Be­yond ex­ams, learn­ing builds es­sen­tial skills

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - COMMUNITY - Ch­eryl Gil­lan MP for Che­sham & Amer­sham

FAM­I­LIES have been pre­par­ing for the re­turn to school and I have also been putting some school visit dates in my di­ary for the new school year. Vis­it­ing schools in my con­stituency is some­thing I ap­pre­ci­ate very much and I en­joy the chance to talk to pupils, teach­ers and other staff, as well as to school gover­nors and par­ents.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to ev­ery­one who has en­joyed suc­cess in their ex­ams, in­clud­ing A lev­els and GCSEs this year, to­gether with all those who have sup­ported those pupils, both in the run-up to the ex­ams and then dur­ing the wait for the re­sults!

Dur­ing the year young peo­ple are go­ing to be think­ing hard about what sub­jects they want to study and, if asked for my ad­vice, I al­ways say, ‘Don’t for­get the ba­sics – English and maths.’These might not be your first choice, your best sub­ject, or they could be ones where you strug­gle to get by. The thought of de­vel­op­ing skills which are at­trac­tive to em­ploy­ers may not seem par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant, but these sub­jects will help the in­di­vid­ual with ev­ery­day life as well as fu­ture em­ploy­ment. These are skills which are needed just to get by, whether it is writ­ing an email, or work­ing out the weekly house­hold bud­get.

The GCSE re­sults an­nounced this Au­gust demon­strated that more pupils than ever be­fore are achiev­ing good GCSEs in English and math­e­mat­ics. Those GCSEs give peo­ple the widest range of op­tions later on in their life.

STEM sub­jects (Science, Tech­nol­ogy, En­gi­neer­ing, Math­e­mat­ics) are now at­tract­ing larger in­ter­est. The num­ber of pupils tak­ing these sub­jects has risen by more than 78,000 since 2014. En­tries for girls in STEM sub­jects at GCSE have risen by 30,000 since last year, with 14,000 en­tries for maths.

Nor is it too late if stu­dents don’t ob­tain a pass at C level in these cru­cial sub­jects by the time that they are six­teen. En­tries in maths for 17 year olds are up by 30 per cent and English by 23 per cent. Con­grat­u­la­tions to the stu­dents who do per­sist with sub­jects that don’t come smoothly to them. It shows real ap­pli­ca­tion and de­ter­mi­na­tion and my con­grat­u­la­tions to all who have passed this year.

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