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Thousands of teens and parents were anxious, excited, relieved and nervous today as the kids received the results of two years of work.

But are GCSEs such an important milestone??

I personally don’t think they are a big deal, they rarely feature on a CV beyond the age of 20, quickly superseded by real work experience.

I see parents and the school getting really stressed about exams and this stress is passed on to our kids. Some days my daughter would come home panicking, worrying she hasn’t done enough, and I’d say “relax it’s just another exam!!” Perhaps I’m more chilled out because I know my daughter isn’t interested in becoming an astronaut or a doctor. I’m shocked by how many parents in my generation are still pushing the set path onto their children: get good grades, do a sensible degree, get a stable career in finance or consultancy.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in the value of education, but education alone doesn’t define you.

My siblings and I were brought up in a third world country where the standard of education was much lower than the UK, so when we immigrated as adults, it was our ambition and resilience as much as our qualifications that helped us all become successful professionals.

When I was looking for my first job, consultancy work seemed to be the definition of success so when an opportunity came up I jumped at the chance. I absolutely hated it. I learnt a lot but most of it was how to stay within limits, adhere to process, and that creativity gets you in trouble. It wasn’t right for me, but the immigrant in me really appreciated having a good job so I stuck with it longer than I should have. It took me years of self-development to find the confidence to speak my mind and show my creative personality after being taught to just follow procedure for so long. That’s why seeing young kids and their parents aspiring for such traditional careers so early makes me really sad.

This generation have far more opportunities than we did, but many parents don’t understand the range of new careers so tend to focus on what they do know which is grades. Last year there were 2.2 million (+63%) more small businesses and start-ups in the UK than 10 years ago. 8 years ago we couldn’t even comprehend what a social media manager does. Five years ago none of us knew what an influencer was. These are now real careers with huge prospects, and who knows what opportunities the next five years will bring.

I used to worry more about grades but since I launched my start-up, VeeLoop, my approach has totally changed. What I’m obsessed with teaching my children now is resilience, because it’s the one thing all the people I look up to have in common. I teach them to pick themselves up and try again. I teach them its ok to fail because that’s when they learn and next time they’ll succeed. Whatever grades they get, I want to inspire them to do what they are passionate about. And of course never give up.

Randa Bennett

August 28, 2019, 19:08 pm

I'm glad you found it useful

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Randa Bennett

August 28, 2019, 19:08 pm

Thank you for your kind comments Raghad. Lets keep talking about and it will hopefully change with time

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Siobhan

August 26, 2019, 14:08 pm

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August 25, 2019, 18:08 pm

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Raghed Musleh

August 23, 2019, 08:08 am

Very nice Randa. You're such a strong woman, I totally agree with you. Its a heartbreaking to see all these young teens so anxious and full of doubts about the future.

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