Series following bright teenagers from low-income backgrounds across the UK. This episode features three 13-year-old boys on the cusp of adulthood and facing many uncertainties.
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The expectations for us is that we go to McDonald's
and clean the toilets,
do not get very far and don't do very well.
These six teenagers are exceptionally talented.
They have all been identified as gifted
in at least one subject by their schools...
Maths is like puzzle solving.
I don't know why, but I really enjoy finding answers.
When I'm drawing, I just feel like I'm escaping
everything around me.
..but all are from disadvantaged backgrounds.
My mum does struggle for money.
I think it's going to be £500 for university.
The money is there for those who can push them through the door
but we're not in that category.
Kids living in poverty are half as likely to achieve
the top GCSE grades as their better-off classmates.
Life is not as simple as a linear graph, and it does not go straight.
We will follow these kids over the next three crucial years,
from age 13 until they take their final GCSE exams at 16.
Best of luck today.
You may begin.
They expect me to get the top, top, top grades.
We'll return each year to see the challenges they'll have to overcome,
both at school...
Now, what do you think may be causing these kick-offs and things?
..and at home.
Did you honestly think, when you got them scores,
I was going to sit there and go, "Ah, well..."
No, I did not. That's why I don't tell these things.
At a time when social mobility in the UK is in sharp decline...
I don't want to be in poverty, but neither do a lot of people,
and a lot of people don't have that choice.
We'll find out just how far these kids can really go.
This is where their journey begins.
But it's like giving someone a head start in a race -
it's your job to catch up.
So, up here is science.
Science is one of my favourite lessons.
In year eight, I got a gold award for science.
The school has got these things called high attainers,
and I'm one of them,
and my teachers are always saying,
"You've lots of potential inside of you,"
but I know I need to keep on pushing forward
and I can't let anything stop us.
Ah... A point, excellent.
Right... Pick one for them.
Amino acid. Emma Jo.
KIDS GROAN, TEACHER LAUGHS
Excellent. Right, tie-breaker.
Two team captains, stand there. Tie-breaker.
-Go on, Liam.
-The first person to tell me the answer, OK?
Just shout it.
What is the optimum pH of pepsin?
-LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
Right, team. This one's to Liam's team.
Liam is... You know, he's incredibly bright.
We've done the first, kind of, GCSE test
so obviously it goes from one to nine,
where five would be the new good GCSE,
and he got a nine which is, you know, fantastic.
It's the highest you can get now.
You think about the grammar schools and the private schools,
why should they get all the luck?
If a kid is bright, then they should continue to be bright
and we should be doing everything we can to ensure that they are
making the best possible progress for them.
I've never made puff pastry before.
I've made shortcrust pastry before but never puff pastry,
so this is going to be new.
I would be looking at trying to get it into your hands, Liam,
because if you look at the...
The bit at the bottom was more wet, wasn't it?
The bits around the top weren't.
It's year nine, and the start of GCSEs,
and Liam's already got his future mapped out.
I want to be a chef and, like, open up restaurants internationally.
It's looking really good.
There it is - complete.
My grandad was a chef but he didn't succeed at it,
so he believes that I'm going to fail just like he did,
and I just want to prove to him that I am capable
of achieving my dreams.
Few kids from Walker Tech go on to higher education.
Mr Boyce wants Liam to recognise his academic potential.
Do you see science in your future?
Yeah, like, I want to become a chef
and, like apply the science to cooking.
-I mean, you know, cooking is mostly chemical changes, isn't it?
Did you always have that or is it that
the more you've learned from the science,
the more you want to put it into your cooking?
I found out that I was quite good at science
and I, like, kind of, got interested in it
and then my auntie showed us Heston Blumenthal...
..and he's just an idol of mine.
He's a massive idol of mine.
Everyone keeps on saying I'm like Gordon Ramsay
cos I've got anger or something like that.
-You've got anger?
-I don't see that anger.
You're just normally giggling in the corner.
Obviously, you know, I know your passion for cooking
but if you can put science into that, that's fantastic.
It's about being able to see all the transferable skills
that science gives you.
All they've seen around them is low ambition.
When people ask about what comes out of this area, it's Geordie Shore,
and you ask the kids,
and that's what they know of Newcastle is Geordie Shore,
and it's sad, really, cos they've got, like, John Dobson
and George Stephenson, amazing scientists from this area
that they have no clue about, even though parts
of the school are named after them.
But I think it's a lack of aspiration that possibly
runs in the family and runs in the area.
It's just about getting the likes of Liam,
who I don't think contemplates a science career,
into the mind-set of, "This might be for me."
I live with my mum and my brother, who...
My brother really annoys us, and my mum really loves it
when I get good in tests.
They love the mini pizzas.
What have you got to revise?
It's all about the Germans and the Treaty of Versailles, and it's all
about giving across money and land to the winners, which were Britain,
France and America.
History homework, done.
So is that everything done now?
I told you, no technology today,
because you didn't come off it last night when I said.
-There you go. Enjoy.
Yours is in now, Ryan.
It won't be long.
How much do you normally have in your budget for food a week?
It varies between about £20 and £40,
depending on what bills I've got to pay.
So that's 20 to 40 quid for three of you a week?
Yeah. When I first had Liam and Ryan, I needed things for them,
so I got loans for...to get what I needed,
and then you just rely on the loans,
and getting them back when you need something,
if you haven't got the money, and it just goes on and on and on.
Nicola split from the boys' dad when they were small.
She now works the checkout at a discount store to support them.
I know my mum's working as hard as she can to, like,
get a bit of money for us,
but I just miss, like, seeing her and spending time with her.
She's a bigger role model than she understands, for me -
like, she's one of the biggest role models I've got in my life.
MUM AND RYAN SPEAK INDISTINCTLY
I love looking at my baby photos.
I was such a cute baby.
And I look at ones of, like, my dad and all of that.
Like, he looks so happy feeding us and everything,
and yet he's not even in my life any more
and it just really upsets us.
We don't talk about his dad because I know how angry it makes him.
He physically shakes when we talk about him,
he's that angry with him.
-That means it must be divide.
-Yes, it is divide...
-It's got to be that.
-..because if they're next to each other, it means times...
..so you've got to do the inverse operation to get rid of this.
My brother, like, I always feel like I've got to support him
cos, ever since my dad left,
I feel like I've had to be, like, my brother's dad
when really I've needed that dad there,
and so I just want to make sure that he's cared for.
Add 7, which equals 20,
divided by 5, which equals 4.
Now, have you done simultaneous equations?
I'll write down a sum for you.
Come on, then.
You've got to divide 210 by 7 to find 1Y.
Come on, I'm not writing the answer for you.
Like I said, it works out perfectly.
I'm afraid of failing my family, especially Ryan.
That's really what I'm afraid of failing at.
SEA BIRDS SQUAWK
I'm 13 years old, I'm in year nine,
and we are in Hartlepool
in the north-east of Great Britain...
which isn't that great.
I have been told I never stop thinking, and it's true.
To be honest, I don't know if there's a moment
when I ever stop thinking.
I try to stop thinking and then I'm thinking about stopping thinking.
It's the spring term, and Kian's just decided
his subject choices for GCSE.
I want to be a computer coder, or work in that sort of area.
That's how I am trying to do my subjects -
I'm trying to link them all up for computing, like maths, statistics...
There's just sort of worrying because if you mess up,
you're stuck with it for the next three years.
-You remember when we did factorizing?
Mm-hmm? What can I factor out of these two?
So, what if I really irritate you,
and change one of your numbers to an X?
3 times 5... 3 times 10 equals 30, and that's not 11.
Mm-hmm, but 30 plus 3 is...
And 10X plus 1X?
-Oh, that's handy.
Kian is a fantastic lad.
He is always enthusiastic when he's in the lessons.
As the lesson progresses, he'll be saying,
"Oh, is there not something a bit trickier I could be doing?"
So, you'll put a big puzzle on the board for him,
and I've seen Kian burn through the main material
and then spend an entire hour on some fairly tricky puzzle
that he just enjoys, so, as a math man...
As a maths teacher goes, he's a bit of a dream.
Where Kian might fall down occasionally I would suspect
is possibly when it comes to the exams.
Things aren't going to go smoothly because, as I've found out in life,
that's not how things work,
but you just want to try
and make it as stable as possible
without everything messing up.
He's not here.
This is the year that pressure increases at school.
It's assistant head Laura Ovens' job to ensure that disadvantaged pupils
fulfil their potential.
Kian is within the free school meals group.
Free school meal children know they're free school meal children.
There are certain things like confidence, self-esteem...
They'll know they are free school meals.
There is an element they talk about...
I mean, education-wise, there's been a lot of research that's indicated
that they always in life will never feel that they truly belong.
I don't think I have an equal opportunity
cos of the financial background,
but it's just like giving someone a head start in a race -
it's your job to catch up.
It's that one.
Kian's dad, Gary, is full-time carer for mum, Angela.
The family has to rely on benefits.
He knows things are tight.
He came home with a letter for a school trip,
and he brought it home and he hid it away,
and I found it and I went, "What's the letter?"
He went, "Oh, that's for a school trip,"
and he said, "I know we can't afford it,"
and he said, "so there was no point in showing you."
I said, "Yeah, but you should still show us."
But that's why we want him to succeed at what he's doing now,
so he never has to be in the position where his kid's doing that.
It's a horrible feeling.
They've said to me they're going to try and support me
in college and uni or whatever,
..I don't want them to.
It's cos it'll end up...
It might put them in a worse position.
My dad hasn't ever really talked about that.
He's just like, "OK, you need to go to college and go to university,
"then get a job."
You need to do the homework.
I actually get very little homework.
No, I know you're doing it on the bus before you get in.
Sometimes you need a kick up the arse.
So, over the next two years, if you put that work in,
you'll get, like, top marks in it.
Dad, you know what I'm like.
I will pressure myself to get full marks anyway.
I don't mind that. That's what you want to be aiming for every time.
It's when you slip backwards...
Yeah, but you're always going to slip backwards.
Why do you have to slip backwards?
Because life is not as simple as a linear graph,
and it does not go straight.
He loves baffling me.
He takes great delight in it,
and he keeps trying to get one over on me and he hasn't succeeded yet,
but he does give it a try.
-I think he takes it as a challenge.
-I like it.
And he does, yeah. I like it, mind.
I think he thinks he's the smartest person in the room,
but I think he's basically insecure.
If I could get something to improve over the next couple of years,
I think that would be his confidence.
I like someone looking out for me at times,
and then there are times when it's just frankly irritating.
Like, cos I'll be focused on doing something else
and they'll be like, "Kian, come here.
"Why have you not done your science homework?"
"Because I'm trying to do this English and maths."
It can be quite irritating at times...
..but otherwise, yeah, it feels good.
My mum always tells me,
"Never make the fact that we're not financially stable hold you back."
I think, like, if you really want that A-star,
do what you need to do to get those grades,
so I feel like it's how much you really want to hit that goal.
Jamarley's an academic all-rounder,
but it's in music that he really shines.
I've just always been passionate about my music, and I want to have
a really good grade when I finish my music GCSE, as well.
Jamarley is already facing his first GCSE deadline -
he's got to produce an original composition this year.
Just so I'm clear, you've got your first section done,
-is that right?
OK, so you need your contrasting section.
I mean, I kind of do have a contrasting section with the melody.
Can you show me?
What interval works with harmonies, do you know?
Thirds work really nicely.
Jamarley's got a sort of natural musicality to him.
You know, we're told to, sort of, look out for...
We call them "groovers".
So, if you play a piece of music, for example,
you watch out for the kids
who are kind of going like this,
who are internalising the music so they have that natural sense of
rhythm and pulse and everything,
and he's definitely one of them.
I mean, for kids like him, the sky should be the limit, really.
My mum thinks that I put more time into my music
than I do with any other subject.
She wants me to pass every other subject
with sixes, sevens and eights.
And she has really high, high
gradings she wants me to get.
It really does put pressure on me because of the amount of work,
but, you know, that's me, like, risking my music to make sure
that she gets what she expects.
-Can you pull up your pants?
-I am! They keep falling down!
And in classes we have...
In the core subjects like English, science and maths, we have sets.
So the top set, the middle set and...
-And the bottom set.
-There we go.
So I have been in middle set for the whole of year seven,
the whole of year eight until today, innit?
-What happened today?
I got moved down to the bottom set.
I'm joking. I got moved to the top set.
-What did you...?
So I'll be, like, PE top set, English top set,
science top set, maths middle set.
No, that's good, though!
-I can't... I can't reach my arms...
-No, but that's good, Jamarley!
I want them to have a good job and I want them to grow up, you know,
being good, good gentlemen to society.
To write the story, use the settings, yeah,
from the image below.
I always try to push them to do well in school,
so that they can get good grades,
so that they don't have any limitation for them,
they can go for any job they want to,
so this is why it's very important for him to get good grades.
Renee works full-time as a court security guard.
She's separated from Jamarley's dad,
but he's stayed close at hand, until this year.
My dad's been having immigration problems,
and my dad recently got deported back to Jamaica,
so he's not here right now.
Um... With school, everything is going good.
Like, top set for English and science, which is good.
-This is a good feeling.
Yeah, I know.
My dad used to come to my parents' evenings,
and if I had a football match and I told him,
he would come to them as well.
What I miss the most is the fact he's not here to support me
any more in person.
Yeah, you too. See you soon.
-All right, then. Bye-bye.
-All right. Bye.
When they took him, that's probably when I needed him the most,
to be honest, so hopefully I don't mess up my GCSEs.
My mum wouldn't need to worry as much, because at this point,
I hope I am successful enough to pay my bills and her bills.
I always tell him, it is OK to feel sad for your dad.
It's fine. Feel sad.
But how are we going to deal with this, Jamarley?
I always tell him it's OK for us to be poor.
It's OK, it's fine.
That is what you're born in and this is what you managed to become,
but it's what you do again after that
that makes you a better person.
With everything you do, you always have to try and hope for the best.
You don't always get life the way how you want it,
but, you know, you always hope for the best.
All right, so, I will just read the stage directions
just after the inspector leaves.
He walks straight out...
Jamarley's teachers have helped support him through the upheaval
of his dad's deportation.
Jamarley has incredible potential
to do very, very well in anything that he chooses to put his mind to.
We were all really concerned about how he was going to cope with
everything that was going on at home,
but I think the fact that he wants to prove it to his mum,
I think he wants to support her and make her proud,
is going to push him through having to manage
all of the pressures of home,
all the emotions of dealing with what has happened with Dad.
And we would have fully expected him to have a wobble at some point,
and we still would be completely understanding
if he, all of a sudden, did.
As the year progresses,
teachers are pushing the kids to think more seriously
about where their aspirations lie.
It's such a transitional year, they've really got to start
thinking about what the future is going to be, even though
that seems incredibly far away when you're that age.
It's a bit limbo, kind of thing.
It's odd, though, I mean,
they're 13 and you expect them to think about what they want to do
for the rest of their lives.
There's a higher water concentration
outside the carrot than what there is inside.
So it travels by osmosis
from outside the carrot into the carrot.
Spot on. Spot on.
Mr Boyce is organising a university visit to inspire
his brightest science students.
There's a thing at the university that's giving a taster
of the possibility of going to Newcastle University
and studying medicine or dentistry.
Is it something you might have thought of?
-Or would you like to go just to see what it's about?
-Because I think you're capable.
It has to be... You need to be capable of doing medicine...
-..and you need to actually want to do it.
-Or at least consider it.
-It is a possibility.
Cos I, like... I don't really want to become a doctor or anything.
Right. Enjoy the rest of your day.
I keep thinking of him working in a kitchen in a Wetherspoon's.
It's not that I want to belittle his dream of cooking,
I just think he is not even open
to the opportunity of what he could be doing.
Do you have any homework?
Good idea, homework!
-Is that it?
You are certain you haven't got any science?
Good, because we wouldn't want you to get a C3 for lying, would we?
So, our teacher thinks that we have a lack of ambition.
Yeah, but you know what you want to do when you're older?
-I've known since I was ten.
-I wanted to be a doctor when I was your age.
Because I remember when we were in high school,
we saw the careers person,
and I think I was just a bit too ambitious in wanting to be a doctor!
The highest grade I got was a D, so...
Yeah, but could you have not just went to college?
And re-done them? And got higher grades?
Possibly, but it would have taken a lot longer and a lot of hard work.
It takes four years' training to be a doctor.
-And the rest.
-And the rest.
It's a lot of hard work to become a doctor.
I didn't think I would get there, so I knocked that one on the head.
If you have got the ambition to be something and you are willing
to put in all the hard work, then I don't think there is
such a thing as too ambitious.
Liam is determined to do well,
but it's getting harder to focus at home.
Obviously, I am getting older
and I kind of want my own privacy
and I want my own room where I can study
and where I don't have to share my things
with my brother and where I can actually just
have some space without worrying Ryan is going to come in
and start an argument with us or something like that.
No, no, no.
That went across there. No, Ryan.
It doesn't have to go past halfway,
it just has to come back when you're halfway.
-My brother angers us,
because he always gets away with anything
and I'm always the one who gets the immediate blame, like.
..to get that last ball, so actually, I do get a point...
'I just don't like it when I get angry and frustrated.'
I don't really feel like I'm a role model to Ryan.
I kind of feel like I'm letting him down,
because I'm arguing with him and showing him what not to do.
You are out of more than 400 students
and 12 of you have been chosen,
so I need you to understand the importance of that.
Kian has been selected for Brilliant Club,
A national scheme to encourage bright state school pupils
to aim for top universities.
You are going to have a series of meetings which we call tutorials,
you will meet your PhD tutor
and you are going to look at, basically,
can you bring back dinosaurs?
So it's going to be quite interesting for you.
You will be graded at the end of the course, exactly like
university students do on a degree,
so you'll get a first, or a 2:1 or a 2:2 and so on,
so I want to see everyone doing really well on this.
Miss pulled me over in the middle of class.
I believe it was because she thinks I have a chance to succeed.
There are certain people who are wanting to do Brilliant Club,
but there are certain people who aren't.
I am one of the latter.
I am not wanting to go into science, I'm awful at science.
It is that fear factor still and his confidence and self-esteem
which is going to hold him back, if anything.
That fear that if I put myself out there and fail, what do I do then?
Because I think it's natural to be scared as a student,
but when you don't know anyone who has been to university
and haven't been yourself and don't have any links or network
and all the things you fall back on,
that fear can be a little bit more amplified.
The first Brilliant Club tutorial takes place at Durham University.
So, Kian, if you want to go first. Choose any one.
There are some over here as well.
All right, awesome, you've gone for that one.
Is this from the cave bear?
Yeah, spot on. Do you know what part of the cave bear it is?
-Absolutely, that's the mandible.
So, they're a different species
from the bears you get in Europe today...
Kian has to compile research then work independently
to produce a mini thesis on bringing back the dinosaurs.
This is Smilodon. Probably the most famous sabre-tooth.
This cast is from a famous site called La Brea.
Anyone heard of that?
Do you feel more inspired?
-Do you feel like you're clearer
-on what you'll have to do as you get towards the end?
OK, and your assignment.
Got your title?
But what did we say about sometimes you have to learn about things
that isn't your natural flair, to see if it's for you or not?
Because otherwise what you'll end up doing is selecting something
and not really knowing what else is out there that you can explore.
You have to live up to your potential, otherwise
-you will always sit there and go, what if?
-I have none.
Of course you have potential.
Teachers tell you that. We tell you that.
If they didn't think you had potential, they wouldn't say it.
-Do you feel badgered?
When I left school, I used to think, "I don't need GCSEs."
I was expecting to go on the docks with the old fella.
And then Maggie Thatcher came in power and that knackered that up,
because she killed the docks and the mines.
She killed pretty much every industry in the North.
And then it was just a case of,
get out of school as quick as you can and try and get a job.
And I don't want that for him. Not at all.
I want him to have the pick of the job he wants,
whether that's here, abroad,
don't care, as long as it's what he wants to do and he's not struggling.
And then if he comes back and gets his old dad a pint now and again,
that's not too bad either.
Come on, son.
I've been told a lot I have potential,
and, well, OK, I've heard this multiple times.
What have I got potential for, what can I use it for?
What is my potential?
And they're just like, "Well, that's for you to figure out."
I may like figuring out things, but I don't like figuring out that sort of thing.
It's too big a scale for me.
I know I have potential to do this,
I am just trying to figure out how I do this.
Can you please help me with that,
instead of telling me I have potential to do it,
and letting me get on with it?
And now I'm sick of hearing that very word.
It's gone on and on and I've heard it so many times, I want to erase it
from the dictionary and make a different one.
Well, not really make a different one, but just erase it.
I know what I'm going to do. You feel this wind?
You know how it's going in that direction?
I'm going to go wherever it takes me.
In London, Jamarley and his fellow GCSE music students should be
well advanced with their composition pieces.
The music department are just always constantly playing music,
every single break, just music, music, music.
That's just us, to be honest.
# You waited for him on the strip
# Oh, but no arrival
# Gave it up for him But only just to let you down... #
I go into school and I play music during break,
after school, but if it's something to do with my composition,
I will be honest, sorry, Miss Ryan, I haven't touched it.
Miss Ryan's going to be mad,
but then, that's going to be your next story now.
With the deadline approaching,
Jamarley's music teacher has arranged to meet him before school
to check on his progress.
JAZZY MUSIC PLAYING
This is no good, Jamarley. This is no good.
Good afternoon, miss.
Good afternoon. Good morning, Jamarley.
I'm sorry I'm late.
I left early, but you know,
on the Brent Cross bridge, there was an accident.
Right, let's not waste any more time.
So, maybe when you've got that little pre-section
before we're going to do some kind of sick drop or something,
that's when we could do something different, I reckon.
What do you think about that?
-I also reckon that as well, miss.
-While you're writing this down, I'm going to have to give you a bit of a lecture.
Because you are in this department all the time, OK,
so if you're going to be in here,
I'm going to have to start saying...
-Only for your composition.
-Only for your composition.
If you don't get it done because you've been working on a project with Beth,
or you've been in here jamming or doing X, Y and Z,
I'm going to be annoyed,
you're definitely going to be annoyed.
-So, twice a week jamming...
..the rest of the time, focused.
-I can promise that.
Pinky promise? All right, cool.
I guess I have a lot of work to do,
so I need to cut down on the jamming and more on the composition.
It's not a stress.
I'm all relaxed.
Always show grace under pressure.
But, yeah, I have kind of got a lot to do.
My focus is a bit everywhere.
This is why I get told to focus on everything.
That's a bit harder,
but I still need to figure out how to do it as well.
Normally, Jamarley would turn to his dad for advice.
My dad does care about my education.
He always wants the best for me.
Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi is so bad, I don't call him as much any more.
The stuff that's going on in Jamaica now,
yeah, it is quite crazy out there, so I'm scared for his wellbeing.
I punched me brother in the face,
and he went down, crying to me mam,
and then I got told off
and told to stay in my room.
And I just felt so angry
that I started throwing things around the room.
And sometimes I can control me anger,
but sometimes it's just so overwhelming that it just comes out.
Me anger does scare us...
..cos I just don't know how to control it.
Morning! How are you doing?
Liam's pastoral support, Miss Lee,
wants to ensure that upsets at home are not
affecting his progress at school.
She's called Nicola in for a meeting.
Mam, what do you think's maybe causing these kick-offs and things?
Do you see any trigger points,
can you see it in Liam kind of bubbling up?
Um, well, there's one subject that definitely touches on his anger,
and that's his dad.
That's the main trigger of his anger.
You've discussed that maybe you try
to take on the man role in the house and things,
which is really good of you, darling, OK,
but as a young lad yourself, that's a lot to take on.
And the fact that you're sat here and you've asked for help,
and I know it's difficult for you to talk about,
but actually, as I say, it's a massive positive
that you're willing and wanting to change
and get the support that's needed.
Things that have happened, darling, isn't your fault.
-None of it's your fault.
-None of it is your fault.
None of it at all.
Unfortunately, even though we're supposed to be the adults,
adults make mistakes as well.
He's got a lot on his plate, yeah,
he's trying to do his best and make his mam and family proud,
but ultimately, he's got a lot of things on his shoulders
and whizzing round in that young head of his.
He's trying to make something of his life
and not have the anger and things coming out at school,
so hopefully we can help him also at home
so that it doesn't eventually come into school
and affect his schooling as well.
As summer approaches, year nine exams are looming.
I've been told to do well,
so I'm wanting to do well because I've been told to do well.
If I do a test and get one mark off full marks,
I will still...murder!
I will still be angry at myself for not doing it.
Being a teenager, like, growing up in this generation,
I feel like it is a lot more stressful.
The, like, the pressure that is put on teenagers nowadays is
quite overwhelming at times.
If you know what I mean, there is a lot of stuff put on the shoulders.
Sure, there is that because you are coming up with GCSEs so you are
going to be pressured to get those sort of things done.
For all the boys,
these exams will be important in determining sets for the year ahead.
It will also be a first stab at answering GCSE-level questions.
I need to go into this group seven.
Everybody expects, even my science teachers,
they expect me to get the top, top, top grades and like,
I want the top grades,
but when it comes to tests on the whole, I absolutely lose it.
You know I always expect so much. You know that.
When you go into an interview and they look at your CV and your grade
alone, they are looking at it and going we need this guy because he's
too good, look at his grades.
They are above average.
So, that is why I expect a lot.
It is not because I want to put any form of peer pressure on you to make
you go crazy, it is because I know it will make you...
..one step easier through any door you want to go through.
Do you understand?
So this is the last chance we've got to practise so I thought the
best thing to do would be to practise the most difficult question.
In the exams, I'm confident in them all apart from English.
I read two or three books a week.
I don't mind books but plays and that, please go away.
You are unimportant.
Shakespeare is a waste of time.
It is literally, "Oh, no, I love you."
"Oh, no. You're dead. I'm going to just die as well."
Best of luck today.
You may begin.
I thought it was fine. It was good. I felt all right about it.
Hopefully, I get triple science.
How did you think you got on?
I think I got on fine.
Yep, I did crap. The maximum mark is 80.
And I got 28.
That is just over a quarter of a mark.
Right, so, in the class, our highest mark was in the 30s,
but actually you have still got two more years to try and get you
much higher than that.
So think about it, you've been doing it for six weeks,
how good will you be at the end of Year 11?
You've got to think about that, yeah? You've done really well.
When you look at numbers and
the actual level the number translates to,
you're just like, "Well, is this good enough for what I should be doing?"
And the automatic response is no.
What results you got.
Well, what results did you get today?
Today I got my English, computer science, maths...
..and French results.
-In maths I got 19 out of 30.
Which is rubbish for you.
It is only about 60%, that.
You should be looking at about 80.
In English I got 28 out of 80.
Which is diabolical.
Why do you think you done bad this time?
Because they are not your normal results.
Nowhere near your normal results.
They are not my normal level.
Those are GCSE papers.
Yes, they might be GCSE papers.
But you just had a go at me for getting mid-60s, 70s.
Yes, because we know you are capable of better.
I'm not going to say well done for underachieving.
I'm not underachieving.
What you getting upset for?
It's not your main exams. It's just to see how you're doing.
You hear what I'm saying?
Yeah, but you weren't saying that five minutes ago, were you?
-I was saying it.
Oh, yeah, that's crap, isn't it?
Kian, I said you done rubbish compared to what you can do
-and you know it.
-Yeah, but you're the one taking it seriously now,
-Of course I'm taking it seriously.
I'm taking it seriously but you're the one saying it's massive.
You're the one going, "Oh, that's crap. If that was GCSE..."
-It's still an exam.
-You went, "If that was GCSE..."
If that was GCSE, you would've just scraped a pass.
Yes, and I know that.
-But we're not GCSE, are we? And you didn't say that until now.
Did you honestly think, when you got them scores,
I was going to sit there and go, "Ah, well"?
No, I did not, that's why I don't tell you these things.
-Because I know you're going to have a go at me for them.
So you'd rather I just didn't say nowt?
-Three quarters of the time, probably.
So I'll just let you get on with it and do what you want?
Huh? Is that what you want?
Because that's not being a parent, son. That's not being a dad.
I have to tell you the shit gear as well as the good gear.
Well, I know the crap gear because I've been down on myself about it
-all day, haven't I?
-Yes, it's good because you're recognising it.
You know me well enough that I would not want to listen
to that bull crap.
See, that's how you screw up an education, it's dead easy.
All you do is anybody who tries to help you, you go like that to them.
You want them?
You told me this was really tough.
So before I mark these,
I must admit I was a little bit nervous because I thought, "Oh..."
How everybody seemed to say it was rock hard,
apparently set two are saying it's a killer test.
Everyone in set one said it's really hard.
So the scores ranged from GCSE grade four
up to GCSE grade seven.
Nobody in this room's had a seven before
cos you've not had a test that high, right?
So this time I am going to be handing some back.
Liam, 35 out of 40.
Really solid. Grade seven.
You nipped in by one mark.
Year nine, fabulous.
Fabulous. Every mark was hard-earned.
When I'm doing well in school,
I feel quite happy obviously and I'm kind of like,
I'm pleased with myself.
I got eight in biology
and seven in everything else.
So in food I'm predicted a distinction.
Although Liam still has his heart set on becoming a chef,
biology teacher Mr Boyce has persuaded him
to give the university medical day a go.
I'm wanting them to get a taste for it and get a flavour of what
going to a university was like
because a lot of these kids, they'll be the first one of their family
that's ever set foot into a university.
Liam, I think he underestimates how good he is at science
and how he could really have a very successful career in science,
so I'm really glad that he's joined up to this scheme.
Are you trying to hear your heart?
You're best off going a bit lower cos your heart,
it kind of sits in your chest there
and the base of your ribcage is around there.
-Can you hear that now? Yeah?
-Hold it there.
-You want a go?
Other way, other way. There you go.
You're in hospital at the moment, you've come off your motorbike.
The overwhelming majority of medical students
are from more affluent backgrounds.
There's no difference between those kids and our kids.
They just, they need that little bit extra support
and that's what we need to give them,
so that they can compete.
John, we're going to give you a neck collar...
-But you're going to be just fine, OK?
I came from an area similar to Walker
and I didn't come from any money whatsoever
but I don't think it matters, the money,
it's the familial support.
That's another thing that I want to do if the parents can't give it,
then the teachers should.
If you can see, it's not comfortable,
the patients tend to want to take it off.
They think, "Oh, there's nothing wrong with me,"
but actually you don't know whether there's anything wrong
with them until they've had an X-ray or a CT scan, OK?
Mr Boyce really wanted me to do it
cos he thought I'd be interested by it,
so if he didn't like push us into it,
I don't think I would realise how fun it was.
I've always wanted to go to university
and Mam actually told us I'd be the first in my family,
but this trip, I think it just made us want to go to university more.
You are completely capable of being a doctor if you set your mind to it,
all right? You get great grades, you've got great enthusiasm,
you're committed, you're organised.
And I'm not meaning to say that you'd be a waste as a chef,
I'm sure you'll be a completely fantastic chef.
I'm sounding really negative towards catering
and I really don't mean to be, I really don't.
To be fair, I do see where you're coming from.
-I haven't, like, fully decided on what to do.
-I think the best thing, if I could give you some advice,
would be that you keep your options open
and don't narrow yourself too quickly
because that's what kind of intelligence gives you, you know,
and hard work and effort, it gives you choice to do different things.
And it's about...
..understanding that you are in the top set for everything
and are completely capable of getting onto a medical degree
if that is what you want.
But I want you to believe that that's something you can do.
Whether you want to do it or not, but I just want you to believe
that you can do it because you can.
Mm-hm. I just think I haven't went for it
-cos I didn't see myself as being able to get there.
Absolutely. I see no reason why you couldn't.
Science, what do you have for science?
-Who do you have for science?
-CHATTER DROWNS SPEECH
-Yeah, same, same.
-That's top set, innit?
-Yeah, it's talent group.
Jamarley's done well in most of his exams
but Miss Ryan is expecting a completed music composition
from him today.
MUSIC PLAYS FROM COMPUTER
Since we came in early that day...
..what have you done to it?
What have I tried to do to it?
-What have you done to it?
-That's two weeks ago.
Cos I've come in to try and do things, Miss,
I told you the keyboard stopped working.
There's so much pressure on kids in school at the moment, you know...
So, there's an awful lot at stake if he doesn't get
where he needs to go. Erm...
I believe that he will cos I know how hard he works.
You know, we recognise that he's more able
and that he's got this potential to do really, really well.
You know, I'm going to push him,
his mum sure as hell is going to push him, you know,
and the school is there for him as well.
So he will, he will be pushed and he's not going to be allowed to fall
behind and he won't either. He wouldn't let himself fall behind,
I don't believe. He might have a few rocky moments, he's a kid,
he's allowed, but he's definitely, he's going to do well.
Kian's facing another important result.
His Brilliant Club research paper on bringing back the dinosaurs.
If you take yours and then just sort of hand it along
and then take five minutes to have a read through it.
I've marked it, I've treated it the way I would treat kind of
undergraduate essays that I mark.
So if you guys are happy then,
why don't you take off the masking tape
and see what your final results are.
And then we can talk a bit about that.
I got a first and it's just great.
Well, I didn't really think I was going to get that high cos...
..even though I did put a lot of effort into it,
I was still expecting like a second or third.
I'm astonished that I managed to get that.
This probably is one of the most important marks I've got,
I don't know exactly.
Like, until GCSEs this will probably be the most important mark
but this just reinforces the idea that I could do well in GCSEs.
So is it about bringing the dinosaurs back?
Don't forget the sloths.
-Yeah, giant sloths.
So has it whetted your appetite to go to university more?
-Preferably one of the higher ones.
Jamarley's mum has had an urgent early-morning call from Jamaica.
Alicia called me today.
-And how is she?
-She's all right.
-But your dad maybe not all right.
He was standing on the road with his friend and somebody was driving past
and they were shooting the area.
And your dad got shot.
Your dad is in the hospital.
He got two shot in his feet and one in his back.
I am being serious.
He has just locked himself in the room listening to music trying to
get himself, you know?
How many more stuff does this little boy have to deal with?
I was saying that to myself today,
"How many more stuff is he going to have to deal with?"
I don't know how he copes with it because he didn't let it out
half the time. He always says, "I'm fine, I'm fine."
Today, when I told him, he says, "I'm fine. I'm only going for five minutes."
But I knew he wasn't fine.
Yeah. I can't even show you the other one.
-I can't even...
It is a big pain, so...
Yeah, man. I praise, praise God for life.
Yeah, of course.
-OK. All right then, love you.
-I love you too, Dad.
Talk to you soon. Bye-bye.
All right, bye-bye.
Now I know that he is actually OK and doing good, he's not 100%,
of course, but he is dealing with
the fact that he has to go through so much and, you know,
this is where everyone in the family gets their fighting spirit from
because once one person is strong, then the whole family is strong.
You know, united we stand, divided we fall!
Just like that.
Not only do they have to have outstanding academic success,
but they also have to do lots of extra curricular activities and have
to be incredibly helpful, so my first head teacher's award,
he is a very kind young man and is developing his music.
We need to watch out for this young man. He is either going to be a
professional performer or just a really lovely young man,
so I hope I have embarrassed him sufficiently...
So, the head teacher's award is Jamarley.
Thank you so much, ah!
I don't know...
What are you doing?!
You got it, you got it!
Best thing about getting a head teacher award is just to make my mum happy.
She always wanted me to get the head teacher award, but the fact she came
here and she's finally seeing something worthwhile,
especially that award. It's made her happy and made myself happy.
It is the end of term.
The next time the boys step back through the school gates they will be in Year Ten.
My dad just motivated me.
Now it is a different feeling, it is more of a fire.
Just told me I need to do really good,
you know, just to make him feel happy in some way.
I want to make my own path, I don't want people to come and be like,
"Oh, you should do this, you should do that."
I want my options laid out by me...
..and I want my...life laid out by me.
Even though I wanted to be a chef,
I'm kind of wanting to be a doctor now.
We meet three 13-year-old boys on the cusp of adulthood and facing many uncertainties. Kian is a bright aspiring mathematician who keeps being told he has 'potential', which is causing him to worry about his future and feel pressure both at school and at home. His dad is determined for him to get out of Hartlepool, but this just adds to the weight of expectation.
In Newcastle, Liam is on track to gain top science grades at GCSE, but his teachers worry the pressure he puts himself under at home may prevent him from fulfilling his aspirations. Meanwhile, problems at home threaten to derail talented London-based student Jamarley, but his family's determination to overcome adversity helps him through tough times.