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Salute young people who have risen to the classroom challenge

PUBLISHED: 11:53 26 August 2009 | UPDATED: 16:23 07 September 2010

YOUNG PEOPLE are seldom given the credit they deserve, even when it comes to achieving academic excellence. The release of exam results has now become a predictable ritual in which the government accentuates the positive while critics complain that the re

YOUNG PEOPLE are seldom given the credit they deserve, even when it comes to achieving academic excellence. The release of exam results has now become a predictable ritual in which the government accentuates the positive while critics complain that the results are improving nationally only because the tests are getting easier.

Try telling that to the thousands of students in this area who have worked so industriously to achieve high grades and put themselves on course for university places and promising futures in the adult world. That world beyond school is increasingly competitive and young people work hard in their classrooms because they realise that if they do not, they will soon be left behind by those who do - and are then likely to spend the rest of their lives playing catch-up.

There is no doubt that education standards have improved. This is in part due to technical innovation putting a wealth of facts and information at every pupil's fingertips at the press of a button, while making it easier for young people to electronically access the kind of teaching support that was only available to the wealthiest in times past.

Everything is faster and more democratic in today's internet world, especially where information is concerned, and while we now take technical aids like computers for granted, they save students and teachers alike many hours of study time every week. Their impact should not be underestimated.

But all of this technical innovation would count for very little without the continuing determination of young people to do themselves justice in the classroom.

This year, in places like Camden School for Girls, Channing School, Highgate School, King Alfred, University College, South Hampstead High and Henrietta Barnett, all of them with perfect or near-perfect percentage ratings, our young people have done exceedingly well. And while valid concerns remain about the number of young people who leave school in more deprived areas with only minimal qualifications, this is surely a time to salute the excellence of those who have worked so hard for many years on end to make such a success of their secondary school careers.


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