Letter from the editor: A tough time to be young


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The past two weeks have been a tough time to be young. First, the youth of Britain was collectively condemned as morally redundant following scenes of rioting and looting on our city streets.

This Thursday, the more academic among the youth of Britain received their A-level results. Did we praise them? Did we reward them with a guaranteed place at university? Did we hell.

Hardly had the shaking fingers of the candidates ripped open the envelope containing their results than the annual debate about whether A-levels were getting easier had begun. Hardly had the candidates assimilated their results and logged on to the Ucas clearing website in the rush to grab a place, than the website crashed. This was despite warnings throughout the past year that the rise in student fees, which takes effect next year, would put huge pressure on the admissions system this year.

The AS candidates, who have another year at school, are still wondering whether the £9,000 price tag will be worth it, given the parlous state of the economy, and the gloomy statistics about graduate unemployment (the highest for a decade, last time I looked).

Surely these teenagers, who have done nothing but think about coursework and revision for the past year or two, deserve better than this? Surely, at the very least, they deserve a website that works?

I have a daughter about to go into her last year at school. My colleague Stefano Hatfield has two girls about to embark on the examination treadmill. I know – because we talk about them all the time at work – how much support we give our children. But perhaps that’s not enough.

Perhaps this is a good time to say to my daughter, in print: “I’m very proud of you.” I feel it’s the least I can do.

Stefano is back on Monday, but in the meantime, have a great weekend!