Brent Housing Partnership Youth Blog

Brought to you by the'Our Say' Magazine Team and BHP Youth Board


July 2015

A Level Reform – a good idea or not?

In an attempt to make A Levels more challenging and rigorous, as of September 2015, A levels are set to change. The changes to A Levels are to be phased in. From September 2015, changes will be introduced for subjects such as Biology, Chemistry and English. However, changes to Maths and other subjects will be introduced in 2016 or 2017. Exams will be linear – they will be taken at the end of two years. This will make retaking, if not impossible, a lot harder.

However will the decision to make A Levels harder and limit retakes benefit students?

First of all, how will UCAS work after the reform? Teachers and UCAS rely on AS grades to predict A2 grades. Surely not having AS grades will make the process of UCAS more strenuous for both parties? Students will not have any way to indicate their ability except for GCSE grades. However, relying on GCSEs alone can be misleading.

Conversely, reducing the amount of retakes may drive up standards. Some students, possibly under the assumption that they can retake the next year, do not try their hardest. However, only getting one shot will encourage some students to take A Levels more seriously.

Also, the new system may be better for selecting candidates for University. If you have retaken a subject three times then you will probably be more likely to get an A* in the subject than someone who has only taken the exam once.  With the proposed reforms to A Levels, students who get their grades the first time may have a fairer opportunity in the selection process.

However, the burden put on young adults should also be considered. Stress creeps into aspects of everyday life and the amount of stress in doing all your exams in one sitting will be great. One shot to get it right! 

Whether the reforms for A Levels will hinder students or encourage students to reach their potential – only time will tell.

By Linda Olugbemi Moronfolu – 17 


When ‘perception’ is not the reality

Perceptions Film

Eldon Taylor, philosopher and author said: “It’s been said, all is an illusion. That’s an insufficient distinction; more accurately, it’s all a perception.”

Unfortunately, the negative perceptions of social housing and tenants who live in social housing seem to be a real issue in our society. Public polls and research papers further highlight that this problem exists. The media and television programmes such as ‘Benefits Street’ have only exacerbated the situation. At Brent Housing Partnership (BHP), this was definitely an issue of concern for us and our community, especially as we see on a daily basis that this ‘perception’ is not the reality.

In July 2014, to mark our 10-year asset management partnership with Wates Living Space, we wanted to create a positive representation of both organisations’ commitment to the local community. This is where the idea for the film ‘Perceptions’ came about.

‘Perceptions’ is about a group of dynamic young people who live on a council estate in Brent. In the face of much negative press and stereotypes, two of the teenagers are inspired by an English lesson at school to use their initiative to bring the residents of St. Raphael’s Estate together with the use of a spoken word poetry event. The film opens with the quote: “Change your perception, change your reality. The power is in the spoken word.”

BHP and Wates commissioned the film and it was directed by young Brent-based actor, director and producer, Samuell Benta. BHP’s youth forum who were involved with the whole project, suggested locating the film on St. Raphael’s Estate which regularly receives negative press attention. They wanted, for a change, to bring a project which was creative and dynamic to the estate, and instil a sense of pride for residents. We have been amazed at the positive reactions to the film and discussions have already begun with the local community on challenging perceptions of social housing and inspiring young people to achieve their goals. Our hope is that these discussions and the film as a resource will assist in changing people’s attitudes and opinions and that we are no longer judged by where we live but what we contribute to society. It’s very encouraging to see the housing sector rallying behind this cause and we are also proud to be part of this positive movement.

Nadia Khan
Communications and Marketing Manager
Brent Housing Partnership

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