This is my daughters final term at her mixed co-ed comprehensive and I am unsure just where the time has gone. Five years ago she was a nervous, quiet year 7 student, academically not remarkable but showing a real aptitude for sport. She started a school that her friends were not attending. Rather than the local school we used our parental choice to send her to a school further away – she didn’t appreciate that much at the end of year six, but quickly settled in a new environment.
I couldn’t ask my teen to work any harder than she is at the moment. Exam’s are looming and she is putting in the hours. Again this is an example of how most teens are doing just what parents should be proud of. She is working harder and smarter than I ever worked at school. Each day she is spending a few hours revising and by revising I mean doing active work not just looking at her books and reading. She is doing past papers, mind maps, and making notes and Chloe is self motivated. We don’t need to tell her to study, she has planned this herself. As a result she will give her school that magic term ‘value added’ and yet she is not an A Grade student. For those non teachers this means that my girl has exceeded her targets. When a child starts secondary school there is already a mapped out plan. Based on their previous SAT’s results and CAT scores future GCSE’s are predicted. However in educational talk – these predicted grades are not enough – that is the expected outcome and for a child to prove that their school is a good school, students need to do better than predicted. Chloe is expected to do better and to her teachers she is valuable because of that. It just demonstrates how much is expected from our teachers, I would have liked to have Chloe in my class. I did have ‘Chloe’s in my class and they were the ones we targeted, those children that were doing better than expected. The ‘Chloes’ are valuable in teaching today, more valuable than the A Grade students that were always going to get an A. They offer no added value you see, they are just doing what is expected.
Yet my daughter is more than that as an arbitrary measure of success. Since being at secondary school she has made amazing friends and grown into a confident, successful person. If we just leave academic success to the side for a moment and let me share how she has developed.
- Chloe has represented her school teams in hockey (obviously), netball, rounders, athletics, tennis and cricket.
- Chloe has represented the county in hockey
- She learnt to climb and even conquered her fear of heights in Ardeche
- They have raised money on charity nights where they stayed awake for 24hours
- She has built strong relationships with teachers who she respects
- She has friends that she can rely on
- She will try anything and has the resilience to bounce back from failure, because she has been taught trying is what matters
- She knows that hard work is needed to be successful
- She has discovered herself and what she is capable of
For these reasons we are more than happy already – although for Ofsted this doesn’t translate into quantifiable statistics. Ofsted are only really concerned with the final outcomes and they don’t see my daughter as a person but just a figure on a spreadsheet, they want a number to share, they want to reduce her five years in a brilliant school to a statistic, to use her to measure her teachers teaching ability. I’m glad her teachers will be able to use Chloe as an example that they have taught well, that they have done their job. I am happy to share the success of my teen with her school and those individual teachers that have encouraged and challenged her over the years. Together we have enabled a child to develop and grow and to reach more academic success that everyone first anticipated. The girl has done good.
I don’t even need to wait for exams and results to tell me that she will do just fine – I know it. However I want both her school and her to see what a success she has been both academically but more importantly holistically. I know we need final exams but somehow that doesn’t seem enough. Value added is what Chloe is – she will continue to add value wherever she goes in life.