Today was GCSE Results day, with significant differences brought about by Lockdown.
•Each pupil was given an allotted time to arrive at school, over a period of 5 hours.
•There was little shared excitement as friendship groups arrived hours apart.
•Usually when they collect GCSE results from school we are able to determine how hard a young person has worked over the previous months – but not this time.
•Covid 19 has meant that young people who, in response to their “mock” grades might have got a bit of a shock and in any ordinary year settled down to more rigorous revision did not have that opportunity.
Michael (name changed) is 16 years old, he is a bit of a lad, very bright but also quite lazy. I suspect that in any ordinary year he would have raised his game for the GCSE exams – because he is definitely capable. He would have done some revision and pushed himself in the actual exams – but he did not get that opportunity. As a result his grades, although good, fall far short of the predicted grades that were expected.
I asked Michael how he feels about his grades and his response was a little cavalier / offhand. His best friend had 7 @ 9’s ( A*) and 2@ 8 ( A ) . Based on his success at Primary School, Michael’s target grades were 8’s and 9’s, though we knew that this was probably rather ambitious in some subjects. I suspect he may have been a little disappointed and the subject of results was a little raw. As a foster carer– even more so than with birth children-you learn to read the signals when they are upset.
My mum used to say, “Pick your battles,” With children who have a history of trauma you become attuned. You know that “battles” would be really destructive, so try to ensure your responses are non-confrontational. There needs to be ongoing discussion with Michael, the aim will be to get him to commit to work harder, then to offer support and encouragement. I will revisit the topic in a couple of weeks when the dust has settled – mainly to ask an open question – to listen and to reflect his thoughts back to him.
I reflected, as I watched the 2020 Leavers, leaving school – some of them for the final time – having collected their Leavers hoodie and year book. They really had not marked the end of their Key Stage 4 schooling with the sense of occasion that it deserves as in previous years.
For them there was no achievement assembly, no prom, no opportunity to show what they could do and even results day was a subdued affair. Michael was thrilled, in March 2020 when there was the initial announcement that Y11 would not have to do their GCSE exams, however from that point onwards he was so powerless to change the outcome.
We have talked as a family of how teachers have always told pupils that they must revise hard for the Mock GCSE Exams because they are really important, this year, for the first time they truly were!
Jayne Robbins – A Blogging Foster Carer.