Striking the balance between stress and success

This week I read a BBC article that really struck a chord. Taking a closer look into the pros and cons of the high-stake tests driving the education system in England, the article calls for the implementation of a new curriculum that reduces the “unnecessary stress” on pupils and teachers.

It’s a great read, challenging conventional success-measurement and suggesting that placing such extreme pressure on young people to succeed in subjects they might not naturally excel in, can often be at the expense of other subjects like science, humanities and the arts.

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School can be the most wonderful place – filled with opportunities to learn, grow and have fun with peers – but it also has the potential to be damaging. I was very fortunate; I loved school, had great teachers and brilliant friends. I worked hard, enjoyed the variety of subjects and was encouraged to thrive in both academia and my sporting ability.

I wasn’t top of the class and I rarely got the highest results, but I felt supported and enjoyed learning – regardless of how good at a subject I was or not. I now have two children of my own, and can only hope that their experience of school and learning is just as positive as my own.

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Through my work at Big Change, I have seen first hand the importance of instilling confidence in young people, encouraging their passions and providing opportunities that allow them to thrive in life.

While I am by no means suggesting that assessment and performance are unimportant – or that traditional subjects should take a back seat – it’s imperative we cater for and support young people as individuals with varying strengths and weaknesses. No child should be made to feel inadequate or like a failure.

You can read the full article here – I would love to hear your thoughts below.

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