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Posted on Aug 25 2022 by Fiona Bailey

Students who have not received the GCSE results they had hoped for are being urged to remember the “power of the word yet” by the Headteacher at St Andrew’s Healthcare.

Cheryl Smith, who oversees the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) College, feels very strongly about not putting exams at the centre of everything as it can increase pressure for the young person.

Her approach to managing young people ahead of exams has been printed today in the further education publication FE News and also in the Chronicle and Echo as a column.

Cheryl said: “As many celebrate their grades, there will also be those that may not have achieved what they wanted and who may feel like they have failed. It’s important for parents, guardians and teachers to help young people put things in perspective and not to dwell too much on seeing poor exam success as a failure.

“Exam results today don’t need to define the rest of their lives. As a famous quote by American psychologist Robert Sternberg says, “Success in life does not necessarily originate with academic success”. I agree.”

With news outlets focussing on results and showing young people receiving their grades live on air – usually getting top marks, it is little wonder that pressure is ramped up to an all-time high.

Cheryl said: “Our team at the CAMHS College encourage the students to focus on other significant milestones within education, so there is less emphasis on exam success.  

“As part of our education, we measure our students’ successes by also focusing on kindness, resilience, compassion, integrity and effort. It’s not all about outcomes and measuring up to a societal expectation that are important to us, and celebrating the other stuff are equally, if not more important.”

Cheryl also thinks language is hugely important when it comes to promoting a healthy approach to exam results and what might be perceived as poor performance.  

She said: “Another key element is around the language that is used in schools. My team talk about the power of “yet”. It may only be a small word, but it has huge meaning for young people on the verge of giving it all up. Parents and teachers just need to instil the mantra from “I can’t do it” to “I can’t do it ….yet.”

As young people up and down the country finally receive their grades, there are going to be many who are thrilled with their results. But, there will also be some students who feel very upset, frustrated and low about what they received.

Cheryl however like to remind her students about a famous quote she often uses.

“When we know students feel defeated, I tell them this Winston Churchill saying: ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts’.”

Posted on Aug 25 2022 by Fiona Bailey