Children need grit and resilience to survive

We don’t just need a generation of box tickers, says Charlie Rigby, Founder of the Challenger Trust

Nicky Morgan has recently stated that simply passing exams and ticking boxes is not practical for those wanting to thrive in the real world, when effort needs to be put into developing the grit and resilience which is vital for young people to thrive. This truly is well said and it is a long time coming.

With too much emphasis being placed on Maths and English, students are graduating from high schools able to pass exams, but lacking the essential skills, such as determination, creativity and responsibility which will give them the ability to truly contribute to society, rather than just someone who has learned the curriculum and ticked the boxes.

Whilst Morgan and many others note that measuring and assessing these traits is more difficult than academic testing, they are far more revealing about a child’s character. This measuring system is far from impossible and The Challenger Trust is working with numerous schools to do exactly this. Our new plans and methods will be able track progress, develop the child, whilst still encouraging young people to want to improve – which ultimately, is the long term goal.

With the labour market becoming more diverse than ever, we need creative, hard working and skilled people, who can get their hands dirty and have the flexibility to deal with any situation. The key subjects such as maths and English are crucial, that’s unquestionable, but in order to drive our country forward, it is essential or our high school and university graduates to be able to fight for themselves and have the grit and determinism to thrive.

For many years, our nation has been led by those living in their ivory towers, with stately homes and private educations, who have no clue about what life is like for the normal person. Why are they qualified to get the best out the next generation? It is my hope that Nicky Morgan’s recent comments will help other schools to take a good look at how they teach their students and hopefully, they can develop not only individuals who can tick the boxes, but more importantly, can thrive in competition and be able to fend for themselves in a hugely competitive world.

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