'Not defined by results' - Bishop Simon writes to exam result students

Writing before today's annoucement that teacher grades will be used for A Level and GCSE results, Bishop Simon, as Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education, wrote a message of support and encouragement to all students who have, or are yet to receive results, their families and teachers.

There is still much wisdom and comfort to be found in his letter.

"Some students have or will get what they worked for and can take real satisfaction in the weeks that lie ahead before moving on to further or higher education.  Others, far more than usual, are aggrieved by the outcomes and feel judged by algorithm. 

"There will be feelings of powerlessness, anger and fear.  And the anxiety is that all the plans made for particular futures have evaporated like summer rain."

He continued by reminding adults to support the young people they know affected by this situation, by first acknowledging the young person's feelings:

"The place to start is for us to feel the sadness of those who feel their hopes have been crushed.  As we walk and pray alongside worried students, we will sense their rhythms and also bring some wisdom to the table that goes beyond cliché because we’re inhabiting their emotions."

He encourages all students, whether they have received the results they hoped for or not, to remember they are not defined by results:

"And to all young people we say it again: You are not defined by algorithm or real exam results.  God loves you with an everlasting love.  He has made you uniquely and gifted you specifically.  You do not need to prove your worth.  Your value is priceless to him."     

 

Read Bishop Simon's message in full below or download it here

 

The road not travelled

August is traditionally a dozy month of sun cream and novels, but for students and parents waiting for exam results it has always felt like a slow release tension.  And none more so than this year, where outcomes were so unknown.

Some students have or will get what they worked for and can take real satisfaction in the weeks that lie ahead before moving on to further or higher education.  Others, far more than usual, are aggrieved by the outcomes and feel judged by algorithm. 

There will be feelings of powerlessness, anger and fear.  And the anxiety is that all the plans made for particular futures have evaporated like summer rain.

Adults can easily forget how it feels to be starting out, especially in an era that demands such perfection in its young people.  We’ve all resorted to cliché in trying to soothe childhood crises: plenty more fish in the sea, no use crying over spilt milk, and so on. 

So the place to start is for us to feel the sadness of those who feel their hopes have been crushed.  As we walk and pray alongside worried students, we will sense their rhythms and also bring some wisdom to the table that goes beyond cliché because we’re inhabiting their emotions.

We are so pleased for those students who have done well, and pray God’s blessings on their future.

We pray for those who feel their plans have been torn up in unsatisfactory ways and who will not be successful in finding redress, that the road not travelled would not define you and that the friends you find, the learning you make and the roles you obtain will be a source of deep joy in time.

And to all young people we say it again: You are not defined by algorithm or real exam results.  God loves you with an everlasting love.  He has made you uniquely and gifted you specifically.  You do not need to prove your worth.  Your value is priceless to him.        

Finally, to those teachers, support staff and students returning to school in September, thank you for your service and your creativity.  We realise it’s going to be strange and unsettling to start with, but know you will forge something between you that sets another generation on its way for good in this world.

With love from Bishop Simon

 

God of our future,

may your enfolding love dissolve the anxiety and fear

that some students feel today.

May they find resolution, peace, and hope in the uncertain weeks ahead

and know, with those excited by what lies ahead,

your good purpose for their lives;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.




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