The Yorkshire Post says: GCSE lessons for Yorkshire. Exams are only the end of the beginning

Yorkshire's GCSE results continue to improve.
Yorkshire's GCSE results continue to improve.
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THERE are number of significant lessons that need to be learned from this year’s GCSE results if successful students are to maximise their skills in their chosen careers.

The first is that these results continue Yorkshire’s upwards trajectory. More pupils than ever before are meeting national benchmarks – and they, and their teachers, should be congratulated for their application and achievements.

Yet, while the introduction of new grading criteria has, understandably, caused significant angst, Education Minister Nick Gibb is right when he says the system needs to continue to evolve if students here are to keep pace with their international competitors.

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The second is that Yorkshire’s results, much improved in the past decade, still lag behind the rest of the country – and this will have a detrimental impact on the area’s future economic potential unless Ministers make available the level of investment that London’s schools received when they were deemed to be failing pupils.

Too many youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds here are not receiving sufficient support – and the Northern Powerhouse Partnership’s reform proposals need to be implemented. Those schools struggling, for whatever reasons, to conform to national standards need to be able to recruit, and retain, the very best teachers – or they will continue to languish towards the bottom of league tables.

And finally there’s the Government’s approach to careers. A rite of passage, GCSEs should not be
viewed as the beginning of the end of a child’s education. Quite the opposite. These exams should be viewed as the end of the beginning – what teenagers do next will be just as fundamental, if not more so, in the longer
term.

Yet, given the importance of careers advice, and the misunderstandings that still exist about degree-level apprenticeship schemes and so on, Ministers need to do their homework on this issue if there’s to be genuine equality of opportunity for all.