The EDP says...Exams are important - but not everything

Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire - Credit: PA

For hundreds of young people across our region, the next few weeks will be a worrying time.

Harleston's Archbishop Sancroft High School headteacher Richard Cranmer with year 11 students during

Harleston's Archbishop Sancroft High School headteacher Richard Cranmer with year 11 students during a science lesson.Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

The GCSE and A-level examinations they will sit during May and June are not only the culmination of years of studying, but also are potentially a passport to university and sixth form places.

And the exams are no less worrying for teachers, who are also judged on students' results and will be hoping their years of guidance and tuition has paid off.

But while no-one would ever wish to suggest exams are not important, schools that focus on them to the exclusion of other things are doing their children a disservice.

Just as much as they need good subject knowledge and skills to pass their tests, they also need the 'softer' social skills and abilities to relate to people that are perhaps just as important to succeeding in life.

Harleston's Archbishop Sancroft High School headteacher Richard Cranmer with year 11 students during

Harleston's Archbishop Sancroft High School headteacher Richard Cranmer with year 11 students during a science lesson.Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher


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As Archbishop Sancroft High School (ASHS) Richard Cranmer has very eloquently explained in today's interview, that is where the debate gets tricky - while soft skills are important, there is no real way of assessing them.

That means one may not get a true picture of a young person's talents - on indeed the standards of a school - from GCSE and A-level grades alone.

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Schools should be held accountable for the results of their students. But they must also be pushed just as hard to develop well-rounded adults, for it is just as important.

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