On Thursday my family celebrated the success of my son’s A Level results and winning his choice of university places. It was a time to take a moment (or day!) to say ‘Well done’ to my son, his teachers – and also ourselves. Let’s face it, there was a lot of work going on in the background!
We were lucky because before we took our son to school, we already knew he had got into the university of his choice. This made it much easier arriving at school and already had some good news to share with friends and teachers. So when he opened the dreaded results envelope, there wasn’t so much pressure. It was wonderful to CELEBRATE, and we didn’t focus at all on his results.
however, I overheard a couple of parents actually criticising their offspring for their results, EVEN THOUGH they had got the places they wanted. “Oh you didn’t do very well in Maths” or “I’m disappointed in your results”. It was a pointless exercise and the offspring only heard something negative about their achievements. They will always remember that.
Likewise there was one parent furiously demanding a re-mark for 2 papers; even though her son had got a place to his university of choice – and she would still be able to be smug at Dinner Parties. It seemed crazy: yes if you weren’t happy with a result, wait until after you have celebrated.
There is a time and place for criticising and ‘feedback’ and for celebrating.
Then of course the media reported that 20% grades were A* and A. Where?? Of course there were excellent candidates and friends of my son who did incredibly well with 3 A* grades or A* and A grades, which is superb. But listening to the comments on TV, you would have thought that every candidate had A* grades and that there was still ‘Dumbing Down’.
Not only did these comments undermine the undoubted success of the students who had achieved so much, but it was insulting to all of the students who had worked hard and achieved something at their own level.