This August saw a new first for our family. With our eldest child leaving school back in June, we had another new experience on the horizon, GCSE Results Day.
Thinking back to my own time at school, Results Day hadn’t seemed like such a big deal. Whilst not an A* student, I wasn’t awful where school was concerned, and was fairly confident that I would pass the majority of my subjects. On the day, I went to the school, collected an envelope with my results in, and left. There was no ceremony, no celebration, I don’t think I even spoke to anyone. I opened my results as I left the school, was pretty pleased with most of my results, a little disappointed with a few others, and that was about it. I shared my results with a few close family members and that was it. High School over, just like that. I was now free to get on with my life. There was no pressure to have specific results, or get in to a specific college. I could get a job, go to college, start an apprenticeship or simply do nothing if I so wished (I actually went on to do an NVQ whilst working with the Charity, Friends of the Earth). Life was pretty simple.
Fast forward 18 years and I found myself in a very different position, with a very different attitude towards GCSE Results Day, as a Parent.
Our Eldest is part of the first year for which continuing in education or training is now compulsory until the age of 18. No just leaving school and doing nothing for him (not that he’d have been allowed to do that anyway!). He HAD to pick a College or Apprenticeship. On top of this, an A-C Grade in English and Maths was required for him to formally complete High School. If he didn’t achieve those grades he would have to re-sit those exams until he did get the required grades. Already the pressure was mounting. But it didn’t end there. Our local High School where our three eldest children currently attend, has a Sixth Form College attached to it offering a wide range of courses. They offered the courses he was looking to do so he made the decision to apply to stay on and finish his studies there. The only catch was that they had Pass requirements of a minimum of 5 A-C Grades.
Now our Eldest is not the most studious of children, but he had attended almost every single revision session the school had held over their Final Year. He had stayed late most evenings, often finishing school at 6pm, gone in almost every weekend, often Saturday’s and Sunday’s, and had barely had any time off all year with the school having them in for extra revision sessions during the school holidays. His Mock Exam Results were fairly promising with him predicted more than the required grades for Sixth Form, all except for Maths…..he had been predicted a C, but had gotten a D in his Mocks. Intense revision had ensued, but we were all nervous.
By August, the Exams themselves were already feeling like a distant memory, but the nerves were kicking in, for us as much as him.
Results Day arrived.
He insisted on going alone to collect his results. Hubby and I sat at home, waiting, more nervous than we’d ever been when it came to getting our own results. As a new parent, you often think about your children starting school, imagining how cute they’ll look in their little uniforms, you seldom think ahead enough to prepare yourselves for them finishing school. But yet, here we are, the time has come, the results are in, his text message has arrived……………
4 x B’s, 4 x C’s, and passes in his EDCL (that’s ICT to you and me) & BTEC courses. Yep, far more than the required 5 x A-C’s, including MATHS!
The relief was immense, for all of us.
At school, he congratulated with friends and started the formal acceptance of his Sixth Form place offer (still needing to call home to ask Mum to help him fill in the forms, he’s not quite done needing me yet!).
When he returned home, it was time to celebrate. Celebrate not only his good results, but a celebration for us as parents too, we had successfully got our first child through school! 🎉
Of course, like any occasion round here, this called for cake. Optimistically hoping for good results I had ordered this fabulous personalised Union Jack Cake from Party Pieces a few days earlier (it was delicious 😋).
I had picked up a card & ‘Congratulations’ Candles from Sainsbury’s the week before, and ordered these brilliant personalised chocolates from Morse Toad in advance too, just to add those special touches.
The day itself turned into one huge celebration for the whole family, it’s a day that none of us will forget, and isn’t that how it should be?! After all, it’s a big step, leaving behind your compulsory school years and moving forward with your own education and career choices.
As parents, there are many firsts, each special in its own way, and we will continue to embrace and celebrate each one.
(The items featured in this post were purchase by us for our own use, we were not compensated in any way for this post. All thoughts and opinions are our own).