MANY local families (including the Perry household!) will have been anxiously awaiting A-Level and GCSE exam results these last two weeks. I so hope that all the hard work that our young people put in over the last few months will have paid off and that everyone will be able to move forward as they have planned.

As many will know, in response to concerns about the academic rigour of school exams, the previous Conservative government reformed GCSEs and A-Levels to better prepare young people. The new national curriculum and reformed tests and qualifications are designed to ensure that students receive the rounded, knowledge-rich education that they need. As a result of these changes, and our wider school reforms, there are now 1.9 million more children in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools than in 2010, representing 86 per cent of pupils compared to 66 per cent in 2010.

A-Levels have been reformed to improve students’ readiness for the demands of higher education, and an AS Level is now a stand-alone qualification, so a student studying for three A-Levels and no AS levels will have no public exams at the end of Year 12, allowing more time for teaching and deeper study. And we are now starting to see the benefits, with the A-Level results this year showing the number of pupils achieving the top grades up slightly, while the number of pass grades down slightly.

Alongside this, GCSEs have been reformed to be more rigorous, matching expectations in countries with the highest performing education systems, and have a new grading scale from 9 to 1, with 9 the highest grade.

I was delighted to see some fantastic individual and collective results across the Devizes constituency, with young people heading off to take up a range of interesting jobs, apprenticeships and further study. So I think we can safely say that young people today are working at the highest level, and it is not only thanks to reforms to the curriculum that standards in schools are rising, but also to the hard work of teachers. Thank you and good luck to all!

One area where young people always seem to excel is in digital and social media and if you’re feeling slightly left behind then why not go to Google’s Digital Garage at Wiltshire Museum today from 10am to 4pm.There will be free advice and coaching on digital skills to help people grow their businesses, career and confidence.

More information is at