COLUMN by Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie 

Congratulations to all those young people across Stroud who received A Level, GCSE, T Level, BTEC and vocational qualification results this month.

Pass rates have fallen as the exam system has been moved back to what it was before the pandemic. 

Teacher assessment was necessary and well done by schools but it did lead to some grade inflation.

This means a slight fall overall in the pass rate compared to the Covid years but no-one should worry. They were an excellent set of results. For example, 70.3% of entries achieve a grade 4 or above - up from 2019 (grade C in old money). 

For anyone concerned about their results there is a load of advice, support and the ability to re-sit for those who need to. Just speak to your school or college.

I did not do too well in my exams and so I took a job, and then trained at night school to become a solicitor.

Trust me, as I say every year - not getting the grades you hoped for is not the end of the world.

If college is for you then there are 40 different A Level options to choose from including a high-level apprenticeship. 

For those who have just gained their A Levels university or learning while you work are options.

T Levels too are available for those who want to take a vocational course after their GCSEs. These combine classroom learning, practical skills and workplace experience in a variety of industries. 

Apprenticeships are also a great way to learn the skills for a good quality career. So, as you can see, there is so much more available and employers know that too. 

Many thanks to all the teachers across the Stroud district who have worked so hard to ensure success for pupils.

I have the honour of regularly going to many of our schools and I see the dedication and professionalism of teachers and their enthusiasm to see our young people succeed.

The government continues to invest heavily in education with billions more allocated to the schools budget over the next few years.  

A new special school - Sladewood Academy - is due to open in Stroud this September.

In addition, Thomas Keble School has a new £20 million teaching block following investment from the Government’s School Rebuilding Programme.