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Exam results do not define a person so why should they define what schools are?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by TES_Rosaline, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    The common thought in recent years in the run to exam results day is that students should not be limited or defined by their grades – good or bad, so why is the same not true for schools? Bernard Trafford believes schools offer more than just exam results:

    ‘...Thursday’s A-level results day was the first in 29 years on which I had no responsibility for what a cohort of students achieved. To be honest, it was a pleasant feeling. I used to hate results day.

    I was privileged to run pretty high-achieving schools, and the morning would invariably start well: lots of happy 18-year-olds getting the places they craved at university, the anxious wait over, their hard work rewarded, smiley pictures taken.

    By mid-morning, school had fallen quiet: those with cause to celebrate had left in order to do so. Those left behind were in no mood or position to party, because they hadn’t got the grades they needed
    I can’t remove the strain and pain of results day: but I can offer teachers and school leaders a healthy distraction. After a tough results day (and a restorative gin, perhaps), pause to remember what you’re ultimately there for. It’s not fundamentally about A-level (or GCSE) results, important as they are. Schools are there to prepare children for the whole of adult life: you and they are in it for the long game…’

    Dr Bernard Trafford is a writer, educationalist, musician and former independent school headteacher.


    What do you think? Is it time to look at schools as more than sites for providing education and producing top exam results but places to prepare young people for adulthood?
  2. LondonCanary

    LondonCanary Star commenter

    Observation of undergraduates suggest they have learnt little of adulthood before 18.
    lanokia and sabrinakat like this.
  3. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    How would they? Every bit of responsibility for their success and happiness has been taken on by someone else.
  4. LondonCanary

    LondonCanary Star commenter

    Like many things, it depends on individuals and parenting (rather than schools)
  5. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Well no but it's an ' easy measure ' of something ..
  6. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter

    Someone needs to tell all these people who are judging schools by results. i.e. by league tables and OFSTED reports.

    Teachers didn't want either league tables nor did they want OFSTED.

    Dissolve OFSTED and abolish league tables if schools are more than just exam results. Until one or both of these things happen then any talk of schools are more than exam results is verbal excrement.
    vannie and grumpydogwoman like this.
  7. LondonCanary

    LondonCanary Star commenter

    It's the internet age now. It's impossible to abolish league tables unless you make it illegal to disclose examination results and just rely on rumours about exam results.
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Top exam results?

    In Special Needs?

    Nah. That was never my objective.

    When my daughter was looking for a secondary school for my grandson (he starts September) I told her to look for well-behaved and happy kids. That was all.

    Not a fancy building. Not OFSTED. Not exam results. Do the kids look healthy, happy and harmonious? If there's good order then I'd expect my grandson to do ok. He's an average kinda kid and, provided nobody is kicking off, he'll do fine. He doesn't need brilliant teachers. He just needs someone to stand up at the front and tell him stuff, let him try stuff out, improve on stuff. Repeat.
  9. DrJay

    DrJay Occasional commenter

    There no state funded selective grammar schools in Scotland neither do they have GCSEs. In fact, the first three years of post primary schooling is the stage when children are given Broad General Education (BGE) aimed at preparing them for adult life. Beyond this stage, children either take vocational qualifications or make progression towards academic qualifications (highers and advanced highers). Results of these vocational and academic qualifications do not make or break state funded Scottish schools. The Scottish educational system is modelled upon the world’s best educational system - Finland!

    The Warwick University rape chat case demonstrates the failure of schools to adequately prepare children for adult life.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
  10. Oscillatingass

    Oscillatingass Star commenter

    When I began teaching in the late 70s exam results were not the be all and end all. Odd ideas like "educating the whole child", "child centred education" etc was all the rage. If your kids got good exam results then so much the better but if they did badly, the teacher was never blamed. Since those halcyon days there has been a growing trend to find ways of measuring schools success. I mean, you cant measure how many decent well adjusted citizens a school turns out so lets devote all possible energy towards measuring what can easily be measured ie exam results. As far as I remember David Blunkett got the ball rolling and successive Education minsters have bought into with the worst and most damaging being Gove. Of course exam results are only a part of what constitutes a good education but their importance has been blown out of all proportion because they are so easy to measure and build into vast data bases and then analysed to the enth degree as can be noted in the work of the wonderful Fischer Family Trust. I am delighted I no longer need to worry about such things but feel desperately sorry for colleagues still ensnared in it because now all that matters is exam results and bow locks to educating the whole child.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  11. LondonCanary

    LondonCanary Star commenter

    Can't say that in our education and that of our children we ever experienced "educating the whole child". How would a child or parent recognize it in action?
  12. Oscillatingass

    Oscillatingass Star commenter

    Yes, you cant measure it. It was an aspiration, a philosophy, something one worked towards. I wasn't merely a teacher of English in those days as I would be now if I was insane enough to return to teaching.Not everything of value can be measured so of course Gove et al only valued what could be measured.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  13. LondonCanary

    LondonCanary Star commenter

    I wasn't thinking it could be measured. I wondered how children or parents could tell it was happening. What are the tell tale signs? What sort of things would a teacher of mathematics do over and above the examination curriculum?
  14. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    .....‘a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.'

    Or...Secretaries of State for Education as they are better known.
    friedgreentomatoes and vannie like this.
  15. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    In tandem. Lawnmower parenting sets up expectations. I'm certainly not just blaming the idiotic school system.
  16. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    I am, as you know, a raging snob. My granddaughter lives in an up-and-coming area that adjoins one that could be described as "varied" or even "vibrant". When my son told me which school they'd chosen for her, I did wonder if she'd hold her own amongst the number of competing challenges facing the teachers.
    It got outstanding in every area for its last inspection so I went down the garden to eat worms. She loves it, btw.
  17. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    When I was in the sixth form we did three lessons a week on non-academic pursuits. Some teachers ran courses related to their subject, others just did things they liked. It was brilliant. I did archery, pottery, choir, fencing and drama. I think it would be rare for a state school to 'waste' time and resources in that way nowadays. That was the rounder education that we got. As well as being expected to take responsibility for ourselves and our own revision and so on!

    I chose A levels that I wanted to do. They were not all my best subjects. I suspect that with league tables now I would have been made to do other subjects that I could have been expected to get higher grades in, but the things I did do have been useful to me my whole life, even if I didn't get quite such good grades.
  18. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    We too, doitforfree.
    We also had to spend Thurs afternoon doing "community service" (before the name was used elsewhere). Help out at an Old People's Home, be a primary school assistant, prettify the canal towpaths, and my absolute favourite, help (only help, btw) launder priestly vestments, altarcloths and other church accoutrements.
    I tried thr OAP thing, hated it, so got Thurs afternoonoff in lieu of catering the Bish's dinner parties with my two other A-level Home Ec mates. We got to cook with ingredients we'd never have been able to afford back then. Colonial Goose, anyone?
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  19. LondonCanary

    LondonCanary Star commenter

    Thank you for the explanation.
    I did most of that stuff back in the day, so did youngest. Im probably taking lunch time, after school and sports/
    PE activities for granted.
    Youngest did do random general studies options in 6th form and still had enough frees to rarely do homework at home.
    I always thought it normal, incorrectly it seems. My bad.
  20. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Friday morning was fencing or trampolining or riding or whatever. Afternoon? Maybe general studies? Then free periods.

    And we had voluntary service too! DoE.

    Those were the days, eh!

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