'The school shouldn’t have to apologise to over dramatic parents' - Gazette readers react to South Shields headteacher's controversial exam letter

A controversial letter sent by a South Shields school ahead of exam season has been slammed by some parents while others say it 'is how the real world works'.

Saturday, 18th May 2019, 2:30 pm
St Wilfrid's RC College sent a letter to students

St Wilfrid's RC College sent a letter to students telling them their exam results could play a 'key role' in the future house they live in, car they drive and holidays they can afford.

The letter, which was sent by executive headteacher Brendan Tapping along with student revision guides, reads: "Examinations are a key part of our education system. It is important that you work hard to achieve your potential.

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"Your level of success in National examinations will probably have a key role to play in the type of home you live in, car you drive and holidays you can afford."

Some parents have slammed the letter saying it promotes consumerist values like driving a nice car and nice holidays as the goals which make you successful.

While others have come to the defense of the school saying the letter is an attempt to get students to realise the importance of 'putting in the hard work and effort to achieve success in life'.

Here is what you had to say about the issue on the Shields Gazette Facebook page:

Curtis Taylor said: "The only thing that influences what car you drive or where you go on holiday is how hard you work towards achieving your own goal in life! Work hard and see the results for yourself. My GCSE results weren’t great but I’m now a successful business owner and work hard for what I want. If you truly want something work hard for it!"

Gillian McConway Moralessaid: "I appreciate all comments here but I do feel the letter is missing a key point. I encourage my kids to do their best and that is all I ask. I worked hard and failed them all. I went on to take other courses etc and certainly have not failed in life. Encourage kids to work for what they want but be proud of who they are no matter what. Success is also about being confident in your strengths and not feeling like a failure."

Elisa Clark said: "Material things shouldn’t be what strives children to try hard. It’s sending out a message I didn’t think this schools ethos was about."

Stephen Wilson said: "I think the pressures put on young children during exams are high enough already. You have children doing GCSEs all the way down to 11 year olds sitting their SATS suffering from anxiety and stress so a headteacher telling children if they want a nice car and holidays or a mortgage its hugely important to knuckle down and revise. It doesnt always work like that. I left school with 1 GCSE and earn £40,000 a year. I have friends left with 8 plus who are in and out of work on the national minimum wage."

Vicki Hall said: "My son attends this school, this letter (although not very well worded I will agree) is simply taken by me as an attempt to get children to realise the importance of putting in the hard work and effort to achieve success in life. That is not a bad lesson for any child to learn, this is how the real world works."

Steven Lomas said: "Better to tell kids the truth and encourage them to work hard to get the good things in life than letting them believe anything will be handed to them on a plate by doing sweet nothing which is what I fear is happening in some cases. The school shouldn’t have to apologise to over dramatic parents."

Margaret Hines said: "My son attended St. Wilfrid’s and I would not have been happy to receive this letter. Education should not be all about passing exams, our country fails children by putting unnecessary pressure on them, we need to educate our children about the broader aspects of life not just how to get a C or above in an exam."

Regina McDole said: "For the most part though they are telling the truth, in modern society success is derived from material possessions. Better exam results will open up more lucrative choices. I'm fascinated to see what will happen to many in this generation who don't believe that success comes from hard work."

Mandy Cairns said: "Nobody is denying the fact that students need to work hard to become successful in life nor expecting things to be handed to them, but the fact is that not all kids are 'academic' or do well in exams for various reasons, but this does not mean that they don't have potential. That one sentence is worded terribly, and I can see how it could be very discouraging to some students, although I don't think that was the intention."

Paul Fletch said: "It’s a fact that how much you earn equates to how much you can afford to have - many work very hard for very little - but remember - some of the worlds richest people (eg. Richard Branson) did not do well in school - it’s about attitude and motivation. "

Sarah Evnomia Wickham Kapranos said: "There will be many young people who simply cannot achieve high grades for various reasons so the message to them is they are unlikely to be successful in life. How about recognising the importance of young people leaving school as confident, resilient, determined and good young adults which will equip them for life, after trying their very best at school."