This is the time of year when most children go through the annual stress of either assessments or exams. And some time over the summer you’ll either receive a school report or grades. How do you feel when you look at them? Relieved? Proud? Anxious?

I see many children whose parents are anxious about them because of their scores. This of course makes their child anxious and unhappy.

I am helping a y11 girl currently with her GCSE maths and she very much reminds me of my own daughter. I wish she could se a few years into the future to know that, although GCSEs feel super important now, they won’t necessarily determine her future because she has so many other skills and attributes that are not tested.

So what are scores all about?

Is it useful to know where each child is in terms of their learning and development? 

Yes, of course it is. It’s important to know roughly what most children do at which age just so that we can be aware of any deviation. (Deviation from what’s considered the norm is a topic for another blog.) But should we become anxious if our child doesn’t follow that pattern? And should we be putting in more of what our child is not so good at?

My own daughter has always been very good at dancing and acting, and artistic subjects in general. She was not the slightest bit interested in science, geography, history, modern languages etc. Yet these were the subjects that were regularly tested at school. She never did as well as she hoped and we regularly had conversations about what she truly loved. She’s 24 now, and with hindsight she has some perspective on learning and interests. Being great at geography or science would not have helped her in her professional acting/singing/dancing career.

But it’s more than that. It’s more than just the subjects a child can study.

Many successful people have outstanding qualities or soft skills that simply cannot be measured. A few years ago I discovered Roger James Hamilton’s Wealth Dynamics. It’s a simple online quiz that works out your personality type. There are other systems that do this, but I love this one. It gives you real insight into the way you work best and your zone of genius. I’ve never done this quiz with children, but maybe I should, as it would give children such an understanding into what and how they are great at.

It could be:

Public speaking


Supporting others

Brokering deals

Big picture thinking

The nuts and bolts detail of a plan

So, are scores important? 


It depends what we use those scores for. Are they useful or do they make us feel anxious?

And always remember the things that are not tested that your children are great at.

Have a mooch through the other articles on this page and you’ll find my musings on all other things learning.