At this time of year, many primary schools in England start receiving their SATs results, sharing the scores with parents and pupils. Many teachers and leaders go straight to the analysis, number crunching the figures (RAISE / FFT etc!!!), worried about the impact of SATs, or the condemnation of OFSTED, should they spot any slip in the scores – thus concerns about standards falling. However, an inspiring Lancashire school has looked beyond this, writing a letter to each leaver celebrating the individual traits and strength of their pupils despite having high levels of test scores.
The letter (pictured below) reads…
..we are concerned that these tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique. The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you – the way your teachers do, the way I hope to, and certainly not the way your families do. They do not know that many of you speak two languages. They do not know that you can play a musical instrument or that you can dance or paint a picture. They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them or that your laughter can brighten the dreariest day. They do not know that you write poetry or songs, play or participate in sports, wonder about the future, or that sometimes you take care of your little brother or sister after school. They do not know that you have travelled to a really neat place or that you know how to tell a great story or that you really love spending time with special family members and friends. They do not know that you can be trustworthy, kind or thoughtful, and that you try, every day, to be your best…the score you get will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything.
So enjoy your results and be very proud of these but remember there are many ways of being smart.
(Story continues below…)
— UKEdChat (@ukedchat) July 15, 2014
The school have been over-whelmed with reaction as they see the caring celebration of the whole child as normal within the setting. Indeed, during our visit to the school last year – exploring how the school scrapped set play-times for the children and class teacher to decide when the best time was to take a break – the caring ethos was very clear to see.
Headteacher, Rachel Tomlinson spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour saying…
We felt that it fitted perfectly what we do for our children. We amazed at the furore it’s caused overnight because many of the parents of the children have accepted it as normal. We celebrate every bit of the children. That letter went out yesterday in the context of our best SATs results ever – it wasn’t a cover up for us not having great SATs results – but we’re very proud of the results this year and it’s evidence that our children and staff have worked incredibly hard. The value of education cannot be denied, but we need to celebrate more than that.
The head-teacher admitted that the letter was inspired by an earlier, similar letter posted by an American Principle, which is reported via Yahoo here.