Thursday 17 August 2017
It’s that time of year again when we’ve become used to opening the newspaper to see stories about top academically achieving pupils and photographs of happy smiling young people – usually girls and usually jumping with joy.
time of year again when we’ve become used to opening the newspaper to see
stories about top academically achieving pupils and photographs of happy
smiling young people – usually girls and usually jumping with joy.
It’s a process that I have never been entirely comfortable with. Not because I don’t believe in recognition and celebration because believe me, I do. What sits uncomfortably with me is the narrow focus on what constitutes success. Sure, I could point to those wonderful students who today got a full set of A* grades and will go to the top universities of their choice. They did brilliantly and deserve the reward and recognition. With that I have no problem.
What I struggle with is the lack of recognition for those who worked just as hard, in some cases harder, to achieve 2 D grades and who will go into an apprenticeship. Or the pursuit of a brittle notion of success that fails to take into account that a student may have overcome extraordinary adversity even to complete an A-level course.
The focus on ‘academic’ excellence and ‘top’ university places as a measure of a school’s success by definition excludes many, even in a school such as St Chris with strong results.
I am proud of St Christopher’s diversity of achievement and of our leaver's destinations. I am proud that, irrespective of cognitive ability, all of our young people have many things in common: Their capacity for friendship; their determination to be the best they can be; their care for others and the environment; their faith in human nature and their ability to be part of a diverse, rich and rewarding community.
To all of our leavers I say congratulations – not only for your examination results but also for becoming the people that you are.