If GCSEs went badly, there are still plenty of options

Inquisitor: John Humphrys

ZELLA COMPTON: Why does John Humphrys still have a national platform?

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For many teenagers in the Portsmouth area, this is the calm after the storm. For others, this raging tempest is seemingly just the beginning.

GCSE results were released on Thursday and although the national average seems to have dipped slightly, many schools locally have seen improvements.

Great news for the youth and their earning potential, which is in turn reassuring news for the leaky pension pot i.e. our future funds.

The pressure of succeeding in exams still haunts me today, at the tender age of 40.

My parents weren’t particularly pressurising, but it was drilled into me by school and others that if you failed at your GCSEs, your life would be a tumultuous struggle and you’d probably turn out to be a deadbeat.

Age and wisdom teach you otherwise. Of course, I agree that children should be strongly encouraged to apply themselves and really strive for the best they can achieve.

Opening one’s mind to education and external influence is a fundamental chunk of human development.

But some children just aren’t cut out for academia and forcing a slightly square peg into a dodecahedronal (see, I was listening in maths…once) hole is slightly barbaric.

Looking at our motley crew from school, the ones that have gone on to earn the big dollars are the youths that came out with the worst GCSE results, but then applied themselves to vocations that they naturally fitted.

Confident and full of it – fantastic salesman, problem-solving geek – engineer. You get the gist.

Many parents and teenagers will be feeling disappointed, confused and slightly disorientated – no-one likes to feel like they don’t measure up.

Personally, I think it’s a great time to fail your GCSEs.

There is a glut of other educational choices, apprenticeships and schemes that can help nurture natural ability.

My advice? Relax, take the rest of the summer off to have a good think about your next step.

There’s no hurry. After all, you’ve got 50 years of work ahead of you.