YOUNG people today are under more pressure than ever, that’s the view of the principal of the Sixth Form College, Solihull.
Paul Ashdown was speaking to the Solihull News, on the day that almost 900 of his students collected their A level results.
“There’s an amazing amount of pressure being placed on young people, more than any other time previously,” he said.
“There’s a lot of expectations and they want the good grades to get to university and be noticed in the jobs’ market.”
The pass rate has risen for the 29th consecutive year, though the proportion of As and A*s has actually plateaued.
Mr Ashdown, who took over as principal in 2009, dismissed claims that qualifications had got easier over the years.
“I think they are very challenging courses, though they’re obviously different from what was taken in the past.
“Most are a mix of coursework and exams, but I think that’s appropriate, because it teaches the students a range of skills.
“A Levels have lasted the distance and they’re very flexible, I’m confident they can meet the needs of the modern world.”
When the college’s A level and BTEC students are grouped together, nearly 1000 sixth-formers have applied to university.
Mr Ashdown said that despite the squeeze for places, the majority of students had got the grades they needed.
And he also revealed that the increase in tuition fees, coming into force next year, had not dampened enthusiasm for higher-education.
“In terms of next year, at the moment we’ve had more students register for university applications than ever before.
“It’s early days, but at the moment the fees don’t seem to have reduced the number who want to take a degree.”