Head’s View Woodhill School
August is an unusual month in education. While the work doesn’t stop exactly, there Is a welcome change of pace. In my office, the endless torrent of reports, meetings and forms is replaced by a steady trickle and a chance to think about what is important.
We collect a vast pool of data in education. Our pupils are measured in their mathematical and literary standards. Attendance is recorded, sanctions are monitored, policies are reviewed and checklists are ticked. During a busy term it can sometimes seem that this data reflects what is important in education, but does it really?
Consider those aspects of education that are not easily measured, described or recorded but which contribute so much to the development of our young people. It is easy to record the outcome of a sporting fixture; a win or a loss. How much more difficult is it to record the way in which the match was played – the sportsmanship shown by the players – the leadership displayed by the Captain.
We as parents often tell our children as they enter an exam that they can only do their best; yet an exam can only measure a brief moment of academic attainment not the effort and perseverance that has gone into reaching that level.
There are many ways that pupils can contribute to the life of a school through the music, drama, the arts, social activities, charitable work and countless others. How do we measure, recognise and celebrate pupils’ extra-curricular contributions? Further, how do we measure the degree to which pupils demonstrate an understanding of other cultures, respect for all religions and love of fairness?
Surely the purpose of education is to prepare children for the next phase of their life. Nurseries prepare pupils for school. Primary schools prepare pupils for secondary school and so on. This is how we prepare children to grow into adults. We must create an environment where children are able to become confident and secure in their own identities so that they can face the next challenge from a position of strength.
Ask a child, especially younger child, which aspect of school they like best and most will say play time. School should be fun, enjoyable, safe. We can’t measure it but we as educators should strive for it.
At Woodhill School we value these unmeasurable ‘virtues’ as much as the measurable targets that drive our education system.
Virtues we don’t measure::
Enjoyment, Worldliness, Growth, Leadership, Creativity, Confidence, Success, Friendship, Endeavour, Sportsmanship, Charity.