My View, Leon Riley: Hard work starting for A level and GCSE

Doncaster's Hall Cross pupils with their A level result papers.
Doncaster's Hall Cross pupils with their A level result papers.
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Students and parents from all across our region will be feeling the pressure over the next few weeks.

Young people will be cramming in their final revision before they sit their A-levels.

And their parents will be doing everything they can to support them.

This is while they go through what can only be described one of the toughest tests in education.

There is no doubt about it, A-levels are tough.

And despite the annual furore saying that they are getting easier, they do offer a really in-depth learning experience for those who take the exams.

I love to challenge the naysayers to take theirs again!

Step back two years, though, and we believe that this is when the hard work begins.

Choosing the right A-level course and mix is so important.

Students need to consider not only what they are good at and what they enjoy, but what will lead them into the career they’d like to pursue.

We hear so many stories of students choosing the wrong A-levels and then as a result not enjoying their education.

At New College Pontefract, a sixth form college run by the Trust behind New College Doncaster, a facility which is due to open in September next year, we spend a great deal of time with our students before they start their journey with us to help them to make the right decisions on what they study.

Some students have it all mapped out and know they want to be a PE teacher, lawyer or midwife.

They know what subject they need to study to take the next steps.

Others face this choice feeling bewildered, especially if they don’t know what career path they want to follow.

We see our role as helping and advising them about the different opportunities that different courses offer.

These choices are important building blocks in their education and creating a solid foundation at this stage will help the students to succeed.

Those that choose wisely will be in a better position to succeed two years down the line.

We want to wish all the students across the borough good luck as they face their GCSE and A-Level public exams and say thank you to all of those who are supporting them.

As they develop the building blocks of their education, we too are developing the building blocks for New College Doncaster.

When it opens in September 2017, it will be the town’s only standalone sixth form college for 16- to 19-year-olds.

It will be a dynamic centre for post-16 learning, achievement, aspiration and progression.