LONDON, November 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Brits don't discover they've got talent until they reach 22 years old on average*, according to independent education foundation Edge.

Research shows that less than a third (31 per cent) of students find what they are good at in the classroom. Instead they discover their career talent through their first job (26 per cent), later in their career (25 per cent), through work experience (18 per cent), or a hobby (15 per cent).

The Britons who find their forte later in life join a roll call of famous names who did well after being labelled as an underachiever at school including Stephen Fry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Damien Hirst, Sir Philip Green and Ben Fogle.

According to the research nearly half of all adults (46 per cent) felt they were regarded as average or poor students when they were at school. As a result over 2.8 million** of these Britons said they were made to feel like a failure when they were in secondary education.

The findings are released ahead of the landmark documentary film 'We Are The People We've Been Waiting For' which reveals a very inconvenient truth about the UK education system.

A number of the students labelled 'poor' or 'average' (15 per cent) said they didn't get the chance to discover their talent because they were written off by teachers. Others said the learning style on offer didn't suit them or that they simply weren't interested in the subjects available to study (30 per cent). Nearly one in five (19 per cent) said they believe they would have flourished if they could have studied more practical and vocational subjects.

People who were regarded as poor students end up hating school (56 per cent), as well as feeling less confident (49 per cent). More than half of this group (53 per cent) said they felt their school gave up on them.

'We Are The People We've Been Waiting For' explores whether the current education system provides young people with the opportunity to develop their talents properly. Inspired and guided by Oscar-winning producer Lord Puttnam, 'We Are The People We've Been Waiting For' follows the lives of five young people from Swindon and the challenges and experiences they face during their education.

The film highlights how many young people in today's education system are being allowed to 'slip through the cracks', struggling through a school life that, in many ways, hasn't changed significantly since the Victorian era.

Lord Puttnam, said:

I've always been passionate about education and have long wanted to see a film that explores the potential for transforming teaching and learning in the 21st century. Teachers do an incredibly important job under what are at times very difficult circumstances, but if our schools are to keep pace with the with the needs of a very rapidly changing world, the ways in which many of our young people learn must be transformed, most particularly by harnessing the incredible power of technology.

'We Are The People We've Been Waiting For' is intended as a wake-up call. It has the potential to be a powerful catalyst for positive and overdue educational reform.

Andy Powell, Chief Executive of Edge, one of the supporters of the film, said:

It's demoralising for young people to spend years in an education system which does not value their abilities. Many recover and find success, while others never do. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to realise their talent in school and that there should be many paths to success, it's simply not good enough that young people are falling through the cracks and labelled as a 'poor' or 'average' student because their potential is not being fulfilled through traditional academic teaching.

Edge is pleased to welcome 'We Are The People We've Been Waiting For' as it shines the spotlight on the UK education system and stimulates debate around this issue.

'We Are The People We've Been Waiting For' is being premiered in Leicester Square on 17th November. To have your say on the UK education system and to request a copy of the film visit

Edge is campaigning for young people to receive an education rich with practical and vocational learning opportunities. To get involved and to help revolutionise the education system please visit


CONTACT: Simon Francis, +44(0)20-7419-7340,