Shattered dreams of pupils in exam heartache

Poor exam results are causing thousands of young people in Yorkshire to abandon their ambitions with more than a third expecting to end up on benefits, shocking new figures reveal today.

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Research published by the youth charity the Prince’s Trust shows that 34 per cent of school leavers with disappointing exam results did not believe they would get a job.

More young people in Yorkshire thought they would end up on benefits than across the rest of the country.

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Overall one in five of all young people questioned in the region expected to be on benefits.

The charity is calling for more vocational support for those leaving school with few qualifications to help them into jobs.

Last year, 42 per cent of pupils from the region did not achieve the Government benchmark of at least five GCSEs graded A* to C, including English and maths.

Jonathan Townsend, director of the Prince’s Trust in the North, said: “Thousands of young people’s ambitions are crushed by exam results each year.

“Those with fewer than five GCSEs are almost twice as likely as their peers to believe that they will ‘never amount to anything’.

“Many of these young people have faced problems at home or bullying at school, so their exam results don’t reflect their true potential.

“We need to do more to support those who are not academically successful, helping them develop vocational skills.

“Government, employers and charities must work together to get them into jobs.

“We need to show young people living here in Yorkshire and the Humber that they can be a success, even if they don’t get five good GCSEs.”

Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg accused Prime Minister David Cameron of failing young people. “With A Level results out this week, we know many young people have high ambitions,” he said.

“But sadly, this Government is holding them back by cutting careers advice, threatening school standards, and leaving nearly a million young people out of work.”

Lucie Russell, director of campaigns and policy at the charity YoungMinds, said the figures highlighted the everyday pressures felt by the young.

“Young people are growing up in a toxic climate where bleak employment prospects, exam pressures and a 24/7 online culture where they can never switch off are placing a significant strain on their emotional wellbeing,” she said.

“These are unprecedented times for children and young people and we must support them practically as The Prince’s Trust recommends but also give much better support to improve their emotional wellbeing.”

The research shows more than two fifths of young people living in Yorkshire believe those who fail their exams will struggle to find a job in the future.

It also reveals that almost one in 10 young people in the region believe their exam results will “always” hold them back. The study shows how young people with few qualifications often face significant barriers to learning at home.

Those who left school with poor grades are twice as likely as their peers to say that they “struggled to concentrate on schoolwork due to family problems” and that their “home-life was so stressful that they struggled to focus”. They are also significantly less likely to have had access to a computer, the internet or a quiet place to do their schoolwork at home.

More than a fifth of young people in the region admit they will “always”’ feel inferior to those who did better at school.

Today’s findings are based on interviews with more than 2,300 16- to 25-year-olds across the country.

Soldier given key to a brighter future

A FORMER soldier who suffered with post traumatic stress disorder has told how the Prince’s Trust helped to change his life.

Eyan Maloney, from Sheffield, joined the Army after leaving school aged 16 with no GCSEs. He had to leave for medical reasons and was unemployed for seven years.

He was able to get back on his feet through support from the Prince’s Trust’s enterprise programme which gave him a loan and business mentor to set up his own locksmith firm.

The 30-year-old said: “My life has totally changed for the better now and I can’t thank the trust enough for their support.”