I was saddened to read an article in the Telegraph this week saying that middle-class parents should accept that some kids are too thick for private school. This is completely the wrong message. What the article should have said is that we all need to accept that our education system is failing young people whose skills are not measurable by exams.

The article in the Telegraph earlier in the week.

The article in the Telegraph earlier in the week.

A one-size-fits-all education does not work and writing an article in which you call children ‘thickos’ not only doesn’t help the problem, it aggravates it, perpetuating this ideology that academic success automatically means success in the world of work.

If you didn’t get the results you’d hoped for or you’re not sure what your next step is, come and talk to me. Drop me a message on social media or leave a comment on the blog. I’m always recruiting and I’m not looking at exam results, I’m looking for passionate, supportive, caring people. And it’s certainly not dictated by your school qualifications; there are school leavers earning 4 times graduate salaries!

In fact, nearly 50% of UKFast’s workforce don’t have degrees. There’s no real evidence to suggest those with degrees earn any more. In fact, off the top of my head, I know that some of the top earners in the business chose NOT to go to university.

Richard Branson is proud of the fact that he didn’t do well academically – he is a prime advocate of those who didn’t do so well come results day. I am too. I’ve been there, I’ve opened that envelope and seen the worst results – but that spurred me on.

In these situations you have a choice – do you give in and let the weight of expectations and pressure crush you? Or, do you stand strong, fight back and show what you’re really made of?

Rugby players might not excel on the squash court, but they’re amazing on the rugby pitch. A builder might not be great at writing a novel but they can certainly build an amazing home. We are all great at different things and should be measured that way.

We are long overdue a reform in our education system – not everything can be measured by an exam.  A piece of paper with four letters isn’t everything. More important are the traits that can’t be taught. The values that parents need to instil in their kids, that can’t be taught at school. Being supportive, giving them a hug and telling them it doesn’t matter; telling them to DREAM BIG, to pursue what they love.

No one should feel like a failure when they are being measured on a one-size-fits-all scale. It’s not fair.


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