Star comment: Exams are not the be-all and end-all

By Peter Madeley | Opinions | Published:

The release of this year's A-level results on Thursday will mean unbridled joy for some and despair for others.

And while achieving decent grades can undoubtedly help students to progress through their education, it is worth remembering that it is not the end of the world if your results are not as good as you had hoped.

And while more than 80 per cent of young people experience high stress levels as they await their results, according to a new survey, it is worth noting that a third of Brits aged over 30 say they’ve never been quizzed about their results during a job interview.

These days there are numerous options available for people to continue their development without having to rely on their A-level results.

Apprenticeships and other vocational courses have grown in popularity in recent years, as many employers prioritise workplace experience over educational achievement.

But for those who are intent on going to university there are a mind-boggling array of courses available, some of which appear to beggar belief at first glance.

For example, Plymouth University is offering anyone with a pair of D grades the chance to study for a degree in surfing, and Nottingham Trent University has a course in horse behaviour, which sounds like it might be a bit of a mare.

Plumpton College offers a sure to be popular course in wine making, while a C and a D could send you down the fairway to a place on Myerscough College's golf management studies degree.

And fans of marionettes may well be pleased as Punch with the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama's puppetry design course.


The variety of options available really is quite bewildering, but it is important that students do not end up doing a course just for the sake of going to university.

A course in baking – available at London's South Bank University – is valuable only to people who are interested in forging a career in it. You can be sure that dairy herding is a most valuable course, but only for those with genuine ambitions to go into farming.

Students should always aim to get on a course in an area they are passionate about, particularly in this day and age when a few years at university can cost a small fortune.

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.


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