Looking Forward / School Holidays

Looking Forward 2 – Chasing Numbers

It’s the start of the summer break and time now for many to take time to relax, recuperate and live. It is strange how people get so engrossed in their work and do their best for the people that they serve but it is somewhat worrying that that dedication, in certain roles, has a negative affect on the mind.

I’ve been in teaching now for 25 years and 15 of those years have been as a headteacher (Principal in some schools now). In those 25 years I’ve been fortunate to work with so many brilliant people and people ‘above’ me that do what they do for the good of children, knowing clearly what their purpose is, and it being a positive one. Whenever I have looked back on the impact of my steps, I’ve been able to do so with pride, knowing I’ve impacted positively on others.

Sadly I’ve met a couple who have very clearly never realised the purpose of education. They are the ones that chase results for external recognition, not to develop nor educate the child. Thankfully, I’ve only had the displeasure of working with a couple of those in 25 years, which is quite good going.

You know when the results are chased for that external recognition, not the child, because comments are made and demands are exerted and all in a manner that does not help. Children that have made great progress are disregarded because they do not do anything for the percentages reported. They may have been, for example on a score of 75, yet progressed to 99 (almost the ‘national standard’), but that one point means to some they are a failure. Not me I hasten to add – that for me is something to be proud of. For some others though, it is displeasing.

So what should we be doing in education? Do we concentrate on those that will get the required scores and with a push, have a good chance? Should we disregard those that despite the best efforts, are just too far off? I say we help them all and be brave – have the courage to do what we know is right and fight for every child; even those we know will miss out because they are too far away.

It is sad to say that there are some that we know won’t get to the threshold. They may do over a longer period of time and I’d suggest we work hard to help them, so that in time they have a chance – but for a date that is looming, do we give up on them? As previously mentioned I say we do all we can, even when that means we use resources that won’t statistically be seen as a success. Success is seen in other ways.

I write this because having now finished, being on holiday without going back to the place I have just finished at, I feel great. I do not have to answer to nor listen to the negative, statistic chasing nonsense. I am free and positively looking forward to engaging with positive people that show real respect and really understand why we are here. I am excited to work with people that know their purpose and are still aware that in education, children and their development is the main thing – the thing we need to concentrate on.

If we all remember this then we will do well. We will pay attention to the finer details that make a difference. Without trying to please the external factors, we will in fact do a pretty good job and as a side affect, those that come and inspect, review and judge, will be pleased!

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