Views on the work of the Sutton Trust

Nigel Ford's picture
In a recent newspaper article the Sutton Trust advocates that GCSEs should be taken at 14 so that pupils get more choice and time to settle for either vocational, technical or academic studies. For me one of the problems with that idea is that for students taking the academic route, the next stage would A'levels at 16 and then university when everybody knows that university life is geared for young adults rather than 16/17 year olds.

But my broader point is although the Sutton Trust does excellent work in helping disadvantaged, clever youngsters achieve their potential through a range of schemes, projects and bursaries their focus does seem to be on the very bright individuals sometimes taking them away from their environment and leaving less able pupils behind.

My youngest daughter was only average ability at school and with my help managed to pass 5 grade C GCSEs, she was never destined to be a high flier. Unlike her elder siblings, who probably had the potential, there would never have been an exclusive private or grammar school place even if she or her parents had wanted it. When she went to 6th form college she did a vocational course (and many required 5 good GCSEs) rather than A'levels.

I just wondered what charitable help there is for the more average pupil who may struggle to get the benchmark 5 GCSE passes or isn't a top setter and whether the Sutton Trust could do more to assist these pupils achieve their wider objectives.
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